Ina Fried

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Texting Can Be Good for Relationships (But Also Really Bad)

Is texting good or bad for relationships?

Well, yes, according to a new study.


Flickr/Ei Katsumata

“The use of texting with cell phones can increase intimacy by making partners more available and expanding their repertoire of connection,” according to a report in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy. At the same time, the study’s authors caution that “texting is devoid of important face-to-face cues,” raising the risk of miscommunication and real damage to the relationship.

Also of note, the study found that repeated texts from male partners was a negative sign for relationships, while the same was not found of relationships in which women texted more.

Barbie Adler, founder of Chicago-based executive matchmaking service Selective Search, said that men who rely on texting are seen as not taking the relationship seriously.

Adler said that, regardless of gender, it is how one uses texting that matters most. The occasional text in the middle of the day to say you are thinking of someone can be sweet and romantic. But relying on texts as a primary means of communication — especially for the hard stuff — is a bad idea.

“Something that is really important should be done in person or at least over the phone,” Adler said in an interview (done over the phone, not by email).

It’s important for couples that do use texts or email to be sensitive to how often the other person is at a computer or phone, Adler said, as well as to make sure that both people have similar expectations on how quickly to expect a response.

There’s another danger with always texting. You could end up missing out on meeting Mr. or Ms. Right.

“I always say get your head out of the iCloud,” Adler said. “Mr. Right could be right next to you.”

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