Is texting harmful to relationships?

Texting Romance-01-01
Graphic by Brett Ferrin

“Love or intimacy is obviously an emotional experience people have when they are emotionally connected,” said Mark Adams, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Weber State University, “and the way we feel close and connected with others is by sharing parts of our selves by self-disclosure. When people are doing a lot of sharing via text, of course that is going to create feelings of intimacy and connection. What we feel is what’s real to us. We have to be careful, because electronic forms of communication, whether it’s social media or texting, makes it easy to self-disclose.”

The amount of texts a person sends isn’t always what helps or hinders a relationship; it is often the content that affects the relationship.

“When you are in love with someone, you want to talk to them 24/7,” said sophomore Abbigale Williams. “But I have to admit it’s hard when you are texting 24/7. Usually that is in the first part of your relationship. The longer you are together with that person, it becomes less (important) because it is more implied that of course you are thinking about each other.”

Women and men communicate differently, so texting may mean something different for men than what it means to women. Texting can be a valuable way to communicate for some people, while others do not prefer it.

“To be honest, I used to be one that would text all the time when I was with someone, then I dated someone that didn’t text,” said Krystian Wente, chemistry major and freshman. “It was one-word answers, and it got really frustrating because I would send these big long text messages and get one-word responses back. I now find it really impersonal, and I would rather have a phone call than a text message.”

People can experience pseudo-intimacy through electronic media. Electronic media can be a device to meet people and develop relationships, but can limit a person’s ability to know people. Media sites lack nonverbal cues, which can make relationships difficult.

“When you’re texting, you’re thinking about them more, and so your memory of them increases,” said Lacy Smith, freshman. “I think it’s good they text a lot, then you know they are thinking about you. If they are just saying ‘yeah’, ‘OK’, it’s just like they are not really listening.”