Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Men Who Text a Lot Just Aren’t That Into You

text messageFor the many of the women who write to me complaining about how little their boyfriends and husbands text them, I have good news: too frequent texting is a sign a man isn’t committed to his relationship while infrequent texting may signal that all is well (at least in his head). In a new study published in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, in which 276 young adults (around age 22) in meaningful relationships (i.e. not casual or brand new relationships), men who texted more often generally reported lower relationship quality than those who didn’t text their significant others as frequently. “The researchers can only speculate about why, but suspect that as men disconnect from a relationship, or consider a break-up, they replace face-to-face interactions with less intimate communication in the form of increased texting.”

Women, on the other hand, reported closer connections with their significant others when they texted a lot versus when they texted more infrequently. The young women in the study tended to use texting to “talk things out” — “to apologize, work out their differences and make decisions when their relationship was in trouble.”

While the findings certainly aren’t comprehensive, the researchers say that “for now, texting seems to be best for the first blush of new romance, and better left alone when deeper conflicts arise.” [via Time.com]

34 comments… add one
  • kerrycontrary November 4, 2013, 1:55 pm

    I don’t think I would ever use texting to “to apologize, work out their differences and make decisions when their relationship was in trouble.” That’s like breaking up over AIM!

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    • TECH November 4, 2013, 2:01 pm

      Yeah, I had the same reaction. If you’re using texting to hash out major relationships issues, that’s pretty bad.
      For long term relationships, every couple has their own texting habits which I don’t think really say much about the relationship in general. People just fall into patterns — some people are big texters, others are not.
      I think it can be problematic when texting becomes the default form of communication — especially in the early parts of dating.

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      • kerrycontrary November 4, 2013, 2:07 pm

        Yeh I more think about when my girlfriends are in a new relationship and they text the guy all the time but only see him once a week, if that. I’m just like “oh no….” because I think the guy is texting them instead of actually spending time with them (which is most often the case).

  • katie November 4, 2013, 2:10 pm

    sweet! im taking this as proof my relationship is awesome.


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    • RangerChic November 4, 2013, 2:16 pm

      Me too!
      My husband just got texting like 5 months ago. He doesn’t text much with me but does send me random texts in the middle of the day sometimes saying stuff like he is thinking of me or misses me, etc. I think it’s sweet. But we would never “hash it out” over text! (He also works out of town during the week and is home on weekends)

      On the other hand when our 13 year old is really mad at me she will send me long texts about why she is mad, etc. and want to argue over text. So, I’m thinking this could also be a generational thing too.

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    • honeybeenicki November 4, 2013, 2:18 pm

      Hey, me too! I just looked and most of my texts to and from my husband are “on my way, need bread, can we stop at Walmart on the way home?” type things and most are during the time period that I’m on the bus.

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  • Elle Marie November 4, 2013, 2:20 pm

    Sometimes my husband texts me when I am downstairs and he is upstairs. It drives me batty! Just come downstairs! Heck, he can even yell if he feels like it. Of course, on the flip side, I am sure he is annoyed that I constantly yell up the stairs at him… But usually it’s so that he comes to dinner, and he loves my cooking. So I figure it all works out, right?

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  • rieux November 4, 2013, 2:47 pm

    OK. So women report greater connection when they communicate by text including to work out their differences and conflicts, while men report greater connection when they don’t… and the conclusion of the article is that “For now, texting seems to be best for the first blush of new romance, and better left alone when deeper conflicts arise.” Does that seem a little male-centric to anyone else? Like, men have a correlation between texting and disconnection, therefore, we should all just stop texting and then we can keep our men forever? Or worse, do the researchers assume that when there is a difference between male and female patterns of behavior, the male pattern is right?

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  • Liz November 4, 2013, 2:59 pm

    I’m gonna have to disagree on this one..my boyfriend has always and continues to be a very heavy texter. We live together. And are happy. I guess a more reasonable point is if there’s an extreme shift in the *amount* of communication a couple has, may be cause for worry (in whatever medium)

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  • Addie Pray November 4, 2013, 3:12 pm

    I hate texters. Also it’s a real turnoff to get a “how R u?” text.

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    • GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 3:18 pm

      I would hate “how R U?” too, but most people I’ve ever encountered do NOT text like that. We text in full, punctuated, complete sentences.

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      • Fabelle November 4, 2013, 3:29 pm

        Same here! I don’t think I could date someone who didn’t text properly either, as stupid as that sounds. Like, one time I was talking to a guy who texted me like, “hey cutie wat r u up 2 tn? 😉 ” & I promptly stopped taking him seriously. (Of course, I did have a FWB who texted sooo horribly, but that’s different because the relationship was casual, I guess? I don’t know.)

      • Addie Pray November 4, 2013, 3:30 pm

        Maybe “I hate texters” is too strong and not really true. I text. I don’t hate texting. It’s convenient for relaying technical details like addresses and whatnot, and for asking a question the answer to which is not time sensitive, and then it’s preferred actually. Kind of like how I hate when work people call to get an answer they could just email for; I’d rather they email. Especially when I email first; I hate it when they CALL with the answer. Geez! I guess I just hate it when whole conversations happen via text – and yes I hate those abbreviations.

        But I hate Mondays the most. And I hate the 3 hour hearing I just had with a buffoon.

      • GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 3:39 pm

        Omg I do not like when people call in response to an e-mail!! Especially when the e-mail is a yes/no question!

        And yeah, I HATE Mondays.

      • lets_be_honest November 4, 2013, 3:47 pm

        I’m a K texter, but I can get on board with HATING when people call to reply to an e-mail. If I wanted to talk to you, I wouldn’t have e-mailed. Dumbass!

      • Addie Pray November 4, 2013, 3:51 pm

        This one friend at work does it all the time. I used to think she was paranoid about replying to personal emails at work and so would call – but then she would do it for work stuff too. Like “hey, what time is that CLE?” – for that you should reply when you’re able with the time, and I will read it when I’m able. But to CALL and distract me for 3 seconds?! Granted, it’s 3 seconds, but it makes me peeved for like 3 whole minutes, so i say I’m right to be annoyed, ha.

      • Addie Pray November 4, 2013, 3:55 pm

        Here are my unspoken rules:

        1. When someone asks you for an answer, generally, it is best to reply in the medium that they used.

        2. If they email you but you think a phone call would be quicker than explaining via email, then you can call. But I’d still send an email saying “I can explain faster over the phone; let me know a good time to call you and I will otherwise feel free to call me at ____ at your convenience.”

        3. But if they need an answer in writing and they ask you for a written answer, you do it. Unless they are your subordinate in which case they don’t get to say.

        4. Don’t ever leave voice messages. Unless you have pertinent info to share, in which case just text the summary…. or if you’re just leaving a funny message ok. Otherwise, it just takes ALL THAT TIME EGAD to listen to a voice message. That’s the rule I make my mom follow. Otherwise come on she says “hi it’s your mother, I’ll call you back later.” …. Come on, mama.

        5. Don’t text sexy things to women who are not your girlfriend, geez holy crap.

      • bethany November 5, 2013, 1:15 pm

        If someone calls me and doesn’t leave a message, I don’t call back. I HATE PEOPLE WHO DON”T LEAVE A MESSAGE. And when you leave a message, dont’ just say “call me back” Tell me why they fuck you’re calling: “Hey, I have a question about our trip this weekend”, or “Hi, just calling to catch up”. I like to know what I’m getting into before I call you back.

    • honeybeenicki November 4, 2013, 3:21 pm

      Can I have your number so I can *not* send you a text like that? Of course, you’d probably get “how are you” from me because I hate the abbreviations of those short little words. I really hate when I text someone and all I get in response is “k”. Drives me nuts.

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      • Addie Pray November 4, 2013, 3:33 pm

        You, honeybee, may text all the “how R U’s” you want. 🙂

  • muchachaenlaventana November 4, 2013, 3:15 pm

    people put way too much stock into texting. newsflash-at one point it didn’t even exist and people were still able to have happy functioning relationships. honestly i just basically have stopped giving a shit about texting, because the majority of the time its not a reflection of jackshit besides whether or not someone is a big texter. i hate texting, will do it if its pertinent/there is a convo underway, but have also been known to forget a text for a few days and fall off the face of the earth. doesn’t mean i like you any less, just that i am a shitty texter who doesn’t really care to have texting define my relationships. i also find the less i text a significant other during the day, the more we have to talk about and discuss when we do see one another and the more genuinely interested i am in what they have to say. everyone will find their own groove in a relationship and i agree with those who have said studies like this just reinforce people’s already overwhelming relationship insecurities (i know because i have been there).

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  • EricaSwagger November 4, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Here’s the thing… Right or wrong, it’s a lot easier to get all your feelings out through typing.

    Typing out your apology or complaint or whatever, without being interrupted by the other person makes it so much easier. You get to say everything that’s on your mind, the other person can read it and then acknowledge it all. I like being able to type out everything I have to say, and I like being able to make sure I go back and address every point the other person made.

    And truly, you’re more likely to tell the truth via text because being disconnected slightly, rather than face to face, makes it easier to be more open. In person things get more emotional and you might refrain from saying certain things because it’s harder to be harshly honest face to face, or you’ll lose your train of thought.

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    • GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 2:24 pm

      So GGuy and I have always been HUGE texters. Often when we squabble with each other we’ll go to separate rooms to cool down/gather our thoughts. An apology often comes in the form of a text because it is easy to make sure it’s what you want to say (I tend to blurt out things that I don’t think through), and the other person can’t interrupt.

      So yeah, IDK where I’m going with that.

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      • GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 2:28 pm

        Hmm, idk why it showed up as a response to Erica, but I guess it’s related!

      • TECH November 4, 2013, 2:33 pm

        That’s why studies like this are so silly. Just because your husband texts you a lot, doesn’t mean he’s not into you. People just have their habits and communication preferences.
        The only time texting can be a problem is when it replaces face to face interaction for important conversations. That’s true if the relationship is 10 weeks old or 10 years old.

      • GatorGirl November 4, 2013, 2:36 pm

        I was going to say the study was silly too. We are probably the exception to the “rule” but if it works for us, than who cares!?

      • RangerChic November 4, 2013, 2:46 pm

        I too think studies like this one and ones similar to it are silly and why spend money on studies like this when there are so much more important things we could be studding? IDK. I think it also just feeds the frenzy of people who are insecure in their relationships.

    • Iwannatalktosampson November 4, 2013, 2:58 pm

      “Right or wrong, it’s a lot easier to get all your feelings out through typing”. I completely disagree. To me typing is so robotic, I have to have all serious relationship conversations face to face and preferably doing something as a team. Like going on a walk together and talking it out or drinking a glass of wine and talking it out. I can’t do anything productive over the phone because I will come off abrasive and mean when normally I’m just scared and confused.

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      • rachel November 4, 2013, 3:08 pm

        Hey pretty lady! You’re going old school with the pic and I like it!

      • Iwannatalktosampson November 4, 2013, 3:13 pm

        Oh shit how’d I do that. That is not on purpose!

  • Fabelle November 4, 2013, 3:23 pm

    Yeah, my boyfriend & I text a lot just because we always have. We like texting.

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  • mylaray November 4, 2013, 4:16 pm

    Yeah, I also really think it depends on the person and relationship. My fiance and I do text a lot, but now it’s more surface level conversations, although we do still have deeper conversations by text. My memory is horrible and sometimes I’ll forget basic stories or facts he’s told me, but if we texted about it, I’ll definitely remember because I’m a visual learner, so I like that aspect of it.

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  • Sara November 4, 2013, 6:34 pm

    Did anyone read Deborah Tannen’s “He Said, She Said”? Tannen is a sociolinguist who studies how language and gender interact. In a (very small) nutshell, she claims that women feel closer to the people they “get to” communicate with while men feel closer to the people they “don’t have to” communicate with. A woman’s closest friend is the person she can say anything to. A man’s closest friend is the person he doesn’t have to talk to. Maybe it’s not just texting that makes people feel connected or not connected. Maybe it’s the amount of communication that each gender expects to find in a “working” relationship (women = a lot; men = a little)?

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  • something random November 5, 2013, 9:09 am

    Maybe it’s because I’m outdated but I always think of texting as an easy way out. Talking, seeing, hearing, watching, and listening to someone in real life can be hard when your feelings are big and you desperately want validation. One-on-one communication is a skill, and it seems to be one that the current generation of daters aren’t all that interested in developing.

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