Virtually all adults have cell phones. And in almost any setting, it seems that most people are on their phone – playing games, updating a status, or even sending messages to the person sitting next to them. A recent study found some interesting things about how our cell phones impact our relationships today. So before you push the send button, you might want to consider a few things.
There are 2 main things that determine whether texting hurts or helps you and your partner to feel more stable and satisfied in your relationship:
What you are texting about
How often you text
What you’re texting about.
Expressing affection benefits the relationship for both men and women. So if you’re thinking of your partner throughout the day, have a compliment you want to pay them, or want to let them know how much you care about them, send them a text. You’ll both feel more secure and satisfied in your relationship.
Hurting each other. Using texting to hurt your partner can have devastating effects on your relationship–especially when men use texting to hurt their female partners. Part of the danger in using texting to hurt someone is that you can’t see how it is actually impacting them – you may think you’re being funny or throwing a well-deserved jab at your partner, but they might be genuinely sad or hurt by what you said. If you can’t see their reaction, you miss an opportunity to stop, apologize, and repair the damage you’ve done. If you have something that’s bothering you, bring it up to your partner face-to-face, so you can respond to the feelings and reactions of one another in the moment.
Discussing difficult topics. Especially true for women–using texting to discuss serious issues, bringing up potentially conflictual topics, and apologizing over text all resulted in lower relationship satisfaction in this study. Just like men sending hurtful texts, ladies especially need to resist the urge to approach difficult subjects in what might seem like an “easier” setting and work on talking to their partner in person about it.
How often you text.
For the men– this study found that when you send a lot of texts, you and your partners are less happy in the relationship. This might be because of what leads men to send more texts. Maybe they text more often when they feel like they can’t handle confrontation face-to-face or are trying to resolve a difficult issue that overwhelms them when they try to talk about it in person. So keep track of what you are texting your partner about – if you’re expressing affection, keep it up; if you’re trying to talk about things that are too overwhelming to talk about in person, try to explain to your partner why it is hard so she can know how to help and support you in difficult face-to-face interactions.
For the ladies – the more texting you do, the more secure and happy you feel in the relationship. But just like with the guys, this might be more about what the texting is used for. Women have been found to desire more companionship-building behaviors than men, so maybe texting is a way to reach out to your male partner and feel connected to him.
Something else to consider.
If partners felt secure in their relationship and loved, the texts used to hurt did less damage to the relationship than those with less attachment behaviors. Also, expressing affection via text helped the relationship even more when accompanied by loving behaviors from their partner.
For more details, click here to read the full article by Lori Schade and her colleagues.