Phubbing is the new vice that is proving to be disastrous to relationships. Here’s all you need to know about it…
Don’t phub your partner
Could you just put down your phone for a while? While this may sound like the cry of an exasperated mother to her teen who is constantly glued to their cell phone, it may also be heard on a dinner date when one adult seems more interested in his or her phone than their significant other.
Phubbing Can Ruin Relationships
Phubbing, a contraction of the words ‘phone snubbing’, is the act of ignoring a companion in favour of using a smartphone. Phubbers may be using their phones to check social media, text others who are not present or for any other online activities,
while spending time with their partner. Studies have shown that phubbing between friends and romantic partners contributes to unhappiness in relationships and depression. In a study poignantly titled ‘My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone’, Meredith David and James Roberts suggest that overuse of our phones in the presence of others can lead to a decline in one of the most important relationships we can have as an adult: The one with our life partner. According to their study, phubbing decreases marital satisfaction, in part because it leads to conflict over phone use. A follow-up study by Chinese scientists assessed married adults with similar results: Partner phubbing, because it was associated with lower marital satisfaction, contributed to greater likelihood of depression. This behaviour also affects casual friendships. When someone’s eyes wander, we intuitively know what brain studies also show: The mind is wandering. We feel unheard, disrespected, disregarded. Especially during meaningful conversations, you lose the opportunity for true and authentic connection to another person, the core tenet of any friendship or relationship. These findings hold true regardless of people’s age, ethnicity, gender, or mood.
So Why Do People Phub?
Fear of missing out and lack of self-control are the main reasons for phubbing. However, the most important predictor is addiction — to social media, to the phone and to the Internet. Internet addiction has similar effects to physiological forms like addiction to heroin and other recreational drugs. Experts also feel that sometimes the urge to check social media is stronger than the urge to have sex.
How Do The Phubbed React?
Simply put, the device is a source of conflict and leads to fighting. And fights can only serve to undermine your
satisfaction with your partner and the relationship. Sometimes, the phubbed may turn to their cellphone to distract themselves from the very painful feelings of being socially neglected. When we phub those we love, not only do we neglect their feelings in the present moment, but we compound the problem by jumpstarting the ripple effect of causing our significant other to convert from phubbee to serial phubbers themselves.
Marital Effects Of Phubbing
Psychiatrists, psychologists and marriage counsellors know that addictions frequently contribute to marital stress and to the termination of relationships. This new addiction to technology distracts couples from communicating with one another and creates emotional distance between spouses in the same way that an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or shopping can help to ruin a marriage. To make matters worse, some people are addicted to their phones as well as alcohol, gambling or drugs. Furthermore, when a spouse is on his or her phone constantly, it can create suspicion and harm the kind of trust that is a foundation of a healthy marriage.
Break Out Of Phubbing
The first step in overcoming phubbing in a relationship is to raise the fact that it has become an issue for you. You need to talk about how you feel and, the emotions you experience when you perceive you are being phubbed. Explain gently that you feel upset, angry or rejected when your partner is constantly focused on their phone. It could be that they are genuinely unaware of what they are doing and, once aware of the issue will make an effort to break out of this behaviour cycle. If your partner is not receptive to what you have to say and denies that they are guilty of this behaviour, then ensure that you, in turn, listen to them. It could be that they themselves are dissatisfied in the relationship, and this has manifested itself in their phubbing behaviour. It could be that they have an issue to raise with you, but have not been communicating and have instead been avoiding this by using their phone as an escape. If this is the reason, then listen to them and take on-board what they have to say. Work together to reach a solution. For example, you could suggest that they can
Scientists found that what they describe as this ’– technoference ‘ even if infrequent – sets off a chain of negative events: about More conflict technology, lower relationship quality, lower life satisfaction of and higher risk depression.
Keep your pillow-talk time sacred — no use of phone before you go to sleep. Protect your mealtime — no technology at the dinner table or in the restaurant.
make an effort to leave their phone out of hand/ out of sight when you are spending time together, while you will work on whatever may have been causing an issue for them. You can review this agreement again in two weeks or a month and talk about whether you are both feeling happier and more secure in the relationship. Make mutually agreed-upon limits for smartphones during your shared sacred moments. In hopes of giving 100% of your attention to each other, here are some tips to help you set boundaries to protect your communication spaces: l Keep your pillow-talk time sacred — no use of phone before you go to sleep. l Protect your mealtime — no technology at the dinner table or in the restaurant. l Guard your leisure time — no checking smartphones or receiving calls (except from the family/ baby sitter). l If during your time together, you need to check our phones for a legitimate purpose, you will first provide an explanation. l Disconnect to connect. Regularly schedule date nights, and appointments just to talk to each other. Don’t let ‘How was your day?’ or ‘How was work?’ go as far as many of us get these days. l Have a phone-free evening. Simply snuggle and watch television. It’s time for couples to stop phubbing each other, and start interacting instead. And though it’s a hard addiction to break, that sweet quality time with your loved one is way more exciting than any tweet/ update that will ever be.
When a spouse is on his or her phone constantly, it can create suspicion and harm the kind of trust that is a foundation of a healthy marriage.