In the past, romantic relationships would begin in the real world: with a request to dance, a letter of invitation, or a chance meeting at a masquerade – at least that’s what romantic comedies would have us believe.
But one thing is certain: they didn’t begin with a text.
Today, relationships are often launched in the digital world with minimal effort. Texts are sent, emotions rise, and then more texts are sent. And more, and more, and more. In fact, the texts will never end.
With every new relationship, you are launched into a continuous digital conversation. There are lulls, to be sure, but connection is always just a click away – and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
While there are many ways texting can have a positive influence on relationships, there are also numerous negative consequences. Texting could be hurting your relationships more than you realize.
• Constant connection means that you never have a chance to miss him or her. You never have to wonder how his day went, or how she did on her presentation. Mystery is a crucial element of romance – and it goes out the window when you are getting constant updates all day long. Sure, every update provides immediate gratification. But it’s so much sweeter – and sexier – with a little anticipation. So let it build. Let her long for you. Let him wonder how you spent your day. When you finally do get together, you can share your news in the real world – and you’ll enjoy it so much more than you would have by text.
• Every unanswered text is a power move – or at least it feels that way, especially to the person who is waiting to hear back. Human beings hate being ignored; in fact, studies show that we would rather be bullied than ignored. Waiting hours to receive a reply can make you feel like you are being ignored. Because you are. But this feeling of dismissiveness is built into the very nature of texting, because no one can text all day. There is always someone who has to stop replying at a certain point – which means that there is always someone who is feeling a little ignored. Have you ever thought, I’ll wait one hour before I text him/her back? Of course you have. Because every text is a power move, and you wanted to claim a little power over the situation.
• Texting is rife with misread messages. It’s easy to misinterpret someone’s true intentions without any vocal cues or body language. Short phrases like “no thank you” or “ok” become landmines, particularly when a couple uses text to resolve issues. A simple period at the end of a message can make you sound dismissive. When it comes to making big decisions, apologizing, and ironing out differences, couples who do so via text report lower relationship satisfaction.
Want to be happier in your relationship? Stop relying on text messages as your primary connection. Put down the phone every once in a while, make a little effort, and connect IRL.