The phubbing relationship trend is ruining marriages

The phubbing relationship trend is ruining marriages

What the actual phub??? 

While gazing at the stars and soaking in the beauty of the late summer’s night sky in September 2019, Heather Cox looked adoringly over at her husband, Wes, hoping to romantically lock eyes beneath the blanket of twinkling celestial bodies. 

But rather than sharing in the idyllic moment, an entranced Wes was busy gawking at a different glow — the light from his phone. 

“I was like, ‘That is it! I cannot take this [phone obsession] anymore!’” Cox, 38, a mom of three and social media strategist from Wilmington, Del., told The Post.

She forced Wes, a cyber security specialist, to put his phone down and have an heart-to-heart chat about his obsession. 

“I said, ‘You’re always on his phone, working or scrolling on social media,’” she explained. “‘It I can be really disheartening and hurtful when I’m trying to connect with you.’”

Heather Cox has cracked down on her husband’s phubbing.

Being “phubbed,” or “phubbing” — is a trending term that combines “phone” and “snub.” It’s the all too common act of ignoring a romantic partner while being glued to a cellular device. Some are saying enough.

“No one wants to be phubbed,” Cox told The Post. “It ruins communication and drives a wedge between two people who love each other.”

A May 2023 study conducted by researchers at the Niğde Ömer Halisdemir University in Turkey found that phubbing is “a problematic behavior that can harm both the phubber and the phubbee,” and “significantly and negatively [predicts] marital satisfaction.”

A July 2022 analysis on the damaging trend from the University of Münster in Germany reported that phubbing “triggers negative mood and feelings of ostracism, and threatens fundamental needs [of both partners].”

A stock image shot of a husband on his phone while his angry wife stares at him from a distance.
Researchers have linked phubbring to dissatisfaction in marriage, saying the act could be damaging to both the culprit and the ignored spouse.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Online — where the #phubbing hashtag has scared up over one million TikTok views — victims of the behavior are virally venting about its hurtful impact. 

“When I’m talking to you, and you’re [scrolling or texting] on your phone, that tells me I’m not important to you,” griped a brunette named Ginnymae, from Arizona, in a video reprimand. She likened being phubbed to getting slapped in the face.

“Start being present,” she said, “you’ll have better relationships.”

An equally outraged detractor, who’s known virtually as @JennieOfAllTrades, also chastised phubbing perpetrators. “Are you going to be laying on your deathbed, wishing that you had more time with your phone?” she said in a post.

“When your marriage fails because somebody didn’t want to come in second place to a f – – king [phone] screen, don’t cry about it,” she continued.

But Manhattan relationship expert Susan Winter tells The Post that marriages plagued by phubbing aren’t necessarily headed for imminent destruction. 

“A phone fixation does not mean that the relationship is doomed,” said Winter, who’s counseled more than 5,000 couples over the past two decades. “The real issue of concern is whether your partner is willing and able to amend their behavior to make you feel safe, secure and wanted.”

To address the issue head-on, Winter suggests having an open and honest discussion with your significant other about the effects of their phubbing — much like Cox did with her hooked hubby. 

“Get clear on what you want. Explain the ‘why’ portion of your request,” said the authority. “When our partner understands why we want [something] and why it’s meaningful to us, they’re more willing to comply.”

She continued, “You can also highlight the fact that this behavioral change that eliminates nagging and arguments. You’ll both be in a better mood, and the relationship will become more harmonious and fun,” said Winter. 

Cox has turned her anti-phubbing crusade into a lighthearted thrill. 

After catching Wes fall back into his old, phone-absorbed ways, the fed-up wife created a reusable adhesive sticker called the “Phone Phlag,” which she slaps onto his screen anytime he becomes spellbound by his cell. 

“I throw it on his screen and say, ‘That’s it, you’re flagged. You’re cut off,’” said Cox, who has a background in graphic design. She handcrafted a prototype in October 2019, and began selling the stickers internationally for $9.99 via Etsy in early 2020.

“I’m a problem solver,” Cox said, adding that she and Wes have also agreed to abstain from phone use during family dinners, date nights and bedtime.

The limitations on screen time, namely her “Phlag,” seem to be working. 

“He laughs when I flag his phone,” said Cox. “It startles him, but now he’s paying better attention.”

Source by [New York Post]

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