Can You Text Your Way into a Successful Relationship?

When you rely on texting too much, you could be sabotaging a budding relationship.

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For Millenials, texting + relationships can be a mixed bag. Millenials (comprised of 18-34-year-olds) have grown up in the age of the Internet, with cell phones figuring prominently in their lives from an early age. If you are a Millenial, deciding how electronic communication should factor into dating is a no-brainer: it’s convenient, it’s immediate, and it adds distance and makes it easier to stay in control of your responses—all reasons to use electronic communication almost exclusively.

However, the rise of texting has made dating decidedly trickier than for those who dated in years past, when a face-to-face meet-up, the rotary telephone, or a hand-written letter were pretty much all anyone had access to.

And here’s more bad news: while texting is incredibly convenient, it isn’t very good at replacing the kind of information you get in a face-to-face meet-up—or even in a phone call. In fact, getting to know each other through texts alone can be very bad for a budding relationship.

Too Much Texting = Weird Relationships

Here’s the real dilemma of creating a relationship exclusively around texting: it can become the crutch that prevents two people from meeting and hashing out their similarities, quirks, and differences—all the things that create and build solid relationships.

A texting-only relationship is too easy to develop—especially by people who have some social anxiety or who fear rejection—because it happens fairly organically. Person A begins texting to romantic interest Person B, who responds, and then a conversation begins. If Persons A and B continue to be interested in the conversation (or continue to feel obligated to respond), it can continue for hours or days. At this point, the constant texting creates a sort of pseudo-relationship. Either the texting partners must meet in person to see if there really is chemistry or things start to get really weird. If Person A realizes he actually doesn’t like Person B after all, does he need to break up with someone he’s only texted with? Is Person B somehow unfaithful if she starts texting a lot with someone else and gives less attention to Person A?

Other issues with relationships that are relying exclusively on texting:

  • A person can create a persona or mask that is not true to who they are in real life
  • A lack of verbal, facial, and body language cues creates a lot of confusion, and even serious miscommunications. Emoticons and emojis cannot adequately replace those cues
  • The emotional distance of texting allows people to be more hurtful or cruel than they might be in person. It also allows people to be more romantically bold than they would be in person. Either way, it’s a false mask
  • Texting partners can avoid having those difficult or uncomfortable talks in person that, in the end, strengthen a relationship
  • One or both of the texting partners can use texting to avoid meeting IRL

How to Use Texting in a Relationship

Texting has its place, and it is a very convenient method for short-term communication. Use it to say hello to a new romantic interest or to say thank-you for a fun date. Use it to plan a date. But do not use texting as a way to develop a relationship beyond a basic introduction. If you want to get to know someone better, dial their number and actually talk to them or arrange for a face-to-face date.

For those with established relationships, texting should never take the place of serious discussions. Don’t rely on a text to convey something you find difficult to say in person.

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