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Phone addiction might be a general term that many people don’t take too seriously, but, trust us, it’s very real — and it could be damaging your relationship. In fact, you may not realize just how much a girlfriend who’s always on her phone is impacting the two of you, pushing you towards the brink of ending things, but unsure of how to communicate the topic.

Look, we’ve all been on a bad date where a girl brings out her phone and texts someone — which is rude as shit — but phone addiction is more than just checking up on all those texts or missed calls. What it is is part FOMO (fear of missing out), part insecurity and part bragging. If you can relate to these situations, you’re not alone.

Since phone addiction can be a serious problem in a relationship, we’re giving you ways to handle your girlfriend when she, seemingly, spends more time on that little device than with you.

Communicate your feelings

Before going in on her and just voicing how frustrating it is that she’s always on her phone, make sure you think through what you want to say, then communicate your feelings in the proper way. For instance, if her phone addiction is making you self-conscious and unimportant, let her know that it’s impacting you being confident and being the best version of yourself for her.

Playfully challenge her to limit her usage

Most people are competitive, so, when it comes to your girlfriend’s phone usage, have a little fun with her and see if she can go an entire date or movie night without checking it. If she can’t, then she’s really got a phone addiction that needs to slowly be fixed over time. Trust us, no one’s going to take kindly to being told they spend too much time on their phone — always assuming it’s normal or less than others — so tread lightly and see if she can change up her habits.

Set guidelines and/or consequences

Along those same lines, if she agrees to the playful challenge you’ve given her, set guidelines or consequences if she’s incapable of leave her phone alone. For instance, if you bet that she can’t keep her phone in her purse for an entire date, if she breaks that rule, she has to pay for the meal. Or, make things sexual and tell her that she’s got to give you oral sex for the night without any payback from you. Trust us, these will get her attention, as well as be fun and lighthearted at the same time.

Ask why she wants to use it so much

We totally understand why people like to check their phones on the reg, making sure they’re up-to-date on all that’s going on. Cell phones are a provider of information, giving us breaking news through different apps and such. That said, when your girlfriend’s clearly using her phone to post things on social media and show everything that’s going on in her life, that’s when the phone addiction problem persists. Simply ask why she feels it necessary to do that, and if there’s anything you can do to help fill that void — because it might be lack of attention on your part.

Question who she’s trying to impress

If all else fails, it might just be best to ask if there’s someone else she’s interested in that she keeps sending photos or videos to. In a world where we’re all more connected than ever, apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, among others, allow people to secretly send direct messages to others — and, who knows, maybe your girlfriend is doing so. Never accuse her of that when talking to her about her phone addiction habits, but see how she responds if you do ask if she’s trying to impress someone. If she seems uncomfortable, gets defensive or tries to turn things around on you, you may have your answer.

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