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Texting and Relationship Well-being In the end, is it healthy to text?Certain patterns suggest that relationship satisfaction and stability are linked to texting.
People who send (and receive) these texts tend to have greater attachment anxiety, meaning they may have a deep-seated fear of rejection and abandonment, as well as a low sense of self-worth (Weisskirch & Delevi, 2012).We know flirting can be tremendously awkward; why not text to make it a bit easier?Texting not only helps the nervous and socially-awkward, it can benefit the status-uncertain.People of all ages in newer relationships (less than one year old) also tend to text with greater frequency than people in more established relationships (Coyne et al., 2011).Does texting simply supplement regular face-to-face conversations, or is it strategic, with its own advantages and consequences?The more texts people receive, the more they feel obligated to text back, creating a cycle of mobile relationship maintenance (Hall & Baym, 2012).
This can be a healthy pattern if it creates a balanced sense of connection and dependence, but if instead individuals begin to feel an overdependence, such that the texting is preventing them from other activities—like attending to other relationships; meeting academic or career responsibilities, —the outcome is dissatisfaction (Hall & Baym, 2012). Without our non-verbal signals, messages can be misinterpreted or misconstrued, leading to uncertainty and anxiety.
Understanding why people text their partners is a first step to considering its role in healthy relationship development.
The Texting Advantage Texting removes some of the barriers that can make face-to-face conversations, or even phone calls, tricky to navigate.
() Further, because the communication is not face-to-face, it adds a psychological distance that allows for words to be said that might be hard to say in person.
Maybe this is why texting is often used by people in newer relationships to broach difficult topics, to intentionally hurt a partner, or to apologize (Coyne et al., 2011).
While technology makes it easier to avoid having difficult face-to-face conversations, those conversations are often having in person, despite the discomfort they can bring.