75% Of Women Say This Unsexy Habit Interferes With Their Relationship

Photo: Joaquin Corbalan P / Shutterstock
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It was when I got my very first BlackBerry years ago, then my relationship at the time slowly, but surely, fell second to my relationship with my phone. By the time I upgraded to my beloved iPhone years ago, things got even worse.

As much as I hate it, my phone is never far from me.

I'm constantly looking at it, sometimes for no apparent reason at all except just to flip through it manically like an obsessed woman, and I'll even completely block out whatever my husband is saying to devote my entire attention to my phone.

75% of women say this unsexy habit interferes with their relationship:

I won't even admit to how many times I've reached for the phone during sex just because I've gotten an alert, which, usually is some stupid notification that I've been tagged in a photo on Facebook or some troll is tweeting obscenities at me on Twitter. I'm a product of my generation and it's embarrassing sometimes.

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When it comes to relationships, our smartphones aren't exactly helping them. Like me, people are way too into their phones, with psychologists even dubbing phones the "third wheel" to most couples.

In fact, a survey found that 75 percent of women in long-term relationships can actually see that their smartphones are interfering in their relationships and messing up quality time with their partners, but just don't stop playing with their little bundles of technological joy.

Also, 25 percent were guilty of texting during important conversations with their partners—something I am also guilty of, but I always pass it off as "work-related," even if it usually isn't.

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However, all this "technoference," as scientists call it, is really unhealthy for not just our relationships with other people, but for our wellbeing, too. Even technoference that isn't 24/7, can result in "lower relationship quality, lower life satisfaction and higher risk of depression." Is that enough of a reason to put down your phone? Yeah, I need more bad news, too.

But, the saddest part of all of this, according to researchers, Brandon McDaniel of The Pennsylvania State University and Sarah Coyne of Brigham Young University in Utah, is that every time we do reach for our phone we're showing our partner what we value more.

Now think about it: Can you imagine feeling like you were second to your partner's smartphone? Even I, the iPhone-obsessed lass that I am, would be none too thrilled if I were knocked out of first place by some piece of technology. I guess I'm a hypocrite in that way.

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If we truly value our relationships, we need to step away from our phones. Coyne suggests putting the phone well out of reach, even in another room if need be, so you can give your partner your all. The thing is, no matter how much you love your phone, it's never going to love you back. I can't even tell you how many times I've begged Siri to tell me she loves me, but she never does.

My husband, on the other hand, says it all the time, so the least I can do is shove my phone in a drawer somewhere for an hour or so, and really focus on what he has to say. I'm not saying it will be easy, but I'm going to make an attempt—starting tomorrow… or next week. OK, I'll start next year, because I have a feeling I'll need my phone for the rest of this year for no particular reason at all.

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Amanda Chatel is a writer who divides her time between NYC and Paris. She's a regular contributor to Bustle and Glamour, with bylines at Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Livingly, Mic, The Bolde, Huffington Post, and others.