Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Is Texting Ruining Romance?

text messageIn a recent essay on Huffington Post, a YA author and mother to two teenage girls argued that texting is ruining romance. She was referring to romance among adolescents, using the teenagers in her life — her kids and their friends — as examples, but she could have easily been referring to grownups, too. When one of her daughter’s friends wondered why her boyfriend, whom she admitted to texting pretty much nonstop, wanted a break, the author said:

You’re TOO available. He doesn’t have time to miss you or wonder what you’re doing or wish he could be with you because he already IS with you. You live in his pocket for Pete’s sake. This constant texting has burned out the relationship. Killed the allure. Why would he want to come to your house and watch a movie or hang out after school when he feels like he’s ‘with you’ all the time?”

Texting is so prevalent, the author said, that people — specifically teenagers, but certainly adults, too — are often involved in multiple text conversations at any one time. “It’s like standing in the center of seven cocktail parties at once!”

The mystery is gone all around. We no longer wonder where our crush is because we KNOW — because someone just ran into him and texted us that he’s at Starbucks on 48th and 9th … and he’s with another woman. We no longer have anything to say to our significant others after class or at the end of the work day because we’ve already said everything in our ongoing text conversation throughout the day. People no longer miss each other and look forward to seeing each other because we’re always right there — in each other’s pockets and hands and purses. The mystery is gone.

The author advised the teenage girl whose boyfriend wanted a break to stop texting him for a few days. She did, and it worked. “He was at her locker the next day before sixth period.” I’d like to extend that same advice to a lot of the people who write in to me with similar relationship issues. Their boyfriends — or, sometimes girlfriends — are bored and becoming more and more unavailable. “He hardly ever texts me anymore!” so many of them say. Then stop texting him! Give him some breathing space. Let him wonder what you’re up to. Give yourselves something to actually discuss in person the next time you see each other. Save a little something for the imagination, you know?

95 comments… add one
  • avatar

    NavyWife October 17, 2013, 1:43 pm

    My husband came across this article last night and read parts of it aloud to me. I think the author is spot on, and Wendy’s follow-up is accurate, as well.

    I’m not an advocate of making a guy “chase” you in the literal sense of the word, but leaving a little something to the imagination and making someone put in some effort are not bad things, in my mind. Some of my single girlfriends are guilty of the non-stop communication and I cringe when they describe correspondence, etc. with guys they’re seeing. You can literally see the guy pulling away; as the author said, try pulling away right back and see if that doesn’t generate some interest on the guy’s part. I think the same can be said for the reverse, as well…back in my dating days, if a guy came on too strong through texts & emails, I found myself pulling back, like, “What’s wrong with this guy that he’s so needy?” My now-husband struck a good balance of staying in touch without overdoing it (also, he actually *called* to make plans–versus texting. That was huge for me.)

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary October 17, 2013, 1:53 pm

      I think when 2 people meet who are compatible, the communication levels match. Like you may have seen some of those guys as too needy, but maybe they eventually ended up with the right girl who loved that amount of communication?

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      • Miel

        Miel October 17, 2013, 2:16 pm

        Exactly. I would be very sad if my boyfriend didn’t feel like skyping for an hour every night. That’s just what we like. It’s not about “keeping some mystery”. Talking to each other is just what we feel like doing.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson October 17, 2013, 2:23 pm

      I talked shit on my first date to Colin about how if he wanted to hang out again he should probably call, because after he dropped me off he said he would “text me later” – I vomited and then gave him a lesson on adult dating. He called me 2 days later to set up a date for a week out. You can teach an old dog new tricks people.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary October 17, 2013, 1:51 pm

    I agree that texting has added a new…dimension to romantic relationships. I think I said this last week, but I’m really glad I started dating my boyfriend when I did (4 yrs ago). Texting was super prevalent then, obviously, but my friends didn’t begin as many of their dating stories with the words “so I’ve been texting this guy”. I mean no one texted for days at a time without meeting, or spending actual time together. So I’m glad I don’t really have to conquer texting and dating right now. My boyfriend and I don’t text each other nonstop throughout the day (I don’t do that with anyone) so we do have something to talk about at night. And before texting, weren’t young teenage couples on the phone nonstop anyways? The 2 week relationship between middle schoolers isn’t exactly a new thing.

    To address the other issue here of a man not “missing a woman”…I’ve never been a fan of that logic. I hate that idea that we need to make ourselves mysterious or seem unavailable to have men (or women) be interested. I think it perpetuates the idea of one person chasing another. Not answering someone’s phone call so you appear to be busy? Making plans with your girlfriends just so you can tell a guy that you’re busy on saturday night instead of going out with him? It just seems like playing games to me. If one of my girlfriend says “why isn’t he calling me anymore” the truth is…maybe he just doesn’t like you. It doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself, but for me the right person didn’t get sick of my texts or calls. He wanted to talk to me every day. He doesn’t mind when I’m bugging him. We still keep our own interests and friends, but I didn’t have to play any games to get him to pay attention to me.

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    • avatar

      starpattern October 17, 2013, 1:58 pm

      I really agree with your second paragraph. I think advising people to step back as a way to keep the object of their attraction interested is misguided. I do think that spending all damn day texting each other is a problem, but in my opinion it’s more of a “get a life” problem than a “preserve the mystery” problem.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary October 17, 2013, 2:01 pm

        I just don’t know how they don’t have carpel tunnel or wrist issues. I can tell when I’ve been on my phone too much. But yeh, I think it’s more of an issue of “stop being glued to your phone”. I’m sure there are plenty of teenagers who text nonstop and don’t lose interest in each other.

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      • avatar

        NavyWife October 17, 2013, 2:11 pm

        That’s a good point…if 2 people find eachother and they both need to be in contact 24/7, then that’s a good match. To me, though, it’s suffocating. I guess that’s why I do just fine as a military spouse…my husband being out of touch for periods of time (sometimes days or even a week or more, during deployments) does not bother me too much:)

        Sorry, this was supposed to be directed to your original comment on my post! Carry on:)

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    • theattack

      theattack October 17, 2013, 2:05 pm

      I agree with you on your second paragraph completely, but then I also agree with Wendy and this other article. If you’re doing this to make someone like you more or to make someone pursue you, that’s playing games, and it’s juvenile and stupid. But I definitely think that if you text someone all day long, you’re going to have less to talk about at the end of the day, and that’s a problem. Pulling back as a way of preserving your in-person time is a great idea. Pulling back as a way of trapping a man is manipulative.

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      • avatar

        MMcG October 17, 2013, 4:04 pm

        I agree that playing games is not the best way to go about having a relationship… but instead of describing it as pulling away – can’t we think of it as having a life outside of your new bf? I mean if all you do is text someone constantly, forget about having something to talk about in person, at what point do you have a life with your own personal hobbies and interests and friends that you do things with… which should take SOME time away from your phone.

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    • avatar

      HmC October 17, 2013, 4:44 pm

      I agree with your general points Kerry and I don’t like the “make him miss you” angle (of course it’s a “him” right?). If people are into frequent communication then that’s fine and it’s on them to find someone compatible. But I do think there’s also legitimacy to the idea that the normalization of constant contact and exposure- facebook, skyping, emailing, and especially nonstop texting, is an unnecessary time suck and can really damage personal relationships for a multitude of reasons. I like Louise C.K.’s rant against giving kids phones- basically we’re training them not to be aware of the present moment, and it de-humanizes human interaction in a way that people don’t develop empathy properly.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 4:46 pm

        I LOVED that rant! I sent it to my dad whose been pressuring me into getting my daughter a phone.

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  • avatar

    Joanna October 17, 2013, 1:57 pm

    This is exactly why I hate texting. It’s fine to say a quick thing you have to tell me, but I can’t have long drawn out conversations over text. Just pick up the phone and call me if you want to talk. For a long while, I was afraid of giving my phone number out to people cause I can’t stand constant texters.

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl October 17, 2013, 2:00 pm

    GGuy and I have always been HUGE texters. Like sending 2000 a month to each other when we where long distance. But I definitely agree with the overall point.

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  • avatar

    bethany October 17, 2013, 2:03 pm

    I’m all about texting, but the scenario described in the article about the conversation literally never ending is crazy. My SIL is 18, and texting her is like that. She uses it to have full conversations instead of calling you, and I can’t stand it. I can see how that can easily kill a budding romance.

    My husband is a man of few words, so I actually try to limit contact with him during the day while we’re apart, so he’ll actually have something to talk to me about when we get home.

    Oh, and those “read receipts” are bullshit. I don’t have them turned on. I don’t know why anyone would.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 2:11 pm

      Remember BBM? It would say delivered, and then read if the person read it. So when they don’t reply quick enough, you get all ‘wtf dude, I KNOW you read that 13.3 minutes ago!’

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      • avatar

        bethany October 17, 2013, 2:15 pm

        I never had a Blackberry!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 2:16 pm

        I miss mine. Way better than the dumb iphone.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 17, 2013, 2:49 pm

        I miss phones with BUTTONS. Touchscreen texting is terrible.

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      • avatar

        scattol October 18, 2013, 9:32 am

        They still make Blackberries you know 🙂

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 18, 2013, 9:43 am

        I had mine up until just 10 months ago….

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 17, 2013, 2:39 pm

        I remember when I got my first blackberry 8 years ago – I felt so grown up! It was so fancy and sssserious and I could email my coworkers from the bathroom which was so awesome and new! Then I got the blackberry pearl after that and it was even more SWWOOOOON.

        Actually funny story about blackberry’ing from the bathroom. Well not really “funny” funny, just “Addie thinks it’s funny” funny. So I’d take my blackberry to the bathroom and reply to emails from there. But coworkers could tell whenever they received an email that was sent from a blackberry because it would show up in outlook in weird font if it came from a blackberry v. my computer. They wouldn’t necessarily know it came from the bathroom but they’d know it was from my blackberry.

        So one coworker was like, “wait, I know you’re at work, why are you emailing from your blackberry?” and I said ’cause I’m in the bathroom …. She thought that was gross. So then I would make a point to just send her a “hi” email each time I went to the bathroom. And she’d reply “gross” and then she started doing it and I’d say “gross.” And now 8 years later we are both at different firms but we still get “hi” texts from each other and you gotta reply “Gross” and sometimes when we are hanging out we just refer to needing to go number 2 as needing “to go ‘hi'” but sometimes we are just texting “hi” to, you know, say hi, and for those messages you gotta say “hi but not that kind of hi.” and come to think of it i haven’t sent her a hi message in like a week; she’s probably worried for me!

        And there you go, not funny at all.

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      • avatar

        AKchic October 17, 2013, 3:06 pm

        You haven’t ‘hi’d’ in a week! Oh you poor thing! *laugh*

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 17, 2013, 3:41 pm

        I’m hi-ing RIGHT now, and really regretting that my diet has been so pizza-centric right now…

        Who wants to hear my big issues with my work bathroom? Ok I’ll tell you. There are three stalls. One is really cramped and the toilet rolls hit your side and it just makes for a less pleasant experience. One is a handicapped stall and I don’t know about you guys but those taller-than-usual toilets make it hard to go. I dunno if it’s the angle or I just don’t like change, but I just can’t go on them. That leaves the third stall, the ideal one with a regular sized stool and elbow room for things like emailing “hi” or posting on DW, but it’s always occupied because whether or not my coworkers have realized it or thought about it as deeply as me, they know it’s the best stall!

        Should I go on? I have more deep thoughts.

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      • avatar

        Banana October 17, 2013, 3:49 pm

        I’ll bite. It sucks that you guys only have one “good” stall. We have three okay stalls, in terms of size, but what kills me is the gap between the door and the stall is big enough that you’re always in danger of Awkward Stall Eye Contact when you’re looking for an open one. And the flush is so powerful it actually shoots dirty water out of the bowl and onto the floor. No wonder our hallway smells DISGUSTING. Though that might possibly be because a disgruntled employee peed in the elevator lobby? I seriously think that happened last week and no one wants to talk about it.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 17, 2013, 3:59 pm

        My other pet peeve is when the cleaning crew is in the bathroom. They leave when I walk in, but they don’t really leave; they just wait outside for you to finish. Oh my god the pressure!!! I’d prefer if they just agree to come back later, you know?

        Last, sometimes I just use the bathroom to change my clothes. But when I come out, others don’t know that, so I’m caught in this “wash my hands so they don’t think I”m gross” or “don’t wash my hands because I don’t have to” dilemma and that causes me to pause. Sometimes I just turn the water on so people THINK I just washed my hands but I don’t.

        And don’t you hate it when toilets spray water when you flush and it hits you on your boom boom? Like when you give it a flush just ’cause but you’re still sitting there and it splashes you? I hate that!

        I have so many deep thoughts. I feel like I’ve taken them too far, for too long. But whatever.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 4:05 pm

        Why would you flush while you’re still on the toilet? Aren’t you afraid of getting sucked in?!

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      • avatar

        bethany October 17, 2013, 4:06 pm

        COURTESY FLUSH!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 4:08 pm

        But cant you stand for that and then sit back down? Even the weakest of toilets could splash/suck you in.
        Since we’re sharing weird ass shit…does anyone find it a little hot when a guy pees standing with his back to you? No? Me neither.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 17, 2013, 4:12 pm

        OMG lets-be-honest I find that hot, too. My boyfriend never pees in front of me, but I dated this guy who’d pee randomly all over (publicly too, which is gross, like, I GUESS) & I always was kinda like, “I want you” when he did it.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 17, 2013, 4:12 pm

        It’s not going to suck you in! Impossible!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 4:16 pm

        Oh, Fab, thank you for making me feel less insane!

        Mine doesn’t like to in front of me either and is horrified if I pee in front of him. Really dude? No qualms about dumping a load on my belly, but peeing is gross. Ok pal.

        this should be a deleted thread.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 17, 2013, 4:18 pm

        Man, I am humbled by the chorus of “let’s tell bathroom stories” support! I can’t believe you guys even bothered to read my toilet posts! Humbled. 🙂

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 4:26 pm

        bethany, all I know is I’m not going to take the risk to find out. you just never know!!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 17, 2013, 4:07 pm

        Um helloooo, sometimes it’s too stinky to just let it sit there until you’re done. Do you really want that heaping pile of steamy poo just hanging out just inches from your bum?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 4:09 pm

        Ew. Stand, flush, sit back down. Safety first Additha.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 17, 2013, 4:11 pm

        Well I do that *now*. But I had to learn the hard way. My mom never had that talk with me I guess.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 17, 2013, 4:10 pm

        ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS. This one woman in my building apparently didn’t—although I never noticed because maybe we were never in the bathroom at the same time, or I have better things to worry about— but I heard from like 8 different people, apropos to nothing, that she didn’t wash her hands. She left the company MONTHS ago, & like maybe last week, someone came up to me like, “Remember Ellen? Yeah, she never washed her hands. GROSS.”

        So basically, pretend to wash them so nobody gossips to you, or maybe you work in a less gossipy place.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 17, 2013, 4:13 pm

        But what if I’m just changing my clothes! Or coming in to examine a zit? Do I really have to wash my hands then? I mean come on. There’s no lotion in the bathroom so I always leave with dry hands.

        I am taking a stand. This hand washing bullshit has gone too far. Germs are good, people, it helps develop your immune system.

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      • avatar

        Banana October 17, 2013, 4:16 pm

        I don’t know, I’d still wash. Bathrooms are dirty places. Yeah, I think in general we as a society go overboard with germaphobia…but if you’re in a room where everyone poops, you might want to wash your hands. Maybe you didn’t actually go, but you touched the door handles, were in the stall, etc. Mythbusters taught us that FECAL MATTER IS EVERYWHERE

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        lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 4:13 pm

        Yea, we have one in my office like that. Ironically, she’s the one who sprays you down with Lysol if you sneeze.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 17, 2013, 4:11 pm

        I can not believe you guys are talking about this.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 4:13 pm

        Come on, GG. You know you want to tell a poop/flushing story!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 17, 2013, 4:13 pm

        GG, how many times a day do you poop? I’ve been dying to know. Whisper it to me, no one else will hear.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 17, 2013, 4:21 pm

        I bet Wendy did not predict this is where the “is texting ruining romance” post would go.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 17, 2013, 4:14 pm

        we have single use bathrooms which are nice because they are giant, but the one is right beside the conference room so I’m always worried people in there can hear me peeing!

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        lets_be_honest October 17, 2013, 4:18 pm

        haha, my half bathroom at home is like that. My friend yelled we can hear you. I was embarrassed and then was like, well, what did you think i was doing in there?

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      • avatar

        bethany October 17, 2013, 4:05 pm

        We only have 1 good stall, too.

        Handicapped has a weird lock, and you have to body check the door to get it to open and it flushes so aggressively that water splashes onto the seat all the time, 2 of them flush all funky. Like you flush and nothing happens, then you flush again and hold it down and the water flows out like honey. Then one has a rogue stain on the tampon/pad disposal box that’s been there for years probably, but gross, nonetheless. So that leaves 1 good stall.

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      • avatar

        AKchic October 17, 2013, 8:44 pm

        We have one decent stall at work too! Out of four, one is handicapped, one I have to maneuver to get in and get the door closed, one the door doesn’t close all the way, two the lights don’t light up properly, etc. One is “just right”.

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      • kmtthat

        kmentothat October 17, 2013, 4:01 pm

        It is these colorful anecdotes that I live for, because they make me feel normal haha. My BFF would casaully decided to go number 2 while we were talking on the phone, and I finally shouted at her I didn’t not want to end our friendship over the phone because of pooping. So now she always calls me when she is. Life.

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster October 17, 2013, 2:21 pm

      Yeah I hate read receipts. I always thought people who have them turned on don’t actually realize they are on.

      When I was in Europe, my travel buddy was WhatsApping with this dude (she’d met him in NY where we live and he met up with us in London, where he lives, they were flirting and blah blah blah.). With WhatsApp you can see when the person logged on last. There isn’t a way to turn it off. Also, this dude had his read receipts on, and so did she. They got in a bit of a -uh- cross cultural misunderstanding, I suppose you could call it.

      I cannot count the number of times she said to me, “He read it!! Why isn’t he responding?!”

      Oy vey. At one point I actually made her promise not to look at her WhatsApp for a full 24 hours (for my sanity as much as her own).

      Technology! What a pain, amiright?!

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson October 17, 2013, 2:24 pm

      Oh I love them! I want people to know if I’ve read their text and just don’t have time to respond. You’re talking about the blue font on the iphone right? Love that feature. I hate those assholes that turn it off.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 17, 2013, 2:28 pm

        I like it too. But I secretly enjoy being pissed when someone doesn’t reply in a timely manner too.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 17, 2013, 2:36 pm

        Yeah I don’t care. I mean I don’t take it personally when someone doesn’t respond to me. Maybe if it takes them a week I might be like wtf. But before I’m like wtf I just call them. I don’t know. I don’t understand why anyone would even expect an immediate response. If you want an immediate response to call.

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        NavyWife October 17, 2013, 2:39 pm

        Agree…I have a friend who is TERRIBLE about texting. NBD. I know she’ll read it and be too busy to respond at the moment, and then she just forgets. If I actually need to reach her, I’ll give her a call.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 17, 2013, 3:00 pm

        I hate calling. Like a lot. I have phone-phobia or something.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 17, 2013, 2:35 pm

        I’m going to pretend you didn’t call me an asshole 🙂
        My text is grey, I think? But I didn’t upgrade to iOS7

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 17, 2013, 2:36 pm

        oooooh rookie mistake. Upgrade stat.

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        jlyfsh October 17, 2013, 2:40 pm

        no don’t do it! i upgraded and now i’m one of the lucky few who can’t send imessages. i have to click on each individual message that’s going to another iphone and choose send as text message. i think i can turn imessaging off? but i also have no clue how to do that or turn off the read receipts. i’m waiting for the patch that will hopefully fix this issue! i read on cnn that other people are having this issue so for once i know it’s not user error.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 17, 2013, 2:45 pm

        I don’t have enough free memory on my phone to upgrade. Too many songs in my itunes!

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle October 17, 2013, 2:20 pm

    Ehhh I kind of disagree. The whole “let him miss you” thing sounds too much like “The Rules” to me (never read it, but from what I’ve heard)? My boyfriend & I keep in contact throughout the day (not CONSTANTLY, because you know, work & shit), because it’s nice to us. We like it. Obviously it can get overbearing if the conversation is always like, “What are you doing?” “Nothing” “What are you doing now??” but we usually just mention a thing or two, & respond on the subject, etc. If texting seems overbearing, either the person who’s texting you is BEING overbearing, or you hate texting, period.

    Now, back onto the “let him miss you” thing— I hate that, but I do admit there’s a degree of truth in it. Why is it always phrased that way, though? Like, the quote in the article from the mother sounds like something that’s come out of my own mother’s mouth before. It’s very mothery, that kind of phrasing. Can’t we phrase it another way? I guess, do I want it to sound more New Age-y or something? (“give your partner breathing room” I dunno)

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle October 17, 2013, 2:26 pm

      Also, I’d say if you’re in a relationship with someone who is texting so much that you feel the need to dial back your responses to them out of annoyance, can’t you just be like, “hey, I’m not a big texter” ? Or, vice-versa, if you find yourself in a relationship with someone & you can’t figure out why they’re not texting so often, can’t you be like, “hey what’s up, are you just not a big texter?” It doesn’t need to be this big, dramatic discussion, just frame it like “hey, this is a thing— like any other thing— to get the kinks worked out of”?

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster October 17, 2013, 2:27 pm

      We can rephrase it as “be present in your own life”. Because I can guarantee if you are texting constantly, your eyes are not on the world around you. Also, when you actually experience the world around you, you’re a more whole person with experiences to share.

      When I went to see the Mona Lisa, people were literally staring at it through their iPads/cameras/smartphones. I took one picture and stood there for a few minutes just looking at it and people were getting irritated with me because they wanted me to move so they could take a picture. I was like eff you people, this is a famous painting and I’m going to fucking LOOK at it for a few minutes. If you want to see a picture of it, GOOGLE IT. Bah!

      (Sorry if I’m ODing on the Europe anecdotes. I just got back. They’re on my mind!)

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster October 17, 2013, 2:29 pm

        Oh and I mean universal “you”, not “FABELLE, stop blocking the Mona Lisa with your camera!! GOD!” 😉

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 17, 2013, 2:35 pm

        Oh no, I feel you there, & I’m very much into the “be present in your own life” thing. If I’m out with friends, I’m not like, “hold up, gotta text my dude” but I know people that are.

        Your Mona Lisa thing reminds me of a Louis C.K bit, I’ll have to find it, haha. Basically he was at a school thing & everyone was recording their child’s performance rather than watch it with their own two eyes, & that is really sad. I think this time period (that we live in) is some weird bridge though, between the days of old (no/limited technology) to a crazy future world where our phones (or some future equivalent) is basically built into our brain.

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        MMcG October 17, 2013, 4:09 pm

        YES!!! That’s what I tried to say above about having a life… if you are glued to your phone 24/7 I don’t understand what you would even have to talk about because the whole world is passing you by 😉

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    • avatar

      Guy Friday October 17, 2013, 2:34 pm

      I totally agree with your first paragraph. My wife and I have daily email threads with cute subject lines. We just respond back and forth throughout the day. If we get busy, we don’t respond; we’re both working, so we get it. Some days we get busy at work and don’t respond for hours. Some days we email back and forth every 5 minutes. We’ll talk about funny things that just happened that might not be as funny hours later. We trade articles and funny images we find. And before we go home for the day, whomever ends it first says “I love you!” even though we’re both going home to see each other. It’s cute, and it’s fun, and it keeps us from getting mind-numbingly bored on those slow days.

      I can see where that kind of “always on” contact would be counter-productive in the early stages of a relationship where there’s still that mystery and intrigue and fun of getting to know all about the other one (to say nothing of the miscommunication written things always end up causing at some point), but when you’ve been together a while . . . I mean, my wife and I aren’t in urgent stars-in-our-eyes ignore-the-flaws-of-the-other-party love anymore, but we’ve moved past that to a mature quiet love, where the romantic gestures are more “Thanks for putting out the cereal bowls for tomorrow while I’m brushing my teeth” or “Thanks for picking up milk from the grocery store” kind of love, where just knowing you’re still passing through each other’s minds during the day makes the day go by faster.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 17, 2013, 2:40 pm

        Yes! I do agree that in the early stages of dating/being together, it might be too much, but after a long-established relationship, where both parties like to connect often throughout the day, it’s fine. The whole “mystery” thing doesn’t really apply, & we have enough separate interests/activities to still have shit to talk about?

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      NavyWife October 17, 2013, 2:37 pm

      I’ve never read “The Rules” but I had friends when I lived in Atlanta who had & sort of subscribed to that rationale. I don’t know…I tend to be pretty traditionally-minded when it comes to dating and relationships. Conveniently, so is my now-husband. I liked that he pursued me and I knew where I stood with him. He called when he said he would and made ‘set’ plans with me (none of the “so do you maybe want to get together Friday? I’ll text you” or “just text me on Saturdsay” stuff I experienced with other guys).

      “Let him miss you” definitely sounds ‘mother-y’, haha, but I’m sure I’ll say it to my own girls someday–my mother has said it to me! We’re also from the South, so maybe it’s just a Southern thing;)

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 17, 2013, 2:46 pm

        It’s a balance 🙂 Texting definitely has made things murkier in the dating world, but I was thinking more about established relationships in my original response, I guess? (& now that you mention it, I did let my boyfriend take the lead when he was first “courting” me, let’s say, so there is value is holding back during those early stages)

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      • theattack

        theattack October 17, 2013, 2:47 pm

        Omg, all these new Southerners! Did I already ask you where you were from? I thought you lived in Atlanta now, but clearly I was wrong. If you happen to be near Nashville I think we’re all trying to get together in the next few weeks.

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        NavyWife October 17, 2013, 6:56 pm

        I’m currently a displaced Southerner! My husband is a pilot and we’re temporarily stationed just outside Kansas City (I did not know I could marry into the Navy and end up living in Kansas!) Coincidentally, I was born in Nashville and loved it there, but claim north Florida as “home”, which is one of the few parts of FL that can claim to be somewhat “southern” (in my opinion).

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    • sobriquet

      Sobriquet October 18, 2013, 12:00 am

      My fiancé and I text throughout the day (which was NOT something I was used to, at first!) but it’s just a good way to let each other know we’re thinking about each other. AND sometimes you don’t want to talk about the day-to-day bs whenever you see each other at night. I’ve normally forgotten it by then, anyway. I don’t want to talk about the test I took or the guy who wouldn’t stop talking to me during my microbiology lecture and he doesn’t want to talk about the micromanaging customer or the fence posts that he set when we see each other at the end of the day. We have plenty of other things to talk about!

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  • Northern Mermaid

    Northern Mermaid October 17, 2013, 2:24 pm

    Northernmerman and I are attached at the phone and I’m not even ashamed to admit it. Right now he’s in Santa Fe for a conference that I desperately want to be at and he’s basically live blogging it to my phone. With pictures. And business cards of people that I want to talk to. You know the surrogate in Arrested Development? He’s that guy. We do that during the work day too. Co-dependent, maybe, but it makes us happy

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  • KKZ

    KKZ October 17, 2013, 2:36 pm

    Texting, or more accurately IMing, has been part of my relationship with Bear for years, mostly because we’ve had quite a few phases of long-distance or quasi-long-distance. Early in our marriage, he worked 7-4 and I worked 5-2, so we were ships passing in the night and texting/IMing during the day was pretty much the only way we’d get to communicate about anything. Which I admit wasn’t always ideal, there were definitely conversations and arguments we had online that would have been better handled in person. But it has a place in our relationship. We’ve been back on the same schedule (ish – sometimes he’s in a different time zone) for a few years now but still IM each other during the day, sometimes to share a funny link or good article, sometimes to check in or ask questions, sometimes to be schmoopy (“I can’t stop thinking about you this morning”) or sexy (“I’mma jump you when I get home…”). We both get sad on the days where one of us is tied up and can’t chat.

    But all of that is within the context of an LTR/marriage. I’m totally blind as to how it affects dating, much less teen dating.

    The medium itself isn’t evil, it’s the behaviors and habits people develop around the medium that can cause problems.

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    • avatar

      MMcG October 17, 2013, 4:15 pm

      “The medium itself isn’t evil, it’s the behaviors and habits people develop around the medium that can cause problems.”

      How many things could this fabulous statement be applied to!?! It’s like all things in moderation people…

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  • mylaray

    mylaray October 17, 2013, 2:49 pm

    I think texting ruins a lot of things. Period.

    With that said, my fiancé and I text a ton. I wasn’t really a big texter until I met him. But we don’t text as much as we used to. Especially since we moved in together and there wasn’t much new to talk about. We text each other a lot of funny pictures or just mess around with emoticon conversations throughout the day but it’s not like this constant conversation of every single thing that is going on anymore. That gets so boring.

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  • avatar

    AKchic October 17, 2013, 3:03 pm

    To paraphrase Machete – “AKchic don’t text… unless she has to”.

    I agree that the mystery is gone and there’s nothing left to say when you get together. It’s why I disconnect for the most part. I chat online occasionally, but I save my conversation for when I’m on the phone, or when I’m in person. Unless it’s important I get the info to someone ASAP, then I’ll commit it to email, message or text if I can’t talk to the person. “AKchic improvises”. *snicker* I like that movie. Just randomly throwing that out there.

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana October 17, 2013, 3:10 pm

    I don’t know if someone has addressed this but I will say first that I hate texting. I especially hate it in the context of new relationships/dating. My ex wasn’t a huge texter but because I grew up when texting was just getting big (He is 5 years older so didn’t have that as much) it was like a huge part of how I perceive people should communicate in relationships? Especially because I also text a lot with my friends. Anyways, because its like the primary way I have kept in touch with boyfriends in the past, especially the one I was long distance with. We texted nonstop. So when I was in this new relationship with this guy who was super into me but didn’t text enough (WTF) I was like omg he doesn’t care about me why isn’t he texting me doesn’t he want to check in and downward spiral especially when compared to my friends who are with their boyfriends and text all the time all day etc., or my roommate who had just started dating this guy and they were texting nonstop. Now I am sort of like woah that was really stupid of me to think and the whole thing doesn’t stress me out too much anymore. I just hate that we have created this separate layer to add confusion/doubt to how confusing and doubt-filled the starts of relationships can be.

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  • avatar

    Titian October 17, 2013, 3:25 pm

    I completely and totally relate. I am too old to worry about this stuff but yet somehow I still manage to obsess over the read receipt and how many times my new boyfriend messages me in a day. And I definitely notice if we have been on the phone all day long we have nothing to say to each other when we meet up. Thanks for posting this Wendy – I am going to start letting him miss me a bit more.

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  • avatar

    Banana October 17, 2013, 4:02 pm

    I agree with those who said that the important part is finding a partner who desires the same amount of communication you do — or, at least, identifying how much is “enough” for each person, and trying to compromise.

    I do think breathing space is important in relationships, though. It’s not just in a manipulative, “The Rules” way. It’s important for both partners to miss each other a little bit every once in a while. It keeps you from taking each other for granted. It doesn’t have to be about “chasing” or “being chased.” It’s just keeping things lively.

    I think texting, like all new forms of electronic communication, can be a great thing or a horrible thing depending on how it’s used. Banano and I aren’t prolific texters, and we both hate having text “conversations” — when we do text, it’s normally either logistics-related, or a one-off cute picture to brighten each other’s day. On days we don’t get to hang out, I call him and we talk for 20 minutes, tops — neither of us are big phone talkers. We weren’t FB friends until we’d been dating officially for almost a year. But texting can be fun when we use it creatively. Like, sometimes when we’re meeting up, we just give a general location, like Union Station, and then we send each other pictures of where we’re standing to send each other on a “hunt” to find our exact location. Other times we challenge each other to take a picture of something unusually green, or draw little cartoons and send them as pics to each other.

    But the nonstop texting thing is a problem because how can you possibly have a life when you’re staring at your phone all the time? And if you don’t have a life, how are you going to be the rounded, interesting, self-confident and self-possessed person that would attract a mate and be capable of carrying on an adult relationship. To me, that seems to be the reason why someone would get bored with a constant texter. What are you doing that’s interesting in your life, besides keeping up all your text conversations?

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    • avatar

      Banana October 17, 2013, 4:06 pm

      Okay, I think I found a better way to explain the “let him miss you” thing. I don’t think you need to set up stuff JUST to make a guy miss you. That starts getting manipulative. But if you have a well-rounded life with friendships and activities outside your relationship, it’s probably going to be inevitable that sometimes you’ll do things apart. And when you’re apart, it’s not a bad thing to be truly apart — in other words, not just apart physically but texting the whole time.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana October 17, 2013, 4:20 pm

        yeah I don’t really buy into the “make him miss you” but if the texting in more one-sided I think that is where it comes in to play. I hadn’t heard from the guy I am talking to or I should say that I was initiating most of the texting during this one stretch, not a lot like two different times, but anyways I was like eh maybe he’s over it so just stopped cold. I didn’t hear from him for a few days but sure enough he reached out to me when I stopped getting in touch with him, and it turns out he was on vacation, and isn’t a huge texter anyways, and especially not when he was off doing 18 million cool things, so I know he was thinking about me. I don’t think I was trying to get him to miss me but there is a power thing in play there when it was always me going out of my way to get in touch. Basically I think its just yeah put down the phone and do your own thing. There was no reason for me to be texting him when I was, I just wanted that connection but was getting lost in it you know, just for the boredom or attention of it.

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        Banana October 17, 2013, 4:29 pm

        See, that’s the thing. You get into a power disparity when one person is always initiating (anything, really — texting, setting dates, whatever), and sometimes the best thing for the relationship is for the initiator to step back and trust the other person will come to them, too. It could go either way in a relationship. It isn’t about forcing someone to chase you; it’s about giving them the opportunity to actually be the initiator for once. You can’t complain that a guy never initiates if you never give him the chance to because you’re always on top of it. But it doesn’t have to be gendered; it’s okay for a guy to want a girl to step up to the plate sometimes, and sometimes that means actually saying, “Hey, I’m going to let you ask me out this time.” We’ve done that a few times — in fact, we had a role-reversal Valentine’s Day last year, where instead of my boyfriend arranging a big romantic evening that revolved around me (because, let’s be honest, a lot of Valentine’s traditions are about guys showing girls their love), I arranged a manly Valentine’s where we went to get BBQ, then jammed at a local rehearsal space. It was a blast. And I was able to do it because he was okay stepping back and letting me be the initiator/planner.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana October 17, 2013, 4:32 pm

        yeah he has initiated all of our recent hangouts (this is my ex and we are sort of working on getting back together maybe/hanging out/no idea) ha and I am wondering if maybe I should invite him out to do something for this reason. It’s just making myself vulnerable again to him in this situation that is making it difficult. but the texting thing, as stupid as it is, was actually really good for me to do.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 17, 2013, 4:38 pm

        I think it’s the ratio thing— which I mentioned over on Rach’s thread in the forums— but if the ratio (of you contacting them, vs. them contacting you) is too imbalanced, that’s when you stop.

        A couple years ago, I set my girl friend up with my guy friend—thinking it’d be casual for both of them—but the girl was trying *too* hard to turn it into a FWB arrangement (she texted him like, “we live close, so if you wanna be fuck buddies, let’s do this thing” or something after the first time they slept together), & the guy (who was still suffering from a recent breakup, & dealing with ~another~ one of my friends that fell in love with him after I set them up—OOPS) just never responded. And I literally ~watched~ her send a million texts in a row, trying to backtrack, then reintroducing the concept a different way, then being like, “sorry I know this is too many texts” :::sends another text::: & I must’ve looked over at her in horror, because she goes, “Ugh, the ratio is SO OFF, but I CAN’T STOP.”

        So that’s where I got the whole “ratio” idea, haha

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana October 17, 2013, 4:41 pm

        omg that sounds like my nightmare. i do this really childish thing where i don’t save a guys # in my phone until we are pretty serious, and I delete the texts after we send them so I am not tempted to just text ha, it is sort of dumb but it works. Obviously if its a situation where I am dating someone I don’t care about it as much but this has worked for me pretty well in the past and stopped me from texting desperate-style.

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  • LK7889

    LK7889 October 17, 2013, 4:30 pm

    This is only tangentially related but it seems like an appropriate response to this article…

    When I was driving through town the other day, I saw a young couple (teens) sitting on the back of their car all snuggled up together… with their phones pulled out and complete with scowling looks on their faces. I was stunned by that. Why would you be on your phone while cuddling together on a nice day?! If someone did that to me and it wasn’t an emergency, I’d be really offended.

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland October 17, 2013, 4:47 pm

    I would be a lurvs-texting-person’s worst nightmare. I frequently take days to text people back, I frequently let me phone die, and then it stays dead for hours/days. I lose my phone at home so I never have it near me. I just don’t like phones. Luckily BF is busy outside all day so that works out fine and we have plenty of things to talk about when we see each other (including why I didn’t answer his 3 calls about what we should have for dinner because my phone was dead… oops…)

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      d2 October 17, 2013, 10:40 pm

      Oh, I can beat that… I am not a texter, so when I see a text message, I call the person back. Because I am not a texter, I rarely think to check for text messages. I have had a few amusing conversations where I called someone and they were totally confused why I was calling – only to eventually figure out that I was responding to a text they sent over a month ago…

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  • Cleopatra_30

    Cleopatra_30 October 17, 2013, 6:22 pm

    I totally agree with this article. A guy i was seeing over the summer lived about 20 or 30 minutes away by car, and we only saw each other maybe once or twice a week. Which is normal. But we did text a far bit and i noticed it was difficult to carry a conversation because we had talked about stuff already via text. This goes for friendships as well. A guy i am friends with, he and i end up texting almost every day. we only see each other though maybe once or twice a month. So somewhat understandable. But then when we do see each other, we don’t have much to say. Its a terrible cycle :S And when i start texting with someone who doesnt text a lot, it is definitely frustrating because texting has become so much apart of my life, but then i sit back and think that it is probably a good thing. And as they said in the article, it keeps you wondering what they are doing, instead of knowing everything. Which obviously isn’t a good thing 😛

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark October 18, 2013, 12:55 am

    If you are an insecure and total idiot — then YES! Texting can really ruin romance for you. Unfortunately there are A LOT of insecure and total idiots… 😉

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay October 18, 2013, 8:39 am

    I don’t think texting is inherently bad, but I think it makes it easier for people to stay in touch who otherwise wouldn’t. Like maybe an individual doesn’t like someone else enough to call them and make plans, but they like them enough to text them. Thus, this relationship ensues that’s not really supposed to exist.

    Also, I think that it’s just one of many mediums that people can use to suffocate each other. The fact that it’s via text isn’t the problem (though it certainly makes it easier), and could also consist of them seeing each other in person too much or being on the phone too much. It’s like when you hear about people in LDRs who spend too much time on the phone. Any medium is going to create problems if you overcommunicate.

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