This is quite a claim: a study has found that simply having a cell phone nearby can damage a relationship.
Researchers at the University of Essex conducted an experiment - they got people to have discussions in an isolated room, sometimes about unimportant subjects, sometimes about the stuff that's central to relationships: trust, intimacy, empathy.
For some of those conversations, they placed a cell phone on a table nearby. For others, they put a paper notebook in the same place.
When the conversation was about something casual, the cell phone made no difference. But when the topic was something more important and there was a cell phone in the room, the test subjects "reported that their relationship quality was worse." They also said they "thought that their partners showed less empathy if there was a cell phone present."
According to research scientist Helen Lee Lin, writing in Scientific American, the report "suggests that cell phones may serve as a reminder of the wider network to which we could connect, inhibiting our ability to connect with the people right next to us."
Aziz Ansari might agree - a few years back he talked about how texting was ruining his ability to communicate with girls:
But before you go blaming your relationship woes on how awesome your 4G network is, consider this: almost anything can damage a relationship. And no one knows that better than stand-up comedians.
Here are a few examples of other things that might cause trouble in a relationship, even if you throw out your Galaxy SIII (just to let you know, there's some strong language in most of these):
Talking to Your Partner
Being Married To Each Other
Having To Tell Your Partner Where The Cheetos Are
Reading Women's Magazines
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