Back before smartphones, date night was about 2 people spending quality time alone together. Now, thanks to the endless stream of messaging and social media updates available at our fingertips, even the most intimate dinner can be interrupted by literally every single person you’ve ever met. And new research published in the academic journal No Shit, Sherlock shows this phenomenon can put strain on your relationship.
It’s known as “phubbing” — a portmanteau of “phone” and “snubbing,” with the extra “P” added when it’s toward your partner. According to 2 separate surveys of 453 adults conducted by researchers at Baylor University, ignoring your partner in favor of your phone will ruin your relationship and consequently your life. “What we discovered was that when someone perceived that their partner Pphubbed them, this created conflict and led to lower levels of reported relationship satisfaction,” said professor James A. Roberts, Ph.D. “These lower levels of relationship satisfaction, in turn, led to lower levels of life satisfaction and, ultimately, higher levels of depression.” Interestingly, the study also found that “one’s attachment style was found to moderate the Pphubbing,” meaning that those who were less secure in their relationships were more bothered by their partner’s phone distractions.
The Baylor team claims their study is “the first to investigate the oft-occurring behavior of Pphubbing and its impact on relationship satisfaction and personal well-being,” but more research is sure to follow as the habit spreads. For more updates on the negative repercussions of staring at your smartphone, stay tuned to your smartphone.