No matter how you prepared for married life, I bet you never expected you’d be quite so well acquainted with one particular part of your husband’s body: the top of his head. If he spends a lot of time on his phone, you probably know those hairs well. And he might know yours too—especially if you are guilty of phone snubbing, a.k.a. phubbing.
I do it. My husband and I curl up on the couch to watch a movie and I’ll often pull out my phone and text with friends. (Then I ask questions about the storyline I missed.) He feels snubbed, or phubbed, I guess. Maybe your husband does it to you at the dinner table. Maybe you’re doing it right now. The word is funny, but the dangers of phubbing are real. Here’s why, along with 3 ways to stop phubbing.
But first, here are other kinds of phubbing.
• Stopping what you’re doing to post a photo of what you’re doing, like posting a pic of a delicious dish while you’re out for a romantic dinner
• Looking away from a conversation to check your phone
• Responding to a text while you’re talking to someone
• Scrolling social media when there’s a lull in the conversation
• Playing a game while you’re watching a TV show on the couch together
So why is it so bad?
Ironically, phones and conversation don’t mix well! A study out of Baylor University found that overuse of cell phones led to less satisfaction in relationships. Even having your phone out during an in-person chat negatively affects the quality of the conversation and reduces feelings of closeness. Husbands and wives owe it to one another to present their true selves with vulnerability, and phubbing prevents that from happening.
What’s worse is that it’s a vicious cycle. Have you ever been out with a friend who ignores you to send a text and suddenly you feel the need to grab your phone, too? It’s because you felt excluded and going to your phone makes you feel included. But grabbing your phone leads to stronger phone addiction and the likelihood that next time you’ll be the phubber. In short: Phubbed people phub people.
How can you or your husband stop phubbing?
One idea is to turn off your notifications. They are like little gremlins in your ear saying, “Check me!” Another trick is to divide and conquer. If you go out, leave one phone at home. If you take your husband’s, put it in your purse. You won’t be tempted to check his phone and he won’t have it within arms reach.
A third and powerful idea is to talk about how phubbing makes you feel. When my husband told me it bothered him that I scrolled Instagram while we watched a movie, I put the phone away. Nothing I could see on my phone was worth creating a disconnection in my marriage.
Are you or your husband guilty of phubbing? What are you willing to do to stop?