It’s no huge surprise that texting is the dominant way of communicating among adults under 50. Everyone texts, it’s easy, it’s quick, it’s convenient. But how does texting play into intimate relationships? Well according to a study, heavy texting leads to both men and women feeling dissatisfied within their relationship. To us, this makes total sense. Texting leads to miscommunication, over thinking, and a conversation that never ends. We’ve come to the general conclusion that texting just makes everything worse rather than better, and we’re going to prove to you why that is.
1. Text conversations never end.
Texting differs from a face to face and phone conversation because there is no clear start and end. Think about it, you never really say “Bye” over text. Also, some individuals feel like they have to be constantly texting their significant other throughout the day, or something is wrong. It’s not healthy to be in constant communication with your partner all day long. You both need some time not to be thinking about the other, so let the texting end sometimes. Tell your significant other that you’ll call them later, or something like that so the conversation can end. If for whatever reason your partner can’t adjust to texting less, this is a bad sign. “If he/she can’t adhere to the rules, then you should see that as a red flag,” says Katehakis. Simpson agrees, “If you set your boundaries, and they are not being respected, that’s a warning sign.”
2. You get mad when they don’t text back fast enough.
The fact that text conversations never end inevitably leads to tensions flaring and fights being picked when someone takes too long to reply to a text. I’m sure we’re all guilty of catching some attitude over our partner not texting back in the time frame we allotted as “not fast enough.” But honestly, who created this idea that there is a certain time that passes where it’s been too long without a response? It’s silly, we made it up, we created this problem. Picking a fight over your partner taking “too long” to respond to your text is unnecessary and a waste of energy. No rational person likes arguing in their relationship and arguing about something as silly as texting back is arguably immature. Regardless of how silly it is, it happens, and it happens a lot. When they don’t respond, for whatever reason we jump to irrational conclusions, like they’re cheating or they’re mad at you. How about taking a step back and giving them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the reason they’re not texting you back is for a totally normal reason. Maybe their phone died, or they’re driving or are in class. And on the real, if your first assumption when you don’t get a text back is that they’re texting, you have some deeper trust issues within your relationship you need to work out.
3. Miscommunication over text is inevitable and can lead to unintended problems.
Texting is a whole new world filled with miscommunications and misunderstandings that we need to learn to navigate. Some people are more sensitive than others, especially in relationships. And not being sexist, but women are more apt to sensitivity than men. Because of this, women are more likely to get more upset over content in a text that was simply miscommunicated. “It’s very common for a woman to text three to five sentences to a man describing how her day is going and asking him about his,” she says. “When he doesn’t reply fast enough or just writes, ‘good,’ she worries that she’s not a priority.” When someone is “short” over text, the person receiving the text might think that means they’re mad, or uninterested. The reality probably is that they’re tired, or driving, or preoccupied. We can’t exactly blame either side, because hell, miscommunication happens easily in person so imagine how frequent it can occur over text.
4. Men and women value texting differently.
As with most things in life, texting differs for men and women. “Various communication scholars, including Ronald D. Smith, a communications professor at Buffalo State (SUNY), say that men communicate to convey information and women communicate to create intimacy.” Women are naturally emotionally oriented people, and men are naturally task oriented. In other words, women like to talk to establish connections, talk about feelings, discuss thoughts and emotions. Men like to talk to figure out plans, solve a problem, complete a task. Obviously, these natural differences clash in conversations, especially texting. A woman might want to text her boyfriend about how much she loves and cares about him while a man might just want to text his girlfriend to figure out which movie they see that night. Women want to be chatty, and have lengthy conversations, including over text. This could seem mundane and unnecessary to men. In result, women’s feelings get hurt, and she’ll feel like he doesn’t want to bond or doesn’t feel the same way about her when in reality it’s just communication styles. Becoming aware of these natural and inherent differences is the first step to not allowing them to cause rifts in your relationships.
5. Texting creates a false sense of power.
Have you ever felt in more control of your relationship because you haven’t texted back yet? Or on the other hand, have you felt like you had no power while waiting on your partner to text you back? This is due to the false sense of power that texting creates. “There’s always a palpable power struggle during a texting conversation. Every time you send a text message, there is always a possibility that you will be ignored.” So unfortunately since we live in a world where vulnerability means weakness, whenever you send a text you’re losing a bit of power. The only way to get over this problem is to do exactly that- get over it. The less you care, the less the power will matter.