What Is Deadwalking — And Why This Deadly Habit Kills Relationships

Smart couples leave smartphones alone when they are together.

Couple focused on their phones and not on each other View Apart | Canva

While we've all heard about the dangers of being distracted by your smartphone, "phubbing" (partner phone snubbing) is dangerous to your relationships. 

RELATED: 5 Tiny Ways You Change (For The Better) When You're In Love

Here is why 'deadwalking' kills relationships & 3 ways to kick the deadly habit:

1. Your tech device isn't just ruining your relationship, it's also ruining your life.

People who are constantly distracted by their smartphones appear as zombie-like creatures or "Deadwalkers". We've all seen people texting and talking on the phone while jogging. People send text messages or emails while on escalators while driving, working, attending their child's extracurricular events, on a date, and the list goes on.


2. 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 smartphone.

3. Whether you're deadwalking or phubbing, there are serious dangers to you, your loved ones, and your love life.

We have been aware of the negative impact smartphones have on your love life for a long time. The truth is the distraction problems related to these devices have only grown worse.


RELATED: The 17 Fool-Proof Ways To Ruin A Perfectly Good Marriage

Phubbing is the extent 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.

Phubbing can lead to depression by one or both of you, a decrease in the level of satisfaction with your romantic relationship, negatively affect your sense of well-being, and at times, even make one (or both) of you angry or jealous over the lack of personal attention you're being paid.

RELATED: 7 Small Signs Your Marriage Counselor Is Giving You Terrible Advice


couple texting and walking

Photo: Dragon Images via Shutterstock

Here's how to keep yourself from being owned by your smartphone.

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 "have to" check what came in. Turning off the alert system is a great first step in taking control of the urge to get on your smartphone 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 will 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 phubbing or deadwalking.

We often say, "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, at a restaurant together. It's sad. They're not connected at all, not even looking or speaking to one another.



Like most things, there is a time and place for everything, including your smartphone.


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

Leave the smartphone 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 smartphones, of course!


RELATED: 12 Reasons Marriage Is Important For Your Overall Well-Being

Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz are renowned love and marriage experts and multiple award-winning authors. Their best-selling book, Building A Love That Lasts, provides readers with insightful and practical tips from thousands of happily married couples.