By Chelsea Karnash

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) – Smartphones have officially become the third wheel in many relationships.

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That’s according to research from Penn State and Brigham Young University that’s published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture.

Scientists say the study involved 143 women in committed relationships. Seventy-four-percent of them felt that smartphones were taking away from or interfering in their relationship, leading scientists to conclude that “technoference” results in a chain of negative events, including more conflict over technology, lower life satisfaction and lower relationship quality.

Among their findings? Sixty-two-percent of women surveyed said technology interferes with time spent together, and 35 percent said their partner will look at a cell phone mid-conversation.

One-quarter also said their partner texts during face-to-face conversations.

“By allowing technology to interfere with or interrupt conversations, activities, and time with romantic partners—even when unintentional or for brief moments—individuals may be sending implicit messages about what they value most, leading to conflict and negative outcomes in personal life and relationships,” the researchers say.

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And it’s not just “regular people” who are doing this – even scientists admit to it.

“It’s a wake-up call to me because I realized I’m doing this too,” Sarah Coyne, the study’s co-author, said. “That’s insane to say that as a professional who researches this, but we can let these devices overrule our entire lives if we allow it.”

Coyne recommends placing the phone on silent and away from you, and providing an explanation to your partner if you really must check on something important.

Finally, don’t get defensive if your partner expresses disdain at your constant texting or gaming – “it’s somebody’s way of saying they’d like to connect with you in-person.”

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