Stop Pphubbing Your Partner

If you feel annoyed, angry or depressed when your partner ignores you in favor of their cell-phone, you are not alone.

In a study just released by Baylor University, about 450 participants provided feedback on the experience of Partner Phone Snubbing, or “Pphubbing”.

The study specifically looked at the degree to which romantic partners allowed their cellphones to distract them while in each other’s company.

When engaged with one’s romantic partner, it’s easy to switch one’s focus off the other person when the phone rings or beeps. However, this can also signal that the time being spent together is less valuable than the interruption.

When the focus is switched away from the partner and to the cell phone, the other person is forced to wait, interrupt their thought process or any other interpersonal activity that was occurring. When the distracted partner finishes with the phone it takes time for his/her focus to return to the partner and the conversation or activity to pick up again.

Pphubbing also includes keeping the phone physical present in order to actively monitor its activity. For example:

  • Glancing at the phone while engaged in conversation
  • Holding the phone in one’s hand while together
  • Keeping the phone in view of both partners while spending time together
  • Immediately picking up the phone if there is a pause in the conversation

In another, related study researchers found that about 46% of partners reported being Pphubbed, and nearly half of those stated it led to conflict in the relationship.

Spend Quality Time without Electronicsshutterstock_259622531

There is a time and place for everything. It’s not realistic to expect that one’s partner will never interact with media devices during a relationship. At the same time, it’s reasonable to expect focused interpersonal time without constant distractions.

When talking, enjoying time together or participating in a fun event, turn the phone off and put it away for a bit. Engaging with another person and taking a break from electronics is freeing, and can even strengthen the relationship!

The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed medical professional. It is essential that you discuss with your primary care provider any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.


Roberts, J., Williams, B. & David, M (2015) Cellphones Can Damage Romantic Relationships, Lead to Depression; Retrieved from media release: http:// www baylor edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=161554

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