Your relationship with your phone could have serious consequences for your actual relationship, a new University of Arizona study suggests.
The researchers surveyed people about their significant others’ smartphone habits. No surprise here: people whose partners were habitually glued to their iPhones were less happy with their relationships, the researchers found.
It’s easy to get hooked on your smartphone. Checking your notifications eases loneliness, boredom, and fear of missing out, says study author Dr Matthew Lapierre.
But using your smartphone all the time may isolate you from your partner and make her feel like she has to compete for your attention, the researchers say.
How do you know if your iPhone habit is actually an addiction?
A telltale sign, Lapierre says, is that you keep scrolling even when you know you should put your phone down. Like when you’re driving, having dinner with your family or having sex – a recent University of Virginia study finds that one in 10 people are guilty of that last one.
Another bad omen: you feel irritable or panicky when your phone dies or isn’t with you, says psychiatrist Dr Edward Hallowell.
If that sounds familiar, wean yourself off your phone by designating some data-free time each day, says Hallowell.
That could mean you turn it off between 9am and noon at work or during a given activity, like a date or a workout. And of course, every time you get behind the wheel.
Leave it out of sight – in your gym bag, your desk drawer or your glove box – during these periods. The extra step of getting your phone out and turning it on can help you stop and reconsider whether you really need to use it, he says.
If you can get used to spending an hour at the gym without checking your notifications, you may be able to get through dinner or sex without reaching for your phone. And your partner will definitely appreciate that.