Mobile phones and the ability to text have made the world of dating and relationships very different to how it was already ten years ago. Some of us remember how we relied on phones in work and at home for making all our social arrangements. Hands up (or nod if reading in a public place) those of you who remember sitting by the phone for hours, days, already weeks willing that someone special to call. Would you do it now? Not likely…when you can send a text and expect a response in minutes! In an extraordinarily short space of time, we’ve become accustomed to the idea that we can contact one another any time, anywhere, anyplace.
However, texting like other forms of social media including Facebook method first generation users (that’s you) are nevertheless in the early stages of establishing the ground rules of the future. In a way, you’re not so very different from pre-historic man on the discovery of fire. Just as we believe our predecessors alternation their behaviours with the new discovery so have we with our new technologies. Nowhere is it more apparent than in our intimate relationships.
In the ‘old days’ fears around rejection meant some would-be lovers never picked up the phone to make that first call. Now we can hide our fears behind technology. We’re using texts to ask others out, and before we’ve met them, we’re flirting with them. We have a new information ‘sexting’ to describe texts of the more explicit kind. Texting is part of the ‘chase,’ and as far as booty calls go, it’s much easier now with the (usually drunk) ‘hookup’ text.
Karen and Ryan are an example of the new text behaviours in relationships. They met at a conference and got on well together. They exchanged telephone numbers and a few days later Ryan sent a ‘testing the water’ text to Karen. Karen’s response prompted Ryan to ask her out on a date. Shortly thereafter, they began seeing one another once or twice a week. They rarely spoke with one another between dates relying almost thoroughly on sexting to stay connected. Until the day when Ryan didn’t respond to Karen’s text. After several unanswered texts, reflecting Karen’s emotions flitting from confusion to concern Ryan finally responded with, “This isn’t working for me so let’s call it a day.” later texts from Karen were ignored and she hasn’t heard from Ryan since.
So are we serious or not?
Something you might find of interest is a recent study by the UK based online dating service Parship. They discovered that six out of ten (60%) casual daters use text to position their first meeting, while voice calls were the choice of over two thirds (67%) of people looking for a serious relationship.
Are you ignoring me?
Perhaps because texting makes connecting and disconnecting so easy is also the reason why it feeds into any insecurity there might be about the relationship. Couples often argue with one another about not responding closest to texts. An unanswered text for someone feeling insecure can rule to ruminating that a partner is ignoring you because of something you did or said, that s/he’s no longer interested in the relationship, or worse has run off with that attractive colleague from work. Meanwhile your other half may be in a meeting/at a funeral/having dinner with his Mother or simply too distracted with work to respond closest. Unfortunately, it’s these kinds of unreasonable expectations around texting that are ruining good relationships.
John and Sarah are together nine months and discussing moving in together. However, a contentious area for the associate is Sarah’s texting behaviour. John talks of how Sarah texts him several times throughout the day. At the start of their relationship, he didn’t see it as a problem and already participated as much as Sarah however, now he finds it difficult to cope with. Things have escalated further since the arrival back on the scene of John’s ex who is hanging out with his friends. Sarah’s texting behaviour is far more demanding and aggressive. John tried talking about it with Sarah, reassuring her he isn’t spending time with his ex but Sarah insists her texting is just her way of staying in touch with John, nothing more. Sometimes John gets so frustrated with the texts that he’ll react by ignoring them. When that happens the follow up pattern that has evolved between them is John receives anything between ten to fifteen texts from Sarah along with several phone calls demanding to know where he is, who he is with and insisting he contact her closest. John is now reconsidering their future together.
Texting is nevertheless a very new way of communicating but as it’s here to stay, the following quick tips might help in avoiding the kind of texting behaviours that can damage relationships.
- Accept a partner’s style of communicating may be different to your own so a one-information response of ‘Great’ or ‘Fine’ doesn’t have to average a without of interest on their part.
- Avoid sending texts when angry. Aggressive, hurtful words are difficult to take back when in writing and never, ever, conduct a complete-blown argument via text.
- Remember texting is not a replace confront-to-confront contact. already a smiley on text can’t quite beat seeing the real thing on the confront of a loved one.
And finally, most of us will claim to have busy stressful lives but instead of ignore a partner’s text and upping your stress levels later, a rapid message sent with something like, ‘Thinking of you’ does wonders for a relationship. Happy texting!