Modern society is all about instant gratification. When e-mail became available, it practically obliterated handwritten letters. Unfortunately, texting is acting like slow poison on telephone conversations. As for face-to-face dialogue, forget about it, everybody appears busy managing their Facebook, texting or tweeting.
The problem with texting as we see it is, traditionally, dating has been characterized by a succession of face-to-face interactions. The couple met each other’s family and friends in person. They assessed their couple compatibility factors one-on-one. Shall we agree that the ‘old fashioned way’ to form a strong foundation for romantic relationships was up-close and personal?
Nowadays, when two people connect in person, the next step is taking a look at each other’s Facebook and befriending one another. They exchange phone numbers and text messages begin flying back and forth.
However, this short form of communication is taking a toll on romantic relationships. Relationship experts are seeing an explosion in text messages, where couples are attempting to form and/or maintain romantic relationships
We think consequences of relying on technology as the primary form of communication, which are surfacing in romantic relationships merit our attention.
How about it? Is texting wrecking your relationship, your marriage?
Why Couples Exchange Text Messages
Understanding the "why" of text messaging between partners is necessary before making an informed decision about whether it is harmful, healthy or both in relationship development.
Texting is terrific for saying, "I'm thinking about you." It's a great mode for exchanging cute one-liners. Random compliments can make your sweetheart's day.
But, when texting turns from sweet to sour, it can be harmful to your relationship.
Because texting is devoid of emotions, body language, tone and eye contact, messages frequently cause misinterpretation. For example, experts are finding "whatever" is regularly misunderstood, since the word has several meanings.
Suppose you invited your guy to dinner and he responds "Whatever". You will probably be terribly annoyed. You may interpret it as he doesn't care one way or another.
Then there's the dreaded ellipsis. The dot, dot, dot of unfinished business. What if he responded to your dinner invitation sort of like this: "Whatever. Gotta run…"?
You can spend days worrying about what your man didn't say. Where is he running? Why is he running? Does he have another woman? What did he mean by 'whatever'?
And, your fingers get busy with it…
'Whatever' derogatory meaning you assign to the message, your response will likely start a text fight. You think his answer will clear up the confusion, but it probably won't.
Statistics have it that 42 percent of arguments via texting negatively impact the relationship, up to and including a possible break-up. Further, survey participants believed if they had argued face-to-face, they could have resolved the issue.
Quality of Relationships
Texting is impersonal. Yet, text messages leave lasting impressions. Re-reading a painful message you received months ago can cause you to replay the negative scene.
For example, the aloof nature of texting tends to make apologies seem insincere. The sender can come off like a coward by not addressing the matter in person.
When hammering-out life-changing issues, such as living together, changing jobs, having a baby, it's not possible to express your feelings within the confines of text messaging.
To preserve the quality of your relationship, consider setting healthy 'texting boundaries', such as:
Life-changing issues will be addressed in person.
Apologies will be made in person.
For each cranky text, the sender must follow-up with a kind, loving message.
Consider a no-texting day during the week. Hint: try picking up the phone.
How Drunk Texting can Wreck Relationships
There's nothing like liquid courage to help a female lose the best guy she never had. So, it's the morning after the night before when she sent that text message to a guy she's been crushin' on a long time.
She checks the phone - OMG did I do that?
There in all its blaze of jibber-jabber glory are the 13 text messages she sent when he didn't answer her first pouring-the-heart-out message. The last one was a beaut – F**k u & house u road on in!!!!!
What about those – he pissed you off and you're going to let him have it – drunken texts?
Chances are, he isn't guilty of anything, except being himself. But, the evil, drunk-on-her-ass twin inside you recalls an incident that happened in the past, or it might have happened.
You are a-n-g-r-y.
The next morning you read the message through sober eyes, realizing your guy did nothing to deserve that drunken rant. You quickly send a long, drawn-out apology.
Since you can't lose something you never had, just chalk the first type text up to, lesson learned.
However, sending the "I'm drunk and angry" type text could cause you to lose something real – your good guy.
These are common, real-life examples of texting that go straight to the heart of our message. When you have something important to say - say it in person.
What Studies Say
A 2013 study reported in The Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy found that excessive "faceless" communication, such as texting can literally cause problems in a romantic relationship.
In the largest study of its kind, Brigham Young University (BYU) researchers furnished 276 people with survey questions. Breakdown of participants: 38% in serious relationship; 48% engaged and 16% married. Of these, 82% confirmed they frequently text back and forth every day.
The aim was to see how they connected with their romantic partners, using modern technology. Following an analysis of the finished questionnaires, researchers isolated: 1) how many texts were exchanged 2) what the messages said. Using this information, they were able to examine the quality of participant's relationships.
The researchers established that the 82% of respondents, who reported exchanging numerous texts daily, were engaged in a form of "relationship maintenance". The quality of relationships diminished congruent with the number of argumentative text messages.
They noted that when females sent apologetic texts or attempted to settle a quarrel, the quality of their relationships deteriorated. According to Jonathan Sandberg, BYU researcher, there "is a narrowness with texting". You can't see your partners "reaction to disappointment".
After discovering men also decrease the quality of romantic relationships with too many text messages, researchers questioned whether substituting texting for face-to-face discussion caused men to "disconnect".
All in all, the study evidenced that levels of emotional connections are greatly compromised when key issues are handled via texting.
Breakup Text Messages
A study led by Ilana Gershon, Indiana University professor, deduced that breakups by e-mail or texting are "bad breakups". Gershon interviewed 18 males and 54 females about the use of modern technology in breakups.
Oddly enough, she found participants were bothered more about "how" the breakup occurred, rather than "why". The vehicle used to officially breakup was vital in discerning between a "bad" or "good" breakup.
Gershon's report, Every Time We Type Goodbye: Heartbreak American-Style, appeared in Anthropology Now, April 2013.
In a study carried out by USmoneysavingbrandvouchercloud.net, it was determined that 'technology coupons' were among the top searches on their site for the 12 previous, consecutive months.
As a spokesperson reported, "Digital has well and truly taken over, even when it comes to our relationships…"
The survey encompassed 2,712 participants who had experienced a breakup in the previous 12 months. They were all tasked to relate how their relationship ended and the mode used to finalize their breakup.
Over one-half – 56% - broke up digitally, via text message or e-mail. Of those responding to the survey, 62% claimed responsibility for ending their most recent relationship.
Of those who broke up via text message, 55% felt it was 'less awkward' to end the relationship via text messaging. However, 73% agreed it would be annoying if their partner had dumped them digitally.
Our Conclusion: We aren't suggesting that you surgically remove your texting capability. Actually, exchanging affectionate text messages during the day can strengthen your love connection.
We've shown you it's not how many messages you exchange; it's the content of those messages. When you and your partner are solving major issues, setting relationship boundaries or apologizing, in-person dialogue is the still the most effective mode of communication.
Looking at the big picture, texting your romantic partner is not all bad. But, breaking down relationships into components, it's absolutely not all good. If you and your partner frequently communicate by text, ensure they are helping, not harming your romantic relationship.
One final thought, instant gratification doesn't get any better than a warm hug from your special person!
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