I am not expert, but from what I have observed – I have concluded that we are far into the digital age, where we have the technology to be connected almost constantly. Yet, many people are feeling more disconnected than ever.
We all need to feel loved; we long to feel connected to others, especially loved by and connected to our partner. It is important to reach out and touch your partner frequently, not only physically in non-sexual ways, but also digitally. It feels good to know that your partner is thinking about you and takes a few moments to let you know. It can also feel especially bad to feel ignored, or perhaps even worse, to face a bombardment of hostile words.
Before you send that next text, ask yourself, if your message is a gentle touch or is instead a punch in the gut or slap to the face. Words texted in anger can be even more devastating than words spoken in anger, since the message is saved on your partner’s phone and can be reread over and over and over and over.
Further, I text can be more damaging because the recipient cannot see the facial expression, thus making his/her own conclusion. I frequently have friends wanting to share what their partner has texted to them. Each time they reread the message, the hurt is inflicted anew.
Now, since I’m a caring and thoughtful guy - I would like to suggest some Basic Texting Protocol:
- Be respectful, use respectful language and avoid shouting at your partner via text
- Have reasonable expectations, your partner may not be able to answer immediately, that does not necessarily mean that they are ignoring you
- Be courteous, if you will be unavailable to answer messages for a period of time, or if your job is not conducive to texting, let your partner know
- Be courteous, if you read your partner text, but don’t have time to respond, agree upon a response that will let your partner know that you will answer when you can, like sending “k talk soon”
- Be reliable; follow through with what you say you will do
- Set healthy boundaries; if you are starting to get angry, let your partner know. Something like, “I’m upset. Need some time. We will talk tonight”
- Respect your partner’s boundaries, if your partner asks for a texting time out, respect that request, rather than pushing for a response
- Be proactive, rather than get into a texting war, pick up the phone and talk to each other or wait until you can talk in person
- Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Understand that it is easy to misunderstand text messages
- Be patient, expecting an instant response will lead to disappointment and frustration
- Be courteous, do not ignore your partner’s texts to punish them or avoid them. That can be disastrous
- Be respectful, do not stalk your partner via text messages
- Be clear; sit down, face to face and be honest with each other about your expectations around texting. Decide on reasonable response times, how to ask for time outs, and what feels supportive rather than destructive
Miscommunications happen frequently when couples are talking. They happen exponentially more often when couples are texting. But talking about and making some conscious choices around texting protocol for you, should help avoid some of the common pitfalls and make texting a connecting rather than disconnecting experience for you.