Is technology taking a toll on your love life? New research says your cell could be to blame for depression, fights, and more unhealthy relationship issues
Ever hang out with your other half and leave your phone right on the table in front of you? Do you glance at it while your partner's talking to you or check it when there is a lull in the conversation? Be honest! If you answered "yes", you may be guilty of "pphubbing", or partner phone snubbing, according to a new study from Baylor Universtiy that found phone use can significantly damage your romantic relationship.
Phones are everywhere—and that's not going to change. But there's been a slew of recent research that shows that how, when, and where we use them can be hurting our mental and physical health. this new study suggests that using your phone use may be hurting your partner's health. The study found that nearly half of 450 people interviewed reported being phone-snubbed by their partner. This short-term behavior ("just gotta check this one text!") had long-term ramifications on the relationship, with nearly a quarter of people saying it caused fights, and over a third admitting it made them depressed.
"In everyday interactions with significant others, people often assume that momentary distractions by their cellphones are not a big deal," said Meredith David, Ph.D., co-author of the study. "However, our findings suggest that the more often a couple's time spent together is interrupted by one individual attending to his/her cellphone, the less likely it is that the other individual is satisfied in the overall partnership.
And the problem extends far beyond the scope of this one study. "This is a legitimate problem and one I see a lot in my work," says Wendy Walsh, a relationship expert and co-host of 'The Doctors' show.
She adds that the type of relationship you have may make a difference in pphubbing. The longer your relationship and the more secure you feel in it, the less likely you are to be bothered by the occasional cellphone slight.
But ultimately, when it comes to relationships, it's all about boundaries. And Walsh says it's just as important to create tech boundaries as it is to create other types of boundaries. She recommends making strict "no cellphone" rules and then abiding them—no exceptions! Set times where you can use your phone and then make a list of situations where it's not going to happen.
Her top three places to ban phones? At mealtimes, after bedtime, and during sex. Strangely enough, a Penn State study found that not only do people text during sex (and they're not sexting their partner!), but they also cop to using their electronic devices during funerals, church, school, and even in the shower.
In the end, Walsh says, it's about putting people before gadgets—period.