Texting your partner can cause relationship problems
They say that communication is the key to good relationships, but in today’s technologically driven society, a lot of couples are resorting to email and texting to work through problems instead of communicating face-to-face.
Indeed, texting has become a preferred method of communication, especially among those aged 18 to 24 who send and receive approximately 4000 texts per month, with a large volume of such texts being exchanged between partners in a relationship, according to the Fifth Annual Digital Marketer Report released last April.
However, researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU) have recently found that too much “faceless” communication like texting can actually cause problems in a relationship.
In a new study, published recently in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, the researchers gave questionnaires to 276 individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 who were in a committed relationship.
Among those participating in the study, 48 percent were engaged, 16 percent were married and 38 percent reported their relationship was serious. Approximately 82 percent reported exchanging numerous texts with their partner on a daily basis.
Each of the participants was required to complete the questionnaires, which were designed to find out how they, as individuals, used technology to connect with their romantic partner.
After analyzing the completed questionnaires, the researchers noticed that the number of texts sent, as well as what the texts said, were both important factors that helped determine the quality of the relationship.
Although the study revealed that approximately 82% of the participants exchanged several texts with their partner on a daily basis, not all of them were loving – and the more a couple argued in their texts, the more they reduced the quality of their relationship, according to the researchers, who added that many of the couples in the study used text messaging as a type of “relationship maintenance”.
Interestingly, women especially experienced reduced quality in their relationships when they apologized in a text or otherwise tried to resolve a dispute with their partner through a text instead of face-to-face communication.
As study author Jonathan Sandberg of BYU pointed out, while communicating face-to-face is better, it can also be more difficult because you're forced to see your loved one’s “reaction to disappointment”, something you don't see when communicating via text.
He further explained that there “is a narrowness with texting”, which prevents you from seeing the entire scope of your partner’s response and feelings like you would if you worked out differences face-to-face.
The researchers also found that the more texts a man sends his loved one, the more he reduces the quality of the relationship with his partner, which study author Lori Schade said led the research team to ask if it weren’t possible that texting made men “disconnect” by replacing face-to-face communication?
Schade also wonders if texting occurs more frequently when leaving a relationship because it feels like a “safer form of communication”.
SOURCE: Using Technology to Connect in Romantic Relationships: Effects on Attachment, Relationship Satisfaction, and Stability in Emerging Adults, DOI:10.1080/15332691.2013.836051, Lori Cluff Schadea, Jonathan Sandberga, Roy Beana, Dean Busbya, Sarah Coynea,published in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 28 October 2013.