If you've ever asked, "what is phubbing?" you're pretty lucky, because way too many of us have experienced it. It's basically when someone ignores you for their phone. Which is always annoying, but— when your partner does it— it can be a genuine relationship-killer. In fact, a horrifying survey by mobile intelligence developer Delvv of 355 Americans found that a third of people would rather give up sex for three months than use a dumb phone, instead of a smartphone, for a week. Seriously. My brain can't handle this. It shows that our priorities have gone so, so far off. We need a major reset. But, we're so trained to have a phone within reach, that getting used to not having your phone around can be tough.
"Try to cut back on using your phone gradually," David Brudö, co-founder and CEO at mental wellbeing and personal development app Remente, tells Bustle. "Try simply not checking it unless you actually need to use it. Or, leave your phone at home when you go out for dinner or grocery shopping. This way it will help you to change your habits in small dosages."
I think a really good way to do it is to start with dating. Firstly, because it can save your freaking relationship. But also because dates should be fun and engaging enough that you won't need to check Instagram as quickly as possible.
Here are some ideas for phone-free dates, because your partner will appreciate it:
1 Head To A Museum
“It’s a great way to do something interesting and you can get to know each other at the same time,” April Masini, aka “Ask April,” New York–based relationship expert and author, tells Bustle. “It’s very romantic to be surrounded by art — and conducive to eliciting any feelings of romance on your date!”
2 Dinner And A Movie, Sans Phone
You don't need to steer away from this classic date night. In fact, I would say that one of the great things about not having your phones is that you get to really, really talk — without distractions. So you should make time to do it on your date, whether your go out to dinner or order in. Dinner provides you with some genuine connecting time, then you can move onto a movie.
3 Try Escape The Room Or Other Games
Something that keeps your mind fully engaged will keep you from thinking about your phone. Try Escape The Room if you want a real adrenaline rush. “This is a group activity where you have to solve mind games in order to ‘escape,’ Kali Rogers, Founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, tells Bustle. “It’s a great way to work together as a team with others and get to know each other...” If you can't find that, there are lot of activities that will keep your hands and mind busy while you work as a team.
4 A Cooking Class
Move outside of your comfort zone and keep your hands busy. “Learning something new together is a great way to bond and learn about how the other one takes in new information and whether or not they’re a good sport,” says Rogers. “I once took an ‘intro to DJing’ class with my current boyfriend and it was a blast! We were both terrible, but it was a lot of fun.” The benefit of a cooking class? The skills will come in handy at home.
And if you're not a fan of cooking,
5 Get Physical Together
Heading out for a hike (or, if you're in a city, a park walk) maximizes the benefits of not having your phone. You're not only disconnecting (but reconnecting with your partner), but you're getting some time with nature and your partner. It's basically a spa day for your mind.
6 Spa Day
Speaking of spa day for the mind, there's no reason you can't go for the real thing. Spa days give you an opportunity for a whole lot of luxury and it's like your whole body and mind get to reset. If you do it with your partner, you'll both be feeling relaxed and better than ever.
Another tip: Massages and services can be really pricey, but a lot of spas will sell access passes just for their facilities for much less. You can spend hours enjoying saunas, steam rooms, pools, and hot tubs without breaking the bank.
7 Snuggle Up
If you're really short on cash, you can totally have a phone-free staycation day. Take an evening, or a weekend afternoon, and set up with some movies, food, blankets, and board games. Then, shut off your phones and leave them in the other room. No, not on the table. The other room. It helps your mind disconnect — and reconnect with the person you love.
It may not seem like a big deal to have your phone around — but it is a distraction. If you're glued to your email and Instagram it will, eventually, affect your relationship. Start by having one night everyone once and a while when you put it down or, better yet, you leave it at home. You'll be feeling closer and reconnecting before you know it.