What Is 'Screen Dipping'? (It Could It Be Ruining Your Relationship)

Nope, you’re not going out tonight. You and bae decided to stay in, order your favorite takeout with a bottle of wine and finally watch Roma on Netflix. Ah, a cozy, cultured night in. Only one thing: every time you look over from Alfonso Cuarón’s brilliant wide shots, said bae is looking at his phone and totally ruining the experience for you. Ugh. 

Don’t worry: You’re not alone. There’s a name for this phenomenon (OK, we came up with it ourselves): screen dipping.

Wait, so what exactly is “screen dipping”?

It’s the act of intermittently “dipping out” of one screen in favor of watching another screen (i.e., dipping between your TV and your iPhone). It’s not a cardinal sin if you’re screen dipping between Twitter and The Real Housewives—especially if you’re alone. But it does bug the hell out of people who’ve proactively decided to watch something together.

Why is it so bad for my relationship?

Well, just like phubbing, screen dipping implies that you’re choosing your phone over the person you’re with. Sure, you’re not in an active conversation with the person you’re watching a show or movie with, but you’re supposed to be engaged in this activity together. And, as a study published in Human Behavior found, choosing your phone over your partner leads to lower marital satisfaction and more fights. 

OK, so how do I stop screen dipping?

It’s all about being aware of your screen dipping. Not sure you can trust yourself not to check Instagram for 90 minutes? Put your phone on silent in another room. Or, get creative. Maybe the two of you agree to leave your phones upstairs until the movie’s over. The point is to be mindful about your phone so that you can be more present with the person sitting right next to you.

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Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...