Spousal ‘phubbing’ impacts on London’s love life, new survey finds


SPOUSAL screen snubbing is causing increased doubt, suspicion and the breakdown of marriages and relationships – a leading UK divorce lawyer says as new YouGov research reveals the impact of mobile phones on London’s love life.

‘Phubbing’ – ignoring one’s companion by paying more attention to a mobile phone – is on the rise as partners are forced to compete with mobile technology for attention and affection from their loved ones.

A YouGov survey of 2,000 UK adults (18+) revealed more than a third (37%)1 of Londoners in a relationship (married/civil partnership/living together/in a relationship but not cohabiting) felt snubbed because they or their partner was distracted by their mobile phone.

The survey, commissioned by national law firm Stephensons, also showed that more than a quarter (28%) of Londoners in a relationship revealed they ignore or have been ignored by their partner when they are on their mobile phone – and 6% even confessed they or their partner have been disloyal through their phones.

‘Phoneaholic’ partners and rising mobile phone screen time within relationships are making couples increasingly unhappy in their home life, says Amanda Rimmer, a Partner in the Family Law division at Stephensons Solicitors LLP.

“Some couples now spend more time in bed with their mobile phone than being affectionate with each other. People sleep with their phone, eat with it, play with it and talk to it – it’s almost a relationship itself,” she said.

The YouGov survey also asked what things in life people would be prepared to give up for one week. While 16% of Londoners in a relationship said their partner; 66% of all Londoners said social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube); 53% watching live TV or on demand services like Netflix with 35% saying they would be prepared to give up their mobile phone for seven days.

Mobile phones are now seen as an integral part of modern life as 78% of people now own one.2 Adults check them, on average, every 12 minutes during the day and two in five (40%) check a mobile phone within five minutes of waking up, soaring to 65% of those aged under 35.

Amanda added: “Mobile phones can build mistrust, doubt and suspicion, cause arguments and infidelity. We’ve experienced a surge in divorce enquires in the last five years because of phoneaholic partners, with many people citing a partner’s secretive mobile phone behaviour as an indication that the relationship is falling apart.”