Are you “Phubbing” your spouse?

Are you “Phubbing” your spouse? March 8, 2016


“Phubbing” is ruining relationships, according to a recent study.  It’s rampant, and it’s a behavior we’ve grown to accept as a society.  So, what is phubbing?

A friend of mine sent me an article on phubbing, and I read it only because I honestly had never heard the term before.  When I began reading it, I quickly realized that most of us are extremely familiar with the act of phubbing–we just didn’t know it had a name.

So what is it?

According to the article, “‘Phubbing’ is ruining American relationships,” phubbing your partner is the act of being on your cellphone instead of giving them your full attention when the two of you are together.  As my husband, Dave,and I have

‘Phubbing’ is ruining American relationships

discussed in many of our blogs–including, “6 Subtle Ways You Cheat on your Spouse Every Day”–excessive cell phone usage is extremely detrimental to marriages.

According to the article, partners who felt “phubbed” were not only dissatisfied with their relationship, but many eventually experienced depression over time.  This is very concerning.

As a married couple, we must prioritize our spouse over our cell phone.  This probably seems like a given to most of you, but Reader, believing this and doing it are two different things.  I know, because I struggle with this issue too.

I feel the pressure of responding to emails and Facebook messages.  I love perusing social media, too.  But, I can’t let these things control me.  They are TOOLS, and if I’m not careful, they can become real TIME-SUCKERS that take away from my family.  

Unfortunately, I’ve seen the disappointment in my husband’s face when I wouldn’t put my phone down, and I kept on looking at my phone any way.  In those moments, I was choosing a device over my husband.  I chose to retreat from my husband–who was right in front of me–instead of engage with him.  I will never get those moments back, but, thankfully, I’ve learned from my mistakes.


So, let’s take a good look at our marriages.  Think about your communication habits.  Are you phubbing your spouse?  If so, please join me in choosing to STOP obsessing over our phone and giving our partner our first and best attention…before it’s too late.

Thank you so much for reading, sharing, and responding.  I’d love to connect with you on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

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  • Squirrel

    Bullshit. Phones save marriages.

  • daniel

    Articles like this are terribly under researched, and under critiqued. Staring at a phone, and not fully engaging with your spouse, is just another daily irritation. To assume your spouse should be ‘on’ at all times is an unrealistic expectation of marriage. If you can’t handle your spouse looking at their phone during insignificant moments, my guess is that the relationship is damned — cell phones, or no cell phones. Consider ignoring this article, and cutting you partner some slack today. Instead of finding another point to make your partner feel guilty about, make a dinner, drink a bottle of wine, and enjoy an intimate moment. Then, without shame, enjoy your cell phone and go to sleep.

  • Bill1893

    It largely depends upon the context, I think, as to whether paying attention to one’s devise is good or bad. The thing is, who is in a relationship where only one of the spouses has a device? When my wife gets on her phone, I get on mine. It’s a brief diversion. Oftentimes, she shares what she’s transceiving on the device, and me mine. Sometimes, especially at meals, if she starts texting, it can be annoying. But it doesn’t happen enough to say that it’s ruining relationships, or even close to that.

  • Bill Kelly

    I’m a 52 year old bachelor. If I ever find a woman that I like, I won’t be on my phone until she’s so tired that she asks me to play on the phone to let her rest.

  • I don’t think the people complaining about this article get what it’s talking about. She isn’t talking about when it’s done occasionally or even moderately. How would you feel if your spouse picked up his (or her) phone when you’re right in the middle of telling him something important that could affect your health? Or when you’re sitting in the pulmonologists office and the doctor comes in to discuss the results and your spouse is loudly playing Angry Birds and you have to ask him to turn it down, hoping that he will get the hint and turn it off so he can also hear the results, but instead, he turns it down and keeps playing it? Or every single night he comes home gets on his computer to watch videos, not saying anything to you or the kids, eats dinner, leaves the table and the dirty plate there and goes to the couch to start texting on his phone? Or when you are at a restaurant trying to have a conversation with him and he keeps texting his buddies and he has only listened to about 10 words you’ve said and then he doesn’t even realize when you go to the car and he stays inside for almost another hour before he notices you’re gone?
    This is the type of “Phubbing” (which I think is the dumbest name ever for it) that ruins marriages. Don’t get me wrong, I use my phone a lot but I also put it down and give my undivided attention to people more than my phone.

  • That’s not called ‘Phubbing’ that’s called neglect. You don’t need to invent a catchy new term for an old issue.

  • How is a spouse on their phone any worse than a spouse reading the newspaper, or a book, or working on a car in the garage, or having craft group, or many other ways that a HEALTHY couple spends time apart? The article places the emphasis on cell phones but neglect is neglect, the issue isn’t the phone.

  • Tony Mumble

    You do realize you just referred to this as behavior a HEALTHY couple expresses, then later referred to it as neglect, right?

  • I jumped thoughts without adding the middle, you are correct. It is healthy for a couple to have time to themselves and spend time apart from one another, and to have friends and an existence to themselves without having the other there all the time. Neglect is a different thing all together and what she is talking about is neglect and it exists outside of phone use, the phone is a symptom and not the problem.