A collection of recent studies and personal experience reveals the conflict between using phones for support and putting them aside when they interfere with intimate relationships.
As the New York Times reports, somewhere between 46 and 70 percent of people may be negatively impacted by their partner's or their own phone use during time they spend together. The difficulties arise when one partner feels neglected by the other's choice to pay attention to their phone rather than them, even and perhaps especially when they do not realize their attention priorities.
Suggestions from these studies and the author begin with talking about phone use in an assertive, positive way, rather than scolding oneself or others. Beginning a conversation about a partner's phone use and how it makes one feel can open up the door to "awareness" of habits and, eventually, intentional decision making that can make both partners feel more cared for.
Another suggestion is to include designating phone-free zones within a living space. A third is to give one's partner a heads-up when switching attention from conversation to a phone. Above all, approaching the topic as a team and supporting each other can help partners transition to a different status quo.