Today when you start dating someone, a very large part of your relationship will no doubt play out in the digital realm – perhaps the largest part of all.
Texting is often the first step when an online relationship begins its voyage to the real world, and it often continues to be the first line of contact between lovers.
What else are you going to do? Phone calls are going the way of letter writing, and carrier pigeons before that. Even if you wind up moving in together or getting married, texting is likely to remain a crucial form of connection between you and your partner.
But be warned: texting is a double-edge sword. It may feel like direct communication, but it’s not. Your thoughts and words are mediated through the digital realm, then spat out in brief messages on the other side – stripped of the many verbal nuances that humans have relied on to communicate for thousands of years. The accepted science says that communication is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and 7% words – so at maximum, your text is just telling a fraction of the story.
Of course, there are some perks of texting while dating – as anyone who’s received a warm and fuzzy “thinking of you” message will attest to. It’s easier than ever to let someone know that you care.
Texting is not going away anytime soon. Learn to recognize the pitfalls of digital communication, so that you can recognize them when they appear:
Misread Messages: It’s very easy to insert a negative tone into a neutral message, especially if you’re already having a bad day. Satire, irony and other forms of humor often fall flat via text, leading to miscommunication and hurt feelings.
The Hanging Text: In a back-and-forth text volley, someone always has to be the person to stop responding. Otherwise, we’d all spend all day everyday texting like teenagers. If you’re the one who always gets left hanging, it can feel like you’re being ignored.
Texting Delusion: When you’ve been texting a new love interest ten times a day, it’s easy to start believing that they might be interested in a relationship. But texting takes so little effort, these burgeoning relationships often die out before they ever start.
Witty Texter, Wilting IRL: He’s so charming via text, but when you finally meet him for drinks two weeks later – there’s absolutely no chemistry. What a waste of time!
Naughty Expectations: Sexting and dirty photos are no longer perks of a committed relationship. Many men have come to expect these in the early stages of the dating game – and many women feel that they have to “put up” in order to compete. Set your boundaries early, and firmly. Remember that you don’t have to show it all to take a sexy picture – and save the truly risqué photos for men that you truly trust.