Textual Relations: Couples Who Text Too Much Aren’t As In Love As They Want You To Think

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Strong relationships are built on communication, or so the experts say. So digital relationships fueled by a torrent of texts should be ironclad, right?

Maybe not. About 82% of young adults say they text their romantic partner multiple times a day, but all that connectivity, it seems, doesn’t always translate to greater relationship bliss.

A new study published in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy surveyed 276 men and women around age 22 in meaningful relationships (casual daters were excluded). Among the participants, 38% were in a serious relationship, 46% were engaged and 16% were married.

(MORE: How to Catch a Lying Texter)

All said they used texts to communicate with their loved ones, but it wasn’t the volume of messages but their content that affected the quality of relationships.  In general, those who sent loving messages also reported higher satisfaction with their relationship, so texting was an effective way to enhance romance.

When it came to the number of messages, however, men who texted more often in general reported lower relationship quality than those who didn’t ping their significant others as frequently. The researchers can only speculate about why, but suspect that as men disconnect from a relationship, or consider a break-up, they replace face-to-face interactions with less intimate communication in the form of increased texting.

Women who texted more often, on the other hand, reported higher quality connections with their mates than those who messaged more sparingly. Women tended to take to their smartphone keyboards to apologize, work out their differences and make decisions — in other words, when their relationship was in trouble. As their connection with their loved one deteriorated, women attempted to make up or resolve their differences via text, which the scientists believe is the online version of the need to “talk things out.”

The researchers say that such understanding about the role that texting plays in the way lovers communicate could lead to greater appreciation for when such missives help, and when they don’t. For now, texting seems to be best for the first blush of new romance, and better left alone when deeper conflicts arise.

 

5 comments
sicenglishartist
sicenglishartist

I solved the texting-lack-of-nuance problem with a sledgehammer....SMS Contexter for Android. New studies will have to be done when it catches on.

Electrichead
Electrichead

Don't blame the technology, blame the culture.  After all, people did used to write love letters.

hodges.gw
hodges.gw

Thre are abundant ways to "digitally" communicate. Email, chat, sms (text) and so on. All had the intention of quickening communication. Perhaps best left for matter of fact subjects. There is a fundamental flaw with these methods. That being subject to misinterpretation as the nuances of face to face communication is nearly lost. Our ability or inability to express ourselves clearly, and the possibility of it being misunderstood is almost directly proportional to our ability to write. Unfortunately, its far to easy to have it be misinterpreted, even then, increasing the odds of further discontent. I believe its worsened with Twitter. Not only do have a shorthand method, you only have 180 characters to make a point. All of the methods of "digital" talk are a furthernce to our "fears of intimacy." This is why I don't even have a Twitter account and rarely bring up or try to deal with potentially controversial matters using these methods. I believe they are copouts to sincere mature and respectful ways of relating. The author of this article has some serious growing up to do. What a wasteful study by ignoring the obvious.

DustinHickman
DustinHickman

There are a lot of variables in play here that probably can't be examined thoroughly by a study. There are some situations wherein the use of text messaging is just the primary means of communication. I will say, it is certainly much less personal to do, and certainly easier to do when there is a problem going on than face-to-face interaction might be.

At the same time, I think it best to avoid arguments over text, too. Arguing without being able to effectively read emotions breeds a lot of speculation that can foster a lot of paranoia and, overall, drag fights out much more than they would have been in person. 

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

"The researchers can only speculate about why, but suspect that as men disconnect from a relationship, or consider a break-up, they replace face-to-face interactions with less intimate communication in the form of increased texting."

There's no mystery here.  If you can't see what you're not going to get, why bother with the work of a face to face?  What I'm wondering is why they bother to text at all, let alone more often.  One last face to face and it's over.  No more text-thumb for them and no indignity of the digital dump.

I mean, after all, if you had the time to go out with her face to face, you should make the time to break up with her the same way.