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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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Phubbing and other Phone Behavior

Uploaded: Feb 18, 2016
I learned a new term this week: Phubbing. According to Baylor University, it means “partner phone snubbing,” or when incessant cell-phone checking damages romantic relationships.

I also read about a study done by Lauren Reed, et al from the University of Michigan that found that insecure teens use texts and social media to harass and threaten their partner. This brings about a cycle of increasing anxiety: wondering what the partner is up to, then being reassured, until the cycle begins again. Reed also notes that social media can add to relationship quality and closeness.

On the other hand, research from Catalina Toma, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that even couples who live close to one another rely heavily on mobile media to manage their dating relationships. And that can be a good thing, Toma says. “There’s a sense of maintaining an emotional connection and that your partner is psychologically close,” Toma says. “It might seem trivial, but it’s really relationship maintenance.”

I think we’re going to see a lot of conflicting data on these topics for quite some time.
The real question is how does it work for you and your beloved? What brings you closer? What’s over the line?

Do you check each others’ phones? If so, how come? If not, how come?

How often do you touch base during the day by text? By phone? Are those touch-ins for connection, or for control (e.g., to make sure your spouse remembers to pick up the kids when he said he would vs. trusting him to just take care of it?)

There is no right answer. There is only your answer for your relationship.

If it’s working, great. If not, address it before it becomes a huge relationship issue.

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