The strain of being parted from their mobile phone for a day is worse for many people than not being able to speak to their partner for 24 hours, research suggests.

More than half (58%) of people could not go for longer than a day without checking their phone, while only 28% could not go for more than 24 hours without speaking to their partner, according to a survey for Nationwide Building Society’s FlexPlus Current Account.

When they wake up in the morning, 53% of people said they check their mobile phone before talking to their partner.

Given the choice, 42% of people would rather forget their anniversary than lose their phone when asked to choose between the two, the research among 2,000 people from across the UK who are in a relationship and own a smartphone found.

Two thirds (66%) of people admit they would feel lost, unhappy, stressed or anxious without their handset.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, the research found that people spend around three and-a-half hours a day chatting to their partner on average – but only one in four (24%) said they are completely paying attention. The rest undertake other tasks such as browsing the internet, texting and checking social media at the same time.

Many people said they carry their phone with them around the house, to their bed and to the bath – with some also checking their devices while in the shower or on the toilet.

But three-quarters (75%) of people surveyed said they do not have mobile phone insurance, while a further one in 20 (5%) were unsure whether their phone is covered by insurance or not.

Dan King, Nationwide’s head of FlexPlus Current Account, said: “It would seem many people prioritise using their mobile phone over spending time with their partner and would struggle to cope without their phone for more than a day.

“This shows just how ingrained phones have become in our culture, as we often retain our memories, information and contacts on just one device.”

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