As you know when you text, most of the time you get immediate feedback on any subject with the people you know. It’s great, quick, easy, no effort. So what’s the problem?
One of the problems is that this form of communication leaves out certain vital clues that help to understand the other person. Where’s the voice inflection? Where’s the body language and facial expression? Oh, you have those when you text? : ) or 😉 or : D or XOXO, etc…. They can be helpful sometimes.
Have you ever fought with your spouse or significant other by texting? Have you ever tried to makeup with your partner via text? Then you know that the text emotions and emoticons don’t cut it. XOXO all you want when your partner is pissed off at you.
I hear regularly about the decline in relationship satisfaction due in part to a busy lifestyle of text communication. Since men and women differ in communication styles to begin with, it can be particularly frustrating to try to understand text only communication. Clients have told me about fighting via text over the course of hours during the day without emotional resolution.
When a man and a woman communicate they rely very much on non-verbal cues to understand each other. For example: In order to be trusted in the communication, the woman needs her man to be fully present. This means listening intently and looking directly at her. Frequently the woman will test the man to see if he is capable of being fully present to her needs. If not, trust erodes, and frustration and resentment build.
The man is usually thinking only a few things when his woman communicates. For example: What’s the point? and Can I fix it? This fix it thing usually gets the man into hot water because women don’t want to be fixed, nor told what to do. They want to be heard, and texting is not allowing that to happen fully enough to the satisfaction of many of the women that visit my coaching practice. By the way, that matters because women initiate more than 70% of all divorce.
If you think that you are building trust and respect, heartfelt understanding, and a deep intimate connection by texting with your partner you are kidding yourself. One of the only things you’re doing is making a convenient form of communication a bad habit, and an excuse to not have the deep meaningful conversations that need to happen.
It takes Zero courage to argue with your partner by text. It takes Zero guts to spill your guts to your significant other via text. Maybe it fills a need for instant gratification in today’s busy world but it is not helping create the level of communication that sustains a healthy relationship. Ultimately, the text conversations often become a model for normal superficial partner communication.
Men and women get so caught up in the instant text conversations but they ignore other obvious facts that place the relationship at risk.
I know about the cheating partner who is texting back and forth to their spouse while they are in bed with another person. I’ve heard all about the relationship that seemed so great by text until the couple was forced to spend more time together. I am not surprised about couples who text as the primary form of communication at home and are unhappy. It is a symptom of a relationship going bad, or a cause?
Intimate relationships are challenging enough. Restore the integrity of masculine and feminine communication by paying more attention to each other in person. Take the initiative to communicate to your partner in person about the things that are important to you, and save the texts for the little things. Your relationship will be glad you did.