Mobile phones ring the changes for marriages and millennial relationships

Mobile phones ring the changes for marriages and millennial relationships

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

  • Infographic - Mobile Pones Ring ChangesOver half (57%) of millennials in a relationship get the cold shoulder because they or their partner are distracted by their mobile phone
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of married UK adults say they ignore or are ignored by their partner when they are on their phones
  • Almost a third (31%) of married UK adults say they or their partner are distracted by their mobile phone when they spend time together
  • 11% of millennials in a relationship have been disloyal or their partner has been disloyal to them through mobile phone technology

A YouGov survey of 2,000 UK adults (18+) revealed over a third (36%) of people in a relationship (married/civil partnership/living together/in a relationship but not cohabiting) claim they or their partner is distracted from their significant other due to mobile phones.

With more than a quarter (27%) being ignored or ignoring their loved ones - leaving them ‘smarting’ from the cold shoulder treatment.

Commissioned by national law firm Stephensons, the survey showed that almost a third (31%) of married adults felt snubbed after they or their partner is distracted by their mobile phones. This rose to almost half (47%) for co-habiting couples.

Almost a quarter (24%) of married UK adults reveal they ignore or have been ignored by their partner when they are on their mobile phones. This rises to 43% of 35 to 44-year olds in a relationship and nearly half (45%) of millennials (25 to 34-year olds).

A high level of ‘screen snubbing’ was felt by millennials with over half (57%) of those in a relationship citing mobile phones as a distraction for them or their partner - with 11% confessing 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 15% of those in a relationship said their partner; 76% said social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube); 55% watching live TV or on demand services like Netflix with 46% 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.”

There were 101,669 divorces of opposite-sex couples and 338 divorces of same-sex couples, in England and Wales in 2017.

Warning signs that your partner is having a cyber affair

Is your partner distracted during conversations and unable to look away from his/her mobile phone screen?

  • Does your partner take the phone with him/her to the loo?

  • Has he/she suddenly started wearing a new perfume or aftershave?

  • Does your partner check his/her phone as soon as a message pings?

  • Has your partner changed his/her passwords on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?

  • Has he/she become emotionally distant?

  • Are his/her whereabouts sometimes unclear?