Put Your Phone Down! Why It’s So Important To Give Your Partner Your Full Attention

Most of us would be lost without our phones, but it’s impossible to deny that they can take a toll on relationships. There’s even a word for it. “Phubbing” refers to the practice of ignoring people around you in favor of engaging with your phone. Here’s how snubbing your partner for technology can negatively affect your relationship and why it’s so important to put your phone down.

  1. Relationships don’t happen over text. Unless you’re in a long-distance relationship, the majority of your conversations, especially the important ones, should always take place in person. Direct communication with your partner is necessary for you to read the minute physical cues that occur when you’re in the same space. It brings you closer (literally and figuratively), makes it more difficult for things to escalate into anger, and prevents both of you from shutting the other person off by ignoring their texts.
  2. Real life is what’s happening in front of you. Sure, someone you work with may be having an amazing night out that they’re posting about Instagram. Your friend might be texting you photos from their island getaway in paradise. But no amount of wishing that you’re somewhere else will change your life. If you’re miserable, you will have to take action in the real world–not in the virtual world on screen–in order to be happy.
  3. If you’re turning to your phone for interaction, you may be ignoring something. Being drawn to your screen may not be a sign that you’re at fault. It could indicate that you and your partner are not happy together. If the internet is a more welcoming environment than your own home with your own partner, you may need to start asking difficult questions about your relationship.
  4. It prevents you from relaxing and winding down. You may think that your phone is a great way to destress after a long day, but with constant news alerts and text notifications, it is anything but therapeutic. Your phone is constantly stressing you out. Putting it down and focusing on who you’re with and where you are will allow you to forget the fast-paced of your brain on technology.
  5. You’re making your partner feel unwanted. Being around someone who never looks up from their phone is hurtful. It makes a person feel insignificant, uninteresting and rejected. You may not recognize that you’re having this effect on your partner because you’re probably deeply engrossed in whatever is happening on your screen. But being ignored in favor of an inanimate object does not make a person feel loved or wanted.
  6. It’s warping your expectations of reality. Whether it’s body image or your satisfaction with your lifestyle or your partner, being plugged into technology too much throughout the day can mess with your head. You’ll start to think that the filtered images of people are real or that everyone else’s lives are one long vacation or that everyone else’s relationships are an internal honeymoon. You forget that the internet is a carefully curated highlight reel, and begin to feel that your life is dull and unfulfilling in comparison.
  7. Jealousy isn’t confined to cheating. People used to get jealous if their partner developed feelings for another person. But jealousy is no longer limited to a partner’s attachment to another person. Now, people can feel just as abandoned and replaced by a phone as by another person. Even worse, your phone is present at your home and at the table and maybe even in the bedroom with you. It’s like having a threesome that one of you never consented to.
  8. You’re never really spending time together. Just because you’re in the same room doesn’t mean you’re together. If you have your phone with you every time you have a meal with each other or watch a movie, you’re not focused on your partner. You may as well be on a crowded train or even at your separate workplaces. As a result, the “quality time” that you think you’re having by eating dinner in the same room or sitting on the sofa together isn’t quality time at all.
  9. Sex is less satisfying. You don’t have to be addicted to online porn to hurt your sexual relationship through phubbing. Cutting yourself off from your partner by paying closer attention to your phone means that you’re spending less time looking into their eyes or focusing on their voice. You may even be physically removed from them when you’re on your phone. Being detached from them in this way prevents you from connecting with them when you do want to have sex, almost like reuniting after a long time apart.
  10. It shortens your attention span. It’s estimated that the average millennial picks up their phone about 150 times per day. The constant barrage of notifications, the ability to switch almost instantly between apps and windows, and the way we can follow every tiny thought with a quickly typed phrase into a search engine have all conspired to make our attention spans shorter than ever. Being unable to focus on anything for more than a few seconds at a time (literally) makes it impossible for you to carry on a meaningful conversation with your partner without fidgeting or looking bored in the process.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.