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Bedtime habit 'parallel scrolling' could be killing your relationship

Bedtime habit 'parallel scrolling' could be killing your relationship

Getting sucked into your phone could have some real-world effects.

We all know that paying attention to your phone instead of your romantic partner isn't a great plan if you want your relationship to last - but it's so widespread, there's actually a phrase for it.

'Parallel scrolling', as it's been called, is the name for any situation where both people in a relationship are using their phones at the same time, essentially ignoring each other in order to just scroll through social media apps like TikTok or Instagram.

It's not a new problem, either - back in 2017, a study from Baylor University revealed that 70% of respondents thought their phones interfered with their interactions with partners 'sometimes', 'often', 'very often' or 'all the time'.

Sergey Mironov / Getty
Sergey Mironov / Getty

That means the majority of us think phones get in the way more than they should, which probably doesn't come as a huge surprise.

After all, even if you're not in a relationship you'll know that it can be way too tempting to check your phone before you go to bed, or first thing when you wake up in the morning- even if you're well aware this isn't the greatest thing to do for your mental health.

Couples and family therapist Tracy Ross told the Huffington Post last month: "Many of the couples I work with complain that their partner is constantly on their phone, distracted, and that it’s hard to get their attention."

But sometimes both parties have the issue: "Parallel scrolling - or just generally being on your phone - prevents the sharing of experiences, feelings and worries, creating more separateness, which is the opposite of connection," she added.

Luis Alvarez / Getty
Luis Alvarez / Getty

In good news, there are quite a lot of ways that people can avoid the risk of parallel scrolling - including learning some discipline where phones are concerned.

One huge change that can help is charging your phones in a different room to where you sleep.

This might mean that you need a physical alarm clock (which is useful since phone alarms aren't always reliable in the first place) but it should help you avoid the risk of scrolling on your phone when you could be spending time with your partner.

Part of this process should involve working out a bedtime routine that works for both of you, too, so that one person isn't left staying up on their phone while the other tries to sleep.

It's a two-sided process, but if you can banish parallel scrolling you're likely to reap the rewards.

Featured Image Credit: AntonioGuillem/AJ_Watt/Getty