What Putting Down Your Devices Can Do For Your Relationship

If we're brutally honest with ourselves, we can admit that we may all share the same addiction — our phones. From doom scrolling on Instagram as a way to kill time to phubbing, which is the practice of snubbing someone for your phone, our phones really get in the way of lots of things (via Time). But where it does the most damage may be with our relationships.


For many of us, turning to our phones is a sort of default action when there's nothing else going on. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found the mere presence of a phone can mess with relationship satisfaction. Even just innocently sitting there on a table, a phone can be foreboding because we all know that the second a notification pops up, that phone is going to get all the attention — again. 

But the thing is, it doesn't have to be this way. Nor should it be this way if we want successful relationships. So, if you're starting to realize the most important thing in your life is your phone and not your partner, then it's time to put that device away.


It makes you more present

Being present means being in the moment, completely in the moment, without distractions. When we embrace the present, we're more mindful of ourselves, as well as others in our life.

"Mindfulness is a fantastic tool for creating and maintaining a healthy and happy relationship," licensed psychotherapist and relationship coach Adamaris Mendoza, LPC, tells Bustle. "Being present with your partner and being able to focus, listen, and process without distraction helps improve communication."


Although you may think that you're present in your relationship when your phone isn't in your hand, that's not quite accurate. The only way to truly be there for your partner, to actually hear them and not just listen to them, is to power down your phone and put it away (via CNN). When you can't see your phone, it is less likely to creep into your thoughts, so you can have a communicative conversation with the person you love.

It strengthens relationship satisfaction

When you're constantly on your phone, not only are you not allowing yourself to be fully present, but you're opening yourself up to negativity in ways you may not realize. In recent years, research has found that social media can increase depression and even make people feel lonely (via Healthline). While you may think that depression can't affect your relationship, it definitely can, according to Psych Central. If someone is struggling with any type of mental illness, there is a good chance that it will spill over into their relationships. It's hard to have a happy and healthy partnership when you're emotionally and mentally in the throes of depression.


In addition to depression, when a phone becomes the third component in a relationship, intimacy suffers too."When you are distracted into or by the device, then your attention is divided, and being responsive to our partners — an essential ingredient for building intimacy — requires attention in the here and now," University of Arizona psychology professor David Sbarra tells Psychological Science. Relationships that lack intimacy don't flourish the way relationships that have healthy amounts of intimacy do.

As much as we all love our phones, there's a time and place when they should be put away. You may not realize it immediately, but in time, your relationship will be better for it.