How To Let Your Partner Know Their Phone Behavior Bugs You

For most people, phones are a necessary part of life. A downside of that, however, is a new behavior known as phubbing, wherein someone snubs an actual human being right in front of them so they can look at or use their phone. "Ironically, phubbing is meant to connect you, presumably, with someone through social media or texting. But it actually can severely disrupt your present-moment, in-person relationships," psychologist and research scientist Emma Seppälä told Time. This disruption can be due, in part, to the fact that when ever-important relationship bids, or attempts to connect with your partner, are rejected, it can create cracks within your connection and overall relationship.


A 2022 study published in Psychological Reports found that the act of phubbing by romantic partners posed a threat to the relationship and proved to have a negative impact on relationship satisfaction. But what should you do if your partner is guilty of phubbing you on a regular basis? While this disrespectful habit may cause you to think twice about your relationship, there are ways to remedy it, including bringing the issue to your partner with respect and setting a good example of appropriate phone habits.

Set a good example

As the old saying goes, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. It may seem obvious to most, but if you're asking your partner to put the phone down during one-on-one time, it's imperative that you do the same. 


One way you can do that is by establishing "no phone zones" for both parties. Some relationship experts believe that banning phones from the dinner table benefits them. Professional matchmaker Rori Sassoon confirmed this to People, telling the publication, "Unless there is an emergency, your phone should be out of sight and out of mind when spending quality time with your partner." And while it may take some getting used to at first, after some time, it will probably become second nature for both of you to keep your phone well out of arm's length during quality time. 

Come from a place of love

While it may be tempting to throw your partner's phone in the nearest lake, one expert advises it's much better to tackle your partner's phubbing with patience, empathy, kindness, and love. "Keep in mind that nobody likes to be told what to do, so your opening statement means the difference between being heard because their defensiveness wasn't triggered, or not being heard because they feel attacked," dating coach Chantal Heide advised during an interview with Global News.


It's also important to note that some experts believe that phubbing is indicative of something even bigger: smartphone addiction. "According to studies in [the] US and UK, on average we check our phones every four to six minutes of our waking hours ... that's over 150 times a day," psychologist Julie Hart told the New York Post. Hart goes on to explain that the dopamine rush we get when we check our phones can overshadow the importance of spending time with our significant other. Being mindful of this, however, is a good first step in helping you and your partner create healthy boundaries around phone use.