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Health experts warn over the dangers of phubbing in your relationship

Health experts warn over the dangers of phubbing in your relationship

It's not easy to ignore your phone, but sometimes you have to.

There's nothing like a new word or phrase springing out of social media to make you feel old.

Case in point: have you ever heard of 'phubbing'?

You might not have encountered the exact word before, but you'll definitely be familiar with the phenomenon.

It's popping up more and more, and to figure out its meaning you have to basically split it in half - the 'ph-' in the word comes from 'phone', while the rest of the word is taken from 'snubbing'.

So, basically, it's about 'phone snubbing', the idea that some of us are too engrossed in our phones - at the expense of actually engaging with the people around us.

Eternity in an Instant / Getty
Eternity in an Instant / Getty

This isn't ideal if you're hanging out with friends, but it's even more of a problem if you're doing it with a romantic partner, according to experts.

In fact, a recent study published in the Applied Psychology Review found a clear link between phubbing and a "significant negative impact on marital satisfaction", which only goes to demonstrate how much of a problem it can be.

It's not exactly a brand-new problem, though - phones have been increasingly monopolizing our attention for years, arguably ever since the advent of the smartphone.

This took your phone from a mute box that was only really useful for contacting people (and occasionally playing a round of Snake) to an everything device that could access the web, with limitless content to offer up via apps.

Now, things are as distracting as they've ever been thanks to the rise of infinite feeds in the likes of TikTok and Instagram, all dictated by algorithms that are scarily good at knowing how to hook you for just a few more minutes.

Maria Korneeva / Getty
Maria Korneeva / Getty

So, how can people push back against the threat of phubbing each other? Well, some tactics are a little old-school but still really effective - it can be as simple as setting rules.

This might mean deciding that you're both going to charge your phones overnight in a different room to the one you sleep in, a great way to encourage more connection before you go to bed.

Equally, if you're finding that phones are more of an issue at mealtimes, maybe agree to both leave your phones in another room while you have dinner each night, to encourage conversation and catching up instead of doomscrolling.

These sorts of simple agreements can be really meaningful if you both stick to them, and make it far more cooperative as you push back against the ever-present phubbing threat.

Featured Image Credit: ITV / bymuratdeniz/ Getty