Smartphone Relationship Survey: 71% of People Spend More Time With Their Phone Than Their Romantic Partner

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Contributors: Abhin Mahipal, Ste Wright & Sarah McConomy

Women are the worst phubbers (phone snubbers) with over three quarters (78%) of women spending more time on their phone than with their partner

80% of Women Check their Phones before Saying ‘Good morning’ to their Partners. 17% of women have interrupted bedroom intimacy to check their phone

72% of Men would not let their partners use their Phone. 43% of Men state they have caught their Partners Snooping on their Phone

It is no secret that phone addiction exists. You only have to look around to realize that people have become symbiotic with their smartphones. Many of us spend more time using our smartphones—albeit for a wide range of reasons—than anything else.

But do smartphones impede relationships? Do people get so caught up in using phones that they have become neglectful of their significant other? Relationships always feel strain when a third party becomes the focus of attention. It doesn’t matter if that third party is a smartphone.

We surveyed over 2,000 smartphone users, who live with a romantic partner, to find out just how much their phone use had an effect on their relationship.

The data not only tells us what role a smartphone plays in their relationship, but also how it can interfere with the romantic side of a couples love life. It even shows how much trust there is with a partner.


Survey Highlights

  • On an average day, 71% of people say they spend more of their personal time with their phone than their partner, with 52% of people spending three-four hours more on their phones a day, compared to time spent with their romantic partner.
  • Women are the worst phubbers (phone snubbers), with over three quarters (78%) of women admitting that they spend more time on their phone than with their romantic partner, compared to 64% of men.
  • Alarmingly, 17% of women state they will interrupt lovemaking or intimacy to check their phone, with men more focused on their partner in the bedroom.
  • A majority of people (54%), would rather spend time on their phone than in the company of their partner.
  • When prompted on whether they usually check their phone before they say good morning to their partner, 76% of people said they do. An overwhelming 80% of females asked confirmed this to be true.
  • Astonishingly 30% of people message their partner when both are home, rather than have a face to face conversation.
  • Just over a quarter of people (26%) have had a disagreement via text message, despite being in the same building. 33% of males have used this tactic in the past.
  • Over 1 in 4 people admit to playing with their phone when they eat dinner together.
  • “No phone zones”, such as the bedroom, don’t exist in most people’s (82%) homes. More women (22%) said they have “no phone zones” at home than men.
  • Most people’s partners know their passcode (63%), and yet a staggering 66% of people would not trust their partner to use their phone. 72% of men would not let their partners use their phone.
  • When asked whether they had ever caught their partner snooping on their phone, nearly 40% of people in a relationship said “yes”. 43% of men say they have caught their partner cell-phone snooping.
  • To hide phone activity from their partner, just over a fifth (21%) place their smartphone face down on a table to conceal the screen. 27% of men turn their phone face down to hide activity.
  • A quarter (25%) of people state mobile phone use had caused arguments in their relationship. 28% of males say phone use had caused arguments, with only 22% of women saying the same.


An alarming number (46%) of people say they spend between 5-6 hours a day on their phone in their personal time.

How much time on average do you spend on your phone?

We first asked respondents how much time, each day, they spend on their phone for anything not work-related. An alarming number (46%) of people say they spend between 5-6 hours a day on their phone, compared to only 5% who spend an hour or less.

Do you spend more personal time on your phone than with your partnet?

When asked whether they spend more of their own time with their phone than their romantic partner, 71% of people said they do.


Women are the Biggest Phubbers, with 78% admitting to spending more time on their phone than with their Partner!

It is actually women who are the biggest Phubbers with 78% saying they spend more personal time on their phone than with their partner! 64% of men equally admit to spending more time on their smartphones than with their partners. It seems like smartphones are the real focus of attention at home.

Over half (52%) of respondents also said that they spend at least 3-4 hours more on their phone for personal activity than they spend with their romantic partner. Only 7% of people spend less than an hour on their phone than with their partner.

Respondents then faced a series of more specific questions relating to how smartphones affect their relationship.


Overall Respondents (Men & Women)

  • Sadly, 54% of respondents would rather spend time using their phone than spend it with their partner.
  • 1 in 3 people message their partner when they are both in the same house, and just over a quarter have text message disagreements in the same circumstances.
  • 42% of people check their phone at the dinner table, yet only 18% of homes have “no phone zones”. 12% of people have actually interrupted intimacy to check their smartphone, suggesting the bedroom might make a good no phone zone. Women are the worst offenders with 17% admitted to checking their phone whilst being intimate with their partner.
  • 63% of people’s partners know how to access the other’s phone, yet only 34% of them will ever get to use it, because most people (66%) won’t let their partner use their phone.
  • 39% of people have caught partners snooping on their phone, which might be because 21% of people put their phone face down to conceal the screen from their significant other.
  • Unfortunately, 25% of people have had an argument caused by mobile phone use.


Breakdown of Responses (by Gender)

  • A massive 80% of women admit to checking their phone before saying ‘Good morning’ to their partner
  • Shockingly 17% of women admit to interrupting lovemaking to check their phones, whereas 93% of men enjoy intimacy with their partner without being distracted by their device
  • 36% of men admit to messaging their partners despite being in the same house as them and 33% also admit to arguing by text whilst in the same house rather than resolving the disagreement face to face
  • Men have bigger trust issues when it comes to letting their partner use their phone. A huge 72% of men will not let their partner use their phone. Unsurprisingly, a higher number of men (28%) admit that using their phone has caused arguments in their relationship


36% agree that smartphones have a negative impact on their relationship

Do smartphones have a negative affect on relationships?

We gave respondents a series of statements and asked how strongly they agree or disagree with the statement. When prompted on whether smartphones have a negative impact on their relationship, 24% stated that they agree, with 12% strongly agreeing with the statement.


Over half (56%) know that using their phone less would make their partner happier

Would partnerships be happier if couples spend less time on phones?

Unsurprisingly, 56% of people strongly agree (34%) or agree (22%) that cutting down on their phone use would make their partner happier.



The research infers that women spend more time on phones than with their partner. It is men however that potentially create more distrust by not allowing their partners to use their phone and in some cases hiding activity. Over half of people interviewed admit that reducing phone time would make their partners happy.

Despite opening up so many more channels of communication, smartphones are actually preventing us from communicating face-to-face. They are having the opposite effect. This could be detrimental to relationships and, in particular, our romantic partnerships. Nobody wants to play second fiddle to Facebook, yet the data tells us that most of us do.


Data Methodology have based this data on a survey conducted between February 5th-8th, 2021. Over 2,000 participants took part in the survey, all of whom are 18 years or older and live in the United States. All participants currently live with a romantic partner. There was an even split between men and women surveyed.

We collected all survey responses anonymously, meaning we have stored no personal data in the process of carrying out the survey.

The survey’s motive was to analyze how smartphone use is impacting romantic relationships.