In a romantic relationship, text messages can be great for making plans, checking in, sharing a joke or sending a flirty message. However, the immediacy of texting enables a couple to be in touch all day every day, and that’s not always a good thing.
Texting is convenient and seems low-risk, but those little messages can get a relationship off on the wrong foot or derail it after it's been established. Texting can be a tricky form of communication because it’s stripped of body language and facial expressions.
To keep a relationship going, avoid these texting pitfalls:
1. Texting too often: A study at Brigham Young University found that too frequent texting is associated with low relationship quality. The reasons for this are not clear, but researchers speculate that couples might use texting to avoid in-person conversation. Too much texting could also lead to a cycle of “mobile relationship maintenance,” where partners feel obligated to respond to every text within a few minutes, according to Psychology Today.
2. Too intense, too soon: Too much back and forth or excessively flirty texts early in a relationship can cause the relationship to flame out before it gets going, self-help author Laurel House told Shape Magazine. Often a partner “will bolt if you abuse texting early on,” House said.
3. Texting men at work: A recent Match.com survey found that 47 percent of men don’t like receiving romantic texts at work, Time magazine reported. Of course, that means about half of all men are OK with texts during work hours.
4. Using texts to discuss relationship issues: The BYU study found that couples who use text messages to settle disagreements, apologize or make decisions had lower relationship satisfaction. Distance and the limited text format don't facilitate serious conversations.
5. Poorly written texts: The Match.com survey reported excessive grammar errors and typos, one-word answers like “k” and “cool,” and using all caps as the top texting turn-offs.
6. Texting during a date: This is the No. 1 faux pas on a first date, according to a survey by SF Weekly.
In spite of these potential pitfalls, texting can be good for a relationship. Expressing affection via text enhances relationships for both men and women, the BYU study found.
Marsha Maxwell is an online journalist, writing teacher and Ph.D. student at the University of Utah. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.