Texting can produce substantial stress for couples unless the ground rules are made explicit
Are you like Sarah who said..."I have a love-hate relationship with my phone (the world of texting and INSTANT messaging)? On the one hand I like being able to contact any one of my friends pretty much at the drop of a hat, if I need to, because I know that if it's urgent they'll get back to me, almost immediately. On the other hand I hate how technology (not just cell phones; bbming, ichat and the like, but also facebook and other social network sites) has drastically affected the relationships we have with others."
I'm old school and traditional in the sense that I like the more personal face-to-face communication usually had among friends, partners, family members etc. Because you get so much more out of that, face-to-face communication then you would ever get out of an online conversation.
Technology, as great as it is for speeding up our lives and making information accessible, it has completely damaged and diminished the interaction between people, and even the ability to communicate properly with people in person.
No body wants to be asked out on MSN, that's just plain sense. A phone call would be more suitable (at least let the person hear your voice), better yet in person. But we live in a society that builds up the advantages of having technology that it almost seems okay to do that (ask someone out over the internet). But I see it as a barrier. Talking constantly through text messages or online as opposed to on the phone or person-to-person detracts from the ability one has to really get close to someone. Meaningful conversations are better in person because you get to see the person, pick up on their body language and tone of voice, stance, etc. And no emotion or font style can make up for that. You learn so much more about a person from being physically there, with them, instead of online, with them.
When I send a text there is an expectation in receiving one back. Especially when it's a conversational text (back and forth, back and forth) or one that is left with a question (forcing the other to get back to me). And when I don't I get one back, I tend to get all worked up for nothing because as it turned out the person on the other end was busy, they just didn't have the decency to tell me. It's common courtesy to let me know that you're busy so I'll leave you alone and stop texting. This type of thing would never happen, usually never happen, in a face-to-face conversation, because people tend to chat for a bit and then politely part ways.
I feel that depending on texting as a means of contact can be detrimental to the health of the relationship. If you communicate mostly through texting or other non-personal ways of contact, you lose the ability to relate to someone in person and it becomes much more difficult to develop intimacy. It is especially essential that important conversations occur in person, not over texting. I refuse to discuss important conversations with my boyfriend over the phone if we are able to see each other. In the past, I have relied on texting or internet chatting as a means of communicating in relationships not realizing that it was affecting my ability to relate to the person when I was actually with him.
If you are not able to see the person for a significant amount of time, then texting/calling/emailing is understandable. But it should not be something you should rely on. I also feel that keeping in constant contact with someone through texting is not healthy as well. If you're constantly talking to each other, what is there to talk about and catch up on when you see each other? In a relationship, it's essential to lead your own life outside of the relationship, your world should not constantly revolve around the other person or you will lose sight of who you are as a person.
Sean added...."It doesn't just effect dating, I've had the odd friend give me a hard time for 'ignoring' texts. I don't like the 24/7 contact and expectation to respond ASAP. It burns me out. I like my space in relationships. The expectation to be constantly together can be smothering enough without constant texting. However, I'm not the only person that feels this way. I'll find one of those guys :-)" If a girl is using a cellphone like an e-leash early in the relationship, I can treat that like a red flag. Better to know now than later. I've seen people that cannot go out to lunch with pals without her keeping constant dibs on the cell phone. Its not how I'd want to live.
Previous generations were less accessible when they started to date. Many couldn't leave a message or voicemail. Now most of us have, by courtesy of the cell phone, the capacity to be in constant contact with our new partner. Years before, daters had to use a landline, and hope whomever you called was at home. That was the basic way to make contact. Whereas before you could be apart for a few days and then catch up, texting provides a more convenient mechanism to conceivably stay in constant contact. This brings up the universal question..."how often should I text or call?" There are those who want frequent messaging. It reassures them and provides validation for themselves that their partner is thinking about them.
But, there are those who see this practice as a deal breaker. Case Scenario: Allison worked in a hospital. She had a great thing going with Kyle and everything seemed to be going fantastically except for one thing, he constantly texted her at work. Often she was busy. He would write he missed her and was thinking about her. She found this to be suffocating and she warned him to stop. He didn't heed the warning. She became more turned off and thought he was manipulative, insecure and didn't listen. She felt discounted. She needed him to find other support systems but he seemed to want to escalate with her. He couldn't see how he was sabotaging the relationship.
Some build a relationship on blogs, facebook, or by texting. It provides a less personal mechanism to gradually get to know someone and many find this beneficial and comforting. Texting represents a low rung on an intimacy hierarchy . Talking on the phone, and meeting are more personal and provide a higher level of interaction but can produce more social anxiety.
What can happen if one of the partners wants the other to text more and becomes demanding? Case Scenario: Ryan liked going out with Sarah. The relationship looked promising. They began to exchange texts and this was the main way they communicated. After several months, their involvement grew. He got to the point that he didn't like to text as much. Sarah did not take this well. She became possessive and began to challenge him "Why don't you want to text me? I want to hear from you at anytime. Don't you want to hear from me? Are you hiding something? You must not care." Their relationship was threatened because she was playing by her own rules. The rule that said "if you care, you will text." He was flunking a test and didn't know an exam was being given.
Obviously texting provides a new area of compatibility. Couples need to discuss their expectations with texting. When you send a text, do you expect one back right away? Can you calmly, patiently wait for a reply? Do you feel rejected when you aren't responded to? How can the communication stream stop? Is there more anger in your relationship because you feel your partner is rude to you or impatient with you? Texting has changed the communication landscape.
Many play by their own rules like Sarah. They can misread disappointment as rejection and run away from the intimacy they seem to seek. Relationships can end today, simply because a cell phone is lost, a battery is dead, or the device is misplaced. Not getting a text, can be overreacted to and effect the relationship unless the partners have some ground rules and understanding.
Sure it can be great sometimes. It's wonderful just to let your partner know you're thinking of him or her.Some have a four-character code text that no one else could understand, but which says, "I'm thinking of you right now!" to each other. Three or four of these a day can be absolutely delightful.
So is texting a curse or blessing for you? Please comment below to add to the discussion and check out the fan page for Relationship Bootcamp on facebook. Liking it would be great. https://www.facebook.com/#!/relationshipbootcamp