Content and Frequency of Texting Affects Relationship Quality

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Couples have always experienced disagreement and conflict, but only in the past few years have they been able to argue via text message.

It seems many couples use text messages to address their differences, but according to researchers, this may cause people in committed relationships to disconnect.

When Texting Is Trouble

It is not texting that causes relationship disconnect, but the frequency and content of partners’ texts that influence the quality of the relationship. Men and women who regularly send loving or supportive texts to their partners report a generally high relationship satisfaction.

However, many couples use texting as a tool for relationship maintenance such as working out differences, making decisions, or to apologize. Talking through these issues face to face is good for a relationship, but using texts instead can make things worse. Women especially report lower relationship satisfaction when texting is used to repair relationship rifts or discuss important issues.

"Reaction to disappointment and reality testing occurs more quickly face to face," said researcher Jonathan Sandberg. "There is a narrowness with texting and you don’t get to see the breadth of a person that you need to see."

It was discovered that with men, those who sent the most text messages had the lowest quality of relationship. Researchers wondered if men may disconnect from a relationship by texting frequently since it is a safer means of communication than talking in person.

Making This Information Practical

Texting, at least for the present, is part of our way of life. In 2012, about 171.3 billion texts were sent every month in the U.S. alone. However, if you are in a committed relationship, you and your partner may want to discuss some texting boundaries or guidelines to safeguard the quality of your relationship. For instance:

  1. You might consider agreeing that apologies will be made face to face.
  2. You could agree to disagree about issues only when you are face to face. Until you are together, text reassurances to each other that each is willing to work the problem out.
  3. You might set a guideline that at least one out of three texts be either loving, complimentary, comforting or supportive.

It is unimportant what texting guidelines you use as long as they work for you and your partner. Texting is convenient and fun, but you do not want it to become a source of disconnect.

The Study

To examine texting and relationships, researchers at Brigham Young University did their study with 276 people in committed relationships, aged 18 to 25. Of the study subjects, 16 percent were married, 38 percent reported being in a serious relationship and 46 percent were engaged. All of the participants filled out a questionnaire that detailed how each connected with their partner using technology.

Research results showed that 82 percent of the participants exchanged texts with their significant other several times each day.

Source: Medical News Today

 
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