Are cell phones destroying your relationship?

A primary issue affecting long-term compatibility in relationships is how much attention and communication each person needs and receives.

In recent years, cell phones and other technology have become a source of much conflict, as couples sometimes pay more attention to their devices than each other or communicate poorly via that technology. Protect your own relationship by considering this research and expert advice and asking yourself, are cell phones destroying your relationship?

How bad is the problem?

Ignoring your romantic partner by paying more attention to your cell phone, known as phone snubbing, is wrecking relationships and even causing depression, according to a Baylor University study. The Pew Research Center published findings showing 25% of married cell phone users have felt their spouses were distracted.

After coining the term “technoference”—everyday interruptions from cell phones and common household technology—Brandon T McDaniel, doctoral candidate at Pennsylvania State University, co-authored a study published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture reviewing technoference’s impact on relationships from women’s perspectives. The study concludes, “Overall, participants who rated more technoference in their relationships also reported more conflict over technology use, lower relationship satisfaction, more depressive symptoms, and lower life satisfaction.”

How can we fix it?

To remedy this situation, we can think about ways to take technology breaks. “Couples should talk about this and set some mutually agreed upon rules. It may be helpful to block out times of the day when they will turn their devices off and just focus on one another,” McDaniel says.

Amy Mcelroy


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