Phubbing Can Ruin Your Relationship, So Here's How To Tell Your Partner To Stop
The day my parents got me my first Nokia cellphone is a day I'll always remember. Even though the following week I was lamenting the unfairness of being the only one in my friend group without a Motorola Razr, for a few short days I was actually content! Cellphones have come a long way from the early days. So far, in fact, that they have become a necessity we spend countless hours of our lives engaging with. Ultimately, this can make putting them down harder than we might have thought. Telling your partner to stop phubbing, a term that refers to snubbing your IRL human companion in favor of your phone, is something that many of us need to be reminded of from time to time. Now I'm sure some of you may be thinking, "What's the big deal? I can multi-task." Well, apparently it could actually be a very big deal.
Research out of the University of Kent shows that ignoring friends and loved ones for the sake of more phone time can negatively impact relationships. So much so, that being phubbed has the potential to "[threaten] our basic human need to belong." If your SO continues to blow you off by excessively using their phone, then it's important that you let them know how this makes you feel. Here are some ways to call them out, calmly and without fighting.
1. Emphasize That You Want To Spend Time Together Without Distractions
Asking your partner to never use their phone when you're hanging out is going to feel like a pretty impossible task. The real crux of the issue is wanting to have each other's full attention. Saying something like, "I was thinking we could leave our phones at home while we're grabbing lunch today so we won't have any distractions," makes it clear that you just want to spend some quality, uninterrupted time together. This way you aren't overtly telling them they can't or shouldn't do something, which can feel a bit more like an attack. And by including yourself in the no-phone zone, it shows you're serious about following the rules too.
2. Let Them Know How Being Phubbed Makes You Feel
“What we discovered was that when someone perceived that their partner phubbed them, this created conflict and led to lower levels of reported relationship satisfaction,” James A. Roberts, Ph.D and co-author of a 2015 Baylor University study on the effects of excessive phone usage on relationships, told Elite Daily.
If you haven't honestly let your partner know that them constantly being on their phone bothers you, focusing on how it makes you feel is key. While some people are quick to blow off the importance of being able to put down their phones, they shouldn't be blowing off how you feel about it.
Try saying something like, "When you're constantly on your phone, it makes me feel like you're ignoring me or that you aren't enjoying my company."
3. If Subtly Isn't Working, Be Blunt
If it's possible, casually bringing things up often yields the best results when it comes to confronting your bae's annoying habits. But, if you've got a serious offender on your hands who you've tried to nudge in the right direction to no avail, it may be time for a more serious conversation. When phubbing has reached the point that it's already damaged your relationship from your perspective, then telling your partner this directly is typically the best course of action.
When all is said and done, you are so much more important than a cellphone. If your partner is continually struggling to act like it, then this could continue to snowball into a much larger issue. But before considering anything rash, make sure that you've been fully honest and direct with them about the situation.
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