‘Deadwalking’ Kills Relationships: What It Is and What to Do

You need to wake up before your relationships (and your life) are in ruins!

While we’ve all heard about the dangers of being distracted by your smart phone, a recent Baylor University study reveals that ”p-phubbing” (partner phone snubbing) is actually dangerous to your relationships.

According to Roberts and David, p-phubbing is the extent to which people use or get distracted by their mobile devices while in the company of their relationship partners. When you’re constantly distracted by your respective cell phones during a conversation, your connection as a couple suffers, causing great harm to your relationship.

For example, p-phubbing can lead to depression by one or both of you, a decrease in the level of satisfaction with your romantic relationship, negatively effects your personal sense of well-being, and at times, even makes one (or both) of you angry or jealous over the lack of personal attention you’re being paid.

But, your tech device isn’t just ruining your relationship, it’s also ruining your life. 

recent article referred to people constantly distracted smart phone users as zombie-like creatures or “Deadwalkers.”

We’ve all seen people texting and talking on the phone while jogging. People send text messages or email while on escalators, while driving, while working, while attending their child’s extracurricular events, while on a date, and the list goes on.

How many people have walked in front of your car while you’re making a right turn because they’re too preoccupied with their hand-held device?

Of course, the great dangers of deadwalking are clear: The Internet, newspapers, and other sources tell us daily stories about people who got hit while staring zombie-like at their mobile device, who wrecked their car while texting, and who got hurt at work while preoccupied with their smart phone.

So whether you’re deadwalking or p-phubbing, there are serious dangers to you, your loved ones and your love life.

We first wrote about the negative impact smart phones can have on your love life nearly a decade ago. And the truth is, it seems the distraction problems associated with these devices has only grown worse.

So, how do you keep yourself from the “crack” addiction to your Smart Phone? Here are three strategies that can help you begin the withdrawal process:

1. Turn off distracting alerts

Alerts are the first interruption to your relationship. Instead of concentrating on the one you love, each ping of the phone distracts your attention away.

Natural curiosity takes over when you hear the ding and you just “have to” check what just came in. Turning off the alert system is a great first step in taking control over the urge to get on your Smart Phone constantly.

2. Put your phone out of reach during a conversation

You can’t have a good conversation if you’re not truly paying close attention to the other person. Conversing with the one you love is more important than whatever is popping up on your phone.

Put your phone on the table upside down, or better yet … in your purse or pocket. And then leave it there and focus on the real human being in front of you.

3. Check at designated times only

Determine if you are going to check your phone once an hour or every two hours. Since messages are asynchronous (are not in real time), you can delay your response. The conversation and attention to the one you love, however, is in real time, which is adversely affected by p-phubbing or deadwalking.

We say often: ”Love is simple to understand. The problem is people won’t do the simple things required to make love work.”

It’s so obvious that putting your phone down and paying attention to the person you’re with is important. Yet, over and over again, we see couples on their phones while walking together, while at a restaurant together. It’s sad. They’re not connected at all, not even looking or speaking to one another.

Like most things in life, there is a time and place for everything, including your smart phone.

The time you spend with your partner (or other loved ones) is precious. The latest cat meme your friend just posted, we promise you, is not! Walking and talking without distractions is one of the best things couples can do for their relationship.

Leave the smart phone at home when you spend those moments (you’ll survive 45 minutes away from your phone while you take a walk, we swear!). Save your phone time for when you’re alone. Your relationships will thank you for it.

The great marriages we write about are often achieved as a result of lots of walking and talking together! Maybe we will see you on one of those walks. Without the smart phones, of course!

Written by Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz, America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts, share what happily married women know about what makes a man marriage material in How to Marry the Right Guy — the latest multiple award-winning book by the Doctors. Reposted with permission from YourTango. 

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102 comments

Veronica Danie
.2 years ago

Thank you!

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Amanda M.
Amanda M2 years ago

I don't even HAVE a smart phone, and I have no desire to upgrade to one. It's annoying enough that I can't talk to people anymore because they're all too busy twiddling away at their phones to get to know the mom sitting next to them at soccer practice or wherever (and they have the gall to look at ME weird because I usually bring my knitting or a real book to my kids' practices and lessons!). Don't even get me started on seeing people texting each other when they're in the same room! Not only is it flat-out antisocial, it's just plain rude!

Not that I don't have a cell phone-it's a ten-year-old flip phone that is for phone calls and texts only. That's all I need anyway. No more, no less. I'll replace it when it finally keels over and can't be revived, but only with another flip phone. And yes, I get plenty of flak from the guys at the firehouse about that, but ask me if I care!

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Scott haakon
Scott haakon3 years ago

How annoying. Another article telling us how to live our lives.

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heather g.
heather g3 years ago

Most of us know bad manners when we see people and their phones - unless they are responding to a brief urgent call,

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Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

I so wish phones had never evolved to this level. We were better people when a phone was just for sending and receiving calls.

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Lone W.
Lone W3 years ago

How true is all this.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson3 years ago

Once again, I feel like I am getting to be too old to get it. If you want to spend time with someone, spend time with them.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson3 years ago

Once again, I am getting too old to understand!

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Nancy BIELECKIE
Nancy BIELECKIE3 years ago

I agree that people should be aware of what is right in front of them instead of what just came in on their phones. There trully is a time and a place for everything.

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