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IS THERE ANY DIGITAL LIFE RELATIONSHIP..?

Dating and Relationships in the Digital Age

From distractions to jealousy, how Americans navigate cellphones and social media in their romantic relationships

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Amid growing debates about the impact of smartphones and social media on romantic relationships, a Pew Research Center survey conducted in October 2019 finds that many Americans encounter some tech-related struggles with their significant others.

For instance, among partnered adults in the U.S. – that is, those who are married, cohabiting or in a committed relationship, roughly half (51%) say their partner is often or sometimes distracted by their cellphone while they are trying to have a conversation with them, and four-in-ten say they are at least sometimes bothered by the amount of time their partner spends on their mobile device.

Partnered adults under the age of 50 are particularly likely to express the feeling that their partner is distracted by their phone, with those ages 30 to 49 most likely to report this. Fully 62% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 52% of 18-to 29-year-olds who are in a romantic relationship say their partner is at least sometimes distracted by their phone when they’re trying to talk them. Still, this issue is not confined to younger age groups: 41% of partnered Americans ages 50 and older say they have encountered this in their relationship at least sometimes.

With phones being such a distraction, people might be tempted to look through their partner’s phone. However, there is widespread agreement among the public that digital snooping in couples is unacceptable. Seven-in-ten Americans – regardless of whether they are in a relationship – say it is rarely or never acceptable for someone to look through their partner’s cellphone without that person’s knowledge. Still, 34% of partnered adults say they have looked through their partner’s cellphone without that person’s knowledge, with women being more likely than men to say they have done this (42% vs. 25%).

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