Texting in relationships seems like a good thing, but is it?

Mary Rugolo

Throughout history, couples have used writing to express feelings and love for one another. But when we think of love letters, we think of some Shakespearean prince writing words of desire and love with a quill on a sheet of paper by candle light.

A lot has changed since then—the lighting has improved, and computers are so much easier than a quill and ink, but the need for expressions of love has remained the same.

With the introduction of texting in relationships, some say that this romance is saved. Now, long distance couples can keep in contact and women everywhere can get excited when he texts those sweet heart-to-heart messages, but has texting taken some of the romance out of relationships? Is an emoji with hearts for eyes really the same as an “I love you.”

Some people say that texting is equivalent to a love letter because it is writing, but there is a big difference between a piece of paper and a screen. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic or old fashioned, but taking the time to write a note with pen and paper shows that you care much more than texting a few emojis to someone.

This isn’t the only reason texting can be seen as a negative part of relationships. There are many downsides to texting within relationships.

For one thing, your message is always less clear. Sarcasm can be taken for anger or love for indifference. How do you know if your partner is mad or just in a rush when they send you “k?” That clever joke could be taken as an insult or the flirty teasing could be taken in the completely wrong way. Without seeing your partner’s facial expressions or hearing their tone of voice, it is impossible to understand what they are feeling while texting.

This isn’t the only way texting can disrupt the communication between couples. If you don’t receive a response within a few minutes, how do you know if you insulted your significant other or if they were just busy? Unless they have their read receipts on, there is no way to be sure—and even if they do have their read receipts on, you have no way of knowing if they got busy or if they are ignoring you. This can cause fights or feelings to get hurt for sometimes no reason at all. This causes a huge gap in communication, which of course is the key in all relationships.

Another reason is the lack of privacy. Guys, I think it’s time you know that when you text a girl who likes you there is a 95 percent chance that all of her friends have screenshots of your conversation with her. Plus the three-word answer she sent you took around two hours to compose and required assistance from four girls. When sending a text message to your significant other, you don’t know who’s looking at it. That flirty, suggestive text could be seen by his mom, best friend or little sister. There is a physical record of your conversations and feelings that can be seen by anyone. This takes some of the privacy and trust out of the relationship.

Conversations are also ruined by texting. I know that when I’m texting people, even the people I love, I’m not just staring at my phone waiting for a response. Instead I’m doing laundry, writing papers, talking to other people. You don’t have the person’s full attention when having a conversation through texting. This makes conversations through texting less important than conversations face-to -face or through the phone. When you’re talking to a person in person or through a phone you have to listen to what they are saying and pay attention. Your responses are more candid and honest. You don’t have the time to compose the perfect response like you do through texting. Instead, you normally say what is on your mind and what you feel which elicits more honest communication.

While there are many downsides to texting in relationships, it would be naïve not to acknowledge that there are some positives too.

People in long distance relationships significantly benefit from utilizing texting. Sometimes you can’t talk on the phone or Skype

your significant other. Through texting you are able to talk to them all day without having to actually take the time to have a long conversation. This is also useful when you want to tell your significant other small things that happen to you. Not everything is important enough for a phone call. You don’t need to call your boyfriend to tell him a joke you heard that reminded him of you or that you aced a test. In those cases, texting is the perfect form of communication.

In the end, texting doesn’t ruin relationships, but it shouldn’t be the only form of communication between you and your partner. When used properly, it can help keep relationships going. But, if you want to express your love to your significant other please call them. There is nothing that can beat hearing your significant other say “I love you,” not even a heart emoji.