Texting: Modern Day Love Letters?

texting-relationshipsIn our modern culture, communicating with people in the same room or on the other side of the world has become increasingly more simple and convenient.  While it is easy to do so, these forms of communication such as phone calls, texts, and emails have not only changed the manner in which we communicate but how we communicate in general. Letters, such as those of Abelard and Heloise, have become a thing of the past and have become romanticized in a certain sense.   Quick or instant communication in which both contributors are participating at the same time has become the preferred manner of communication, other than face to face.

“We are texting.”

Texting has essentially become a phase in the development of a relationship.  In a study conducted by Brigham Young University, it was found that texting, and technology in general, play a much larger role in the formation of relationships than in the past.  It provides a way for couples to casually get to know each other.  As opposed to face-to-face conversation, it allows for them to carefully craft their texts and responses with the option of adding smileys and deleting and retrying before ultimately sending the text.  In this sense, it creates a somewhat false sense of communication that does not necessarily always portray a clear understanding or a great deal of information about the person.  Furthermore, it can create confusion and sometime miscommunication as you learn to “read” what the other person is writing to you without the use of face-to-face cues.  

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
“Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating”

Texting in Relationships.

One might think that texting might allow for more communication between couples, however, studies have shown that it is quality not quantity when it comes to communication in relationships in regards to texting. Most studies have found that partners texting is not a bad thing in itself and that there are even some benefits.  Texting shows that you are thinking of your partner throughout the day and allows for the sharing of information and affection.

However, texting becomes detrimental to a relationship when it is used as a tool in situations in which real and genuine communication is needed such as in arguments and other “relationship shaping conversations.”  These conversations, when done via texting, are usually unable to effectively communicate the emotions and viewpoints of the people involved.  In face-to-face conversation, it is generally much easier read the other person based on the tone of their voice and facial cues as well as to encourage important dialogue and communication between both parties.  Many people felt that texting and technology “dehumanize” relationships due to the lack of physical presence and communication.

"Mobile Lovers" by street artist Banksy

“Mobile Lovers” by street artist Banksy

Not only does the texting between partners have an effect on the relationship, but texting with other friends and family members can greatly impact the relationship.  When one or both members of a relationship are constantly texting other people their are a number of repurcussions on the relationship.  One member might feel as though they are being ignored by their significant other who is obviously more interested in another conversation.  If two members cannot devote time to spend together the progression of the relationship with be slower and less intimate.  This is not stricktly in regards to romantic relationships but all relationships.  Texting allows us to be constantly communicating with many but often prevents true communication with the people that we are with.

Some would disagree with this on some accounts, however.  For those in long distant relationships or other situations in which face-to-face communication is not often possible, texting, skyping, and other forms of technology that allows for direct communication is something that allows their relationship to be sustained.  It should be noted, however, that this is obviously not the ideal and recognizes that this form of communication is still second to face-to-face communication and quality time.

Overall, texting is not necessarily a problem in relationships as long as it is understood that texting is not the primary or ideal way of communication in the relationship.  It is also important that couples learn to discern which conversations are appropriate for texting and which one is it necessary for them to discuss in a more direct manner.

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