In news that is probably shocking to absolutely no one, a Baylor University study has found that cell phones can damage romantic relationships and even, according to study coauthor James Roberts, “undermine the bedrock of our happiness.” We’ve heard similar study results about technology ruining lives in the past, but this one comes with a brand new word for the phenomenon: Pphubbing, or “partner phone snubbing,” that irksome habit of getting distracted by your phone when you’re hanging out with your partner.
The study found that even the mere perception of our partners Pphubbing on us has a negative impact on our overall happiness in our relationships and, ultimately, our overall satisfaction with our lives, which leads to more depression.
Bleak. If the study’s results, which were derived via two surveys of 453 adults, indicate anything at all, it’s that Pphubbing starts innocently enough before snowballing. Perhaps a coupled person simply checks their phone as their partner tries to carry on a real-life conversation with them.
Perhaps they don’t even realize this is hurtful to their partner. Soon, however, this can evolve into a battle of grudges and misconceptions, with one assuming the other is too bored with them to even carry on a single conversation without a phone for entertainment, and the other dumbfounded by their partner’s sudden resentment.
In total, 46.3 percent of participants claimed they said they’d been Pphubbed, a surprisingly low number in this modern era. Keeping our phones safely away from the date night dinner table would be the most obvious solution to this, but such a thing may be too much wishful thinking for 2015.
When you simply must use your phone during quality time with your partner, it may be helpful to mention why. One of the reasons phones can spark such frustration is because they’re mysterious — it’s impossible to immediately know what someone’s doing on theirs or what their intentions might be, which leads many of us to assume a Pphubber’s motivations are negative or selfish. Knowing your partner is responding to a text from their mom is a lot more comforting than the feeling of watching their eyes glaze over on the screen, assuming that they’re texting an ex or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, and thus silently fuming for the rest of the evening. There’s got to be a better way!
READ MORE: 5 Signs You Are Too Dependent On Social Media