What Is Phubbing and How Is It Ruining Your Relationship


We live in the information age where it’s difficult not to get sucked down the social media black hole. You aren’t alone if you tend to spend hours looking at your smartphone and can’t stop checking your social media every few minutes.

Whether you admit it or not, it’s more than likely that you’ve phubbed someone or been phubbed by others. But what is phubbing anyway? Well, simply put, avoiding your partnerto pay attention to your phone is what phubbing means.

You might be wondering how cell phone use and relationships are even correlated. You’re in the same room with your partner and listening to them while texting a friend. What’s so wrong with that? This may come as a shock, but phubbing does hurt your relationship.

In this article, we’ll discuss what phubbing is, signs to know if you’re a phubber, the effects of phubbing in relationships, and how to stop it from ruining your relationship and mental health.

What is phubbing?

The term phubbing was first coined in May 2012 by an Australian advertising agency and became popular by their campaign called ‘Stop Phubbing.’ So, what does the term phubbing mean? It’s a portmanteau of two words-phone and snubbing.

Now, what is phone snubbing? Phubbing is phone snubbing. It’s the act of snubbing someone by paying attention to your smartphone. So, it happens when you start to ignore someone you’re talking with in person in favor of your mobile phone.

Here’s an example of what phubbing looks like. Maybe you’re texting back a friend who lives a thousand miles away while you’re sitting at the dinner table and about to have a meal with your spouse. That’s phubbing right there. You might argue that, ‘how’s it phubbing? I’m just replying to a friend’s text’.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to stay in touch with your friend. But the problem is you’re paying no attention to your partner who’s interested to know more about your day and probably feeling left out and hurt.

A study found that smartphone addiction is the culprit behind your phubbing behavior, along with FOMO(The fear of missing out), internet addiction, and lack of self-control. It also showed that 17% of people engage in phubbing at least four times a day while another 32% were phubbed 2-3 times a day.

How can that not affect our relationships and mental health?

6 signs you or your partner are a phubber

Let’s look into the signs of a phubber.

  1. They tend to check their phone every time it rings, even in the middle of a conversation.
  2. From the bathroom to the dinner table- phubbers take their phone almost everywhere.
  3. No matter what they’re doing or who they’re with, a phubber may keep looking at their phone.
  4. Even when they’re lying next to their partner, phubbers hold onto their phone instead of giving full attention to their partner
  5. They may halfheartedly talk to the person they’re with while they’re busy texting other people who aren’t around.
  6. They immediately reach out for their phone when awkward silence or a lull in the conversation happens.

4 ways how phubbing ruins your relationship

What is phubbing in a relationship? Well, it happens when one partner engages in texting somebody, scrolling through their Facebook news feed, or playing games instead of giving attention to the other partner.

1. Low marital satisfaction

Not only is it quite rude to your partner, but phubbing in a marriage can also be particularly detrimental. A study found that depression and lower marital satisfaction can result from a couple’s phubbing behavior toward each other.

2. Poor mental health

Also, conflicts arising from phubbing can negatively affect your relationship satisfaction and psychological well-being. You might wonder how cell phones destroy relationships or why texting ruins relationships.

Well, it’s because phubbing might make your partner feel unimportant when you’re busy scrolling through your phone while they’re trying to have a conversation with you. Your partner should never have to compete with an electronic device for your attention.

3. Emotional disconnect

When that becomes a regular thing, they may start to feel emotionally disconnected from you. Also, conflicts may arise over the phubber’s cell phone addiction if the phubbed partner’s primary love language is quality time.

If they feel like their partner is prioritizing their cell phone over a person, they may start to feel alone and excluded. Also, phubbers may spend a lot of time on social media and fall into a comparison trap.

Comparing their relationship to other couples on Facebook or Instagram may lead to low relationship satisfaction. Phubbing might help you connect with people who are far away from you through texts or emails.

But, it can be quite damaging to your in-person interaction with your partner, which can cause a rift in your relationship. Lots of research has been done on the impact of phubbing on people’s mental health and relationships.

4. Poor communication

Phubbing has been linked to poor quality of communication and overall relationship dissatisfaction. It can also negatively affect phubbees’ mental health as they feel neglected by their partner.

A survey done by Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business showed that a whopping 46.3 percent of people were being phubbed by their partner, and 22.6 percent stated that the phubbing caused conflict in their relationships. Also, 36.6 percent felt depressed due to phubbing.

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Source: Marriage


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