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Is ‘Phubbing’ Ruining Your Relationship?

If there is one necessity in our lives that flips over and turns as easily into an inevitable evil- it is our cellphone! From being the instrument that helps us forge closeness in our relationships to becoming the very agent of straining the relationship and driving a wedge, it plays all the roles on the spectrum with 100% efficiency. If you feel the same way, then you might be a victim of phubbing.

couple talking

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Phubbing or phone snubbing is an epidemic claiming thousands of relationships across the globe. Described as an act that ignores or avoids an in-person conversation to pay attention to the phone instead, phubbing is increasingly becoming both the cause and consequence of unsatisfying relationships.

Whether it be over dinner or in the bedroom, on vacation or during an important conversation, phubbing seems to be a prominent factor in creating as well as aggravating unsatisfying relationships. Research evinces that cellphone interruption or the act of phubbing your romantic partner creates a disconcerting sense of disconnection and the phubbed partner feels an amplified absence of the partner even while he/she may be physically present on the scene. Placing your phone at a location where you can always keep abreast of message alerts, stealing glances at the phone, checking the cellphone at intermittent intervals are all reasons for creating a cellphone conflict and decreasing the overall satisfaction level in a relationship.

couple arguing

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

A. Roberts, a professor at Baylor University Hankamer School of Business, has averred that overlooking instances of phubbing may prove disastrous for your relationship. In his study on the subject published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, he conducted separate surveys where the effects of phubbing on relationships were studied. The study revealed that phubbing gave rise to conflicts in a relationship. When someone saw their partner paying more attention to their phones rather than them, they automatically reciprocate that behavior by focusing on their own phones as well.

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In the study, it was further revealed that 46.3% of the participants were victims of their partners’ phubbing them and a whopping 22.6% of the same sample set admitted that phubbing was causing their relationship to go downhill. Roberts was astounded by the how the resultant figures of the survey proved that the seemingly innocuous and not-quite-pressing instance of phubbing played such a detrimental role in couple psychology. Obsession with gadgets, in today’s world, is something that determines the partner’s priorities and sends a negative message to their better half.


Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

In another survey conducted on the subject, 308 participants answered questions that measured the correlation between cellphone-related-conflict and relationship satisfaction. It was found that the two elements that underlie romantic attachment anxiety- abandonment anxiety and intimacy avoidance were both key factors developing in relationships that either spiraled into an insecure attachment style owing to high levels of cellphone-related conflict or simply aggravated an existent condition of insecurity owing to increased levels of attention paid to the cellphone instead of a romantic partner.

More research into the matter shows how the act of phubbing your partner may, in turn, cause the partner to phub in return. This shall cause lesser and lesser investment in in-person interactions and create a rift between the partners. So, the next time you find yourself paying more attention to the phone than the partner in front of you, ask yourself why! Are you disinterested in the relationship, can you work on the issues underlying the disenchantment, do you wish to end it or are you simply tech-crazed to such an extent that your partner’s words seem to be drowning in the sea of distractions that your cellphone flashes with beeping urgency?

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Article Name
Is Phubbing Ruining Your Relationship?
They say you can't defeat your enemies unless you KNOW them. Which is why you must know all about phubbing!
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."