NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, January 8, 2018

How Texting Could Ruin Your Relationship

In a prior article, I discussed the importance of unplugging from cellphones and other devices in order to have quality time in your relationship (see my article: Relationships: The Importance of Unplugging From Cellphones to Spend Quality Time Together).  In this article, I'm discussing how texting about important issues with your spouse or significant other could be ruining your relationship.

How Texting Could Be Ruining Your Relationship

There's no doubt that texting is a convenient way of communicating when you want to confirm a lunch date or tell someone that you're running late.  But I've seen too many instances in my private practice in New York City where individuals and couples get into trouble by texting about important discussions.

There have been countless times when an individual or a couple comes to see me and begins telling me about an argument with their significant other.  Over time, I've learned, even when people tell me that they were "talking" to their partner, to ask if they were talking in person, over the phone or texting.

Invariably, when there's been an argument, the answer is often that they were texting, and many misunderstandings occurred due to this form of communication.

I usually tell individuals and couples in my private practice to refrain from texting their significant other when the topic is important because there can be too many misunderstandings via text.

Problems With Texting About Important Discussions
If you've having problems communicating with your significant other in person, you will have many more problems if you're texting about serious issues for the following reasons:
  • You Can't See Facial Expressions and Body Language With Texts:  So much of what we communicate is interpreted by more than just words.  Facial expression and body language are important components of communicating, and these components are missing from texts.  
  • You Can't Read Tone in Texts:  Emojis are a poor substitute for tone.  You might text your significant other a message that you think sounds kind and tactful, but without tone your significant other might read a very different message because s/he is interpreting the message with a different tone.  Lack of tone in texts makes a big difference.
  • You Don't Know Why There Are Delays in Responding to Texts:  Many people text during the day while they're at work.  They might be texting to their significant other about a serious issue and the two of them are arguing back and forth when suddenly one of them stops responding.  It might be that s/he had to go into a meeting or the boss stopped by to talk, but it also might be that s/he is angry about the last text.  How do you know what's happening?  You don't--until you hear back from him or her.  In the meantime, you might be fuming because you're interpreting the delay as angry silence.  Before you hear from your significant other again, you could spend the rest of the day being unnecessarily annoyed or worried.
It can be tempting to text when you're unable to talk in person or over the phone, but when it's an important issue, rein in your impulse text.  Wait until you can see your significant other in person so there will be fewer misunderstandings.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you and your spouse or significant other are having problems communicating, you could benefit from seeing a licensed mental health professional who can help you to overcome the obstacles to having a happy, fulfilling relationship.

Rather than continuing to struggle on your own, you could take the first step by contacting a licensed psychotherapist so that you can free yourself from your current struggles.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.