There’s a growing number of research that suggests phones kill relationships.

This is not far from the truth once you realize that the average person tends to spend close to 3 hours on their smartphone per day (not to mention the time spent on their laptop and watching Netflix).

To put that into perspective, that amounts to roughly 1095 hours, or 45 days a year.

The number of hours spent with our heads jammed to our smartphones is mainly due to the swath of apps that are just a click away (a total of 194 billion apps were downloaded last year alone).

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that many of us are wasting too much of our time on our phones, which takes a toll on our relationships.


1. Ignoring Your Spouse

Feeling ignored by your partner who is always on their cellphone has the same effect as feeling shunned.

We live in a world where we’ve gotten used to the intrusive nature of technology, but that’s no excuse to allow your smartphone to disrupt your time together with texts, emails, and social media alerts.

It’s simple. When you feel obligated to attend to your phone every few seconds instead of your partner, your partner or spouse feels rejected – and it hurts.

Whenever you reach for your phone during an intimate conversation or a meal, you’re saying to your spouse: “what I’m doing right now on my phone is more important than what you have to say.” This type of rejection can be extremely hurtful and can easily lower relationship satisfaction.

2. Inability to Focus

The attention span of the average person is eight seconds – that’s just three seconds longer than a goldfish. So, while you don’t have the attention span of a goldfish, it’s still pretty close.

According to studies, even the slightest distraction caused by your smartphone can hinder your ability to focus on the task at hand, whether you’re at work or having an intimate conversation with your partner. To keep that from happening, turn your phone on silent mode whenever you’re with your partner.

There’s a raft of research that suggests that the constant interruptions courtesy of your smartphone take a toll on your personal relationships over time. It makes sense, really.

When you’re on your phone, you’re not giving time to your partner. This gets worse over time, leading to problems in the relationship.

3. More Alone Time

So, you’ve got loads of friends on Facebook and thousands of Instagram and Twitter followers. You need to stay “connected.” But in a bid to stay connected, many people end up wasting too much time staring into their smartphone screens.

This often results in people looking for more alone time, even while they’re with their partner so that they can “catch-up” with whatever action they’ve missed on their various social media platforms.

What’s worse is that a lot of people don’t even use that time to keep themselves up to date; they often just scroll through memes or watch random cat videos.

While in a relationship, it’s important to realize that there’s such a thing as “alone time” and “couple time,” and the two need to be separated for a relationship to work.

4. Bringing Your Work Home

There’s nothing wrong with being motivated and wanting to succeed when it comes to one’s career. But throwing yourself fully into your career and being over-committed to your job could hurt your relationship without actually improving your career aspirations.

In an increasingly competitive business environment, our cellphones seem to always be attached to us, and this attachment is how they ruin our relationships.

This means you’re constantly getting updates on a project, or you get forwarded PowerPoint presentations, emails, and texts, even when you’re not at work.

If you find that you’re opting out of the activities you would otherwise do with your partner (having a romantic dinner, going to a movie, etc.), you might have a problem that needs to be addressed before it’s too late.

5. Focusing Too Much on Your Online Presence

As far as “first world problems” go, this has got to be at the top of the list. However, it’s also the reason why phones kill relationships.

When people focus too much on their social media presence by updating their Facebook and Instagram posts every day, they tend to live in a virtual world, outside of which nothing matters.

In the race to get the most views and likes on the content they dish out, people forget that they have relationships that matter in the real world.

Constantly wanting to inhale new information on social media feeds that can then be shared only limits the time you spend with your partner in the real world. While your efforts might result in a few likes, your partner is definitely not going to like it.

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6. Texting Your Friends Instead of Your Partner

Texting has become a way of life. However, only choosing to text your friends is another example of how phones kill relationships, especially if your partner is not on the receiving end of the thoughts you put your thumbs to.

While checking in with friends isn’t a problem in and of itself, going overboard when it comes to texting friends could be looked at as a form of escapism.

When it comes to your relationship, your partner could look at it as a sign of some underlying issues, which will only put further stress on the relationship. What you need to do is put that phone down, look into your partner’s eyes, and have a heart-to-heart conversation.

Research shows that even benign banter can help two people get closer, so don’t waste your time staring at your phone.

7. Spending Too Much Time on Selfies

Just a moment. Looks like she just snapped the perfect selfie. As I resist the urge to tweet about it right now, it’s getting harder to see the fine line between celebrating one’s self-confidence (as in, snapping innumerable pictures) and becoming obsessed with the likes and comments received on the pictures you post on social media.

The whole obsession with likes and comments becomes so bad that people depend on them to have any sense of self-worth.

Besides, according to a study, it turns out, couples who constantly post selfies of themselves walking the dog or eating a sandwich, etc., might not be all that happy.

This means that it’s better to enjoy the moment when you’re with your partner instead of thinking about a great angle to capture that Instagram-worthy picture.

8. Not Having Serious Conversations

The term “Continuous Partial Attention” is a phrase that was first coined by ex-Microsoft and Apple consultant Linda Stone. The term is used to define the always-on, anywhere, anytime behavior that many people using social media adopt.

This results in them living in a constant state of alertness and the need to scan the world around them for new information that can then be shared online.

The result is, they are unable to give their full attention to their partner. This hyper-alert state that most social media users are in makes it extremely difficult for them to have any serious conversation with their partner or spouse without checking in on their phone every few seconds.

Good communication is key to building a relationship and is one thing any healthy relationship simply can’t do without.

9. You Only Text Each Other

For some people, the only way to communicate is via their thumbs. The catch 22 of constantly texting each other while in a relationship is that it could lead to a “lack of communication.”

While a flirtatious text now and then is a nice way to keep the flame burning, sending your partner a text of more than 100 words is just overkill.

In such a situation, the smart thing to do would be to ditch the logjam of texts for a relationship-shaping one-to-one conversation instead.

If you’ve been together for a while, its time you ditched the idea of having full conversations via text and call them instead. Or better still, wait until you can have a face-to-face conversation, which will be far more gratifying and fun.

10. Sharing Too Much

Whether you went to a restaurant that served awful food, or you had a slight disagreement on what to binge watch together, some conversations and events are best kept between the two of you, and should not be shared via social media.

Sure, the buzz that one gets after seeing likes and comments on their social media posts can drive you to share every little experience (even the not very flattering ones), but it could come at the cost of your relationship.

Sharing too much can also mean sharing those conversations that your partner considers as private, which are not something the world should get to see.

To prevent that, it is best to have a conversation with your partner to decide on what’s acceptable and what’s off-limits when it comes to sharing on social media.