The text message relationship.
Our phones have become like our life support. There’s a place for them on the table beside our cutlery, we attach them to arm bands when we jog, we’ve made them waterproof for when we bathe, and we’ve substituted all other lifestyle necessities into app form. Our phones are host to our banking, calendars, assignments, photos and our music. Most of us do everything of importance on our phones. So is it so strange that some handle their relationships over the phone? Text message break ups have always been such an evil little taboo, but if we can text “I love you”, why can’t we text “it’s over”?
“We can try to pretend that we’re all old fashioned southern belles, but we’re not anymore,” says Kerstin, 22, serial text messenger. “We do everything through text or Facebook. You meet someone you like and you get their number and start texting. That’s how it works now.”
Valid point. Relationships flourish through texts. In the pie chart graphing the “honeymoon period” of meeting someone new, constant texting takes up a significant and delicious slice. Good morning texts, bored at work texts, sexts, deep and meaningful 3am texts… SMS is the rich soil in which relationships grow. So why is it ok to start a relationship with texting, but not end one?
“Because we’re all so phone-addicted, sadly it’s not outside the realm of possibility that you could receive word that your beautiful and endless love has run its natural course via text message,” says Rebecca Jane Stokes, Sparklife writer.
Admittedly, it’s kind of a dick move. I’ve ended almost all my relationships through text and it was for the simple reason that looking someone in the eye and saying “you don’t mean anything to me anymore” is super hard and I hate it. Maybe I’m an emotional cripple, but what kind of weirdo actually wants a face to face breakup? My ego quivers at the thought of someone sitting me down like some low level employee and handing me a pink slip with pity in their eyes. No, thank you. Just text me so I can “LOL K” and walk away with some semblance of dignity.
“That’s the worse thing you can do to someone,” says Mitch, 26, dumped via Facebook. “It’s so pathetic and cruel. It’s like, yeah it’s hard breaking up with someone, but I’m not worth that for you? I’m not worth a few uncomfortable minutes for you to spare my feelings and show me some respect? You’d rather treat me like some worthless dog?”
Fair enough. But when asked how he would feel if someone asked him out via text, Mitch had a very different response.
“Yeah that’s totally different. It’s cute asking people out on dates and stuff with a text. You’re shy and you’ve been texting all day and you throw it out there and it’s just way more comfortable. I literally texted my girlfriend from morning to night when we first started talking and like that’s how all relationships start,” he says.
But is it possible that we start relationships through texting for the same reasons that we end them through text? Relationship coach Ronnie Ann Ryan says texting is so appealing because it minimises the blow of rejection, and provides more control over the conversation.
“It’s a safer way to flirt, since you can plan a smart quip and avoid awkward silences that crop upon the phone or in person,” She says, “Up to 38 percent of singles aged 21-50 say it’s an easy way to set up a date.”
Staying in your comfort zone, avoiding awkwardness, having an easy exit out of tense silences…These sound like the same reasons people use texts to break up with their partners. But both starting and ending a relationship through text use the same logic and reasoning, so why is one more acceptable than the other?
In fact, it’s gotten to a point where not texting your interest before the first date is considered strange. Pre-date texting is like researching a property before an investment. 60 per cent of single people say they communicate more frequently with potential dates because of their phones. The awkward hesitation of first dates is diminished by the pre-established flow of conversation that the non-stop texting helps develop. But experts on New York Post say that starting a romance through text is just as bad as finishing one, claiming that even though it may seem like you’re getting to know the person better before your date, it’s actually a “false sense of intimacy.”
“It’s like you’re on your second date in terms of info, but your first date in terms of physical chemistry, which can make things awkward,” says relationship expert Christine Hassler.
Experts agree that constant texting is “toxic” for relationships. So, if beginning a relationship through texting is just as bad as ending a relationship through texting, what do we do? Are experts really suggesting that we put our phones down and talk to each other face to face for a healthy romance?
Majority of relationship coaches urge couples to keep the heavy texting out of their love lives. Whether its the start or the end, it’s best to handle these matters hands on. Smart phones are great for reducing everyday necessities into their most basic and convenient forms, but relationships should not be one of them. – Newsha Tari