If your relationship with someone is almost entirely text-based, there’s a good chance you’re in a textationship. If this situation isn’t handled properly and quickly, it can become nearly impossible to salvage and turn into a meaningful relationship instead of a texting relationship.
With texting becoming one of the main forms of communication now, these aptly named textationships are becoming more common as a side effect. Phone calls used to be the main way of contacting someone when you wanted to talk immediately. But now texting has become the standard. Texting is less invasive and allows the person to respond at their leisure which is seen as more polite than a phone conversation.
This was fine for years but now it has shifted too far in the direction of texting being the primary form of communicating with a friend or girlfriend. The excess texting and reduction in face-to-face conversations have created the dreaded textationship.
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What is a textationship
Urban Dictionary has a pretty good definition that we can start with. It describes a textationship as a friendly, romantic, or sexual relationship where text messaging is used as the primary (or only) means of communication. One major reason for this is that it is more comfortable to use text since it is less personable. Texting doesn’t require much (if any) emotional connection. This makes it require less emotional energy while still feeling like you are forming a connection. But the connection will be superficial texting is the only communication channel used.
Another major reason for potential romantic relationships falling into the textationship trap is that people still get some validation by texting. This is the same kind of validation that women get from getting likes on their selfies on social media. It is shallow and superficial but the validation feels real.
Romantic textationships rarely progress into healthy relationships if they stay in the text-only phase for too long. The lack of intimate connection in the starting phase of the relationship will stunt the chances of growth in the long term. Many fresh relationships are doomed to fail because they fall into this trap of relying too much on text and turn into pen pals.
Signs of a textationship
To be clear, texting isn’t inherently bad. It is a great tool for dating as long as it isn’t abused and used to excess. A relationship where texting is not used at all would be incredibly rare nowadays. As long as other forms are communication are present then texting will probably not cause a problem.
So here are some signs that your relationship may be falling into this trap of textationships:
You text all the time but never meet up in person
This is a huge red flag that indicates you are stuck in a textationship. This happens all the time when doing online dating. You exchange numbers and spark up a nice conversation over text. Then you talk about meeting up in person but one of you always seems to find an excuse not to actually meet.
Both of you have become comfortable enough texting but some of the romantic tension has faded. Meeting in real life is too much effort. Eventually, texting slows down and becomes less interesting. Then it fizzles out without even having a real chance to blossom.
By never meeting, you never have to face the discomfort that you might not click together. You don’t have to find out that they don’t look as good as in their photos. You don’t have to get to know the other person at all because it was easier hiding behind the veil of the less personable text message.
Reverting to texting after meeting
In this situation, you do meet up with the person at least once, maybe twice. That’s great that you have taken the chance to meet someone but it can still revert back to a texting relationship if you don’t work to keep seeing each other in person.
After the first or second date, you start to backslide into a textationship. Maybe you even liked each other. But one or both of you stopped putting in the effort to push the relationship forward. If this happens, it is usually the guy’s fault since he is expected to be the one who is making moves in the beginning.
By taking the easy path, the text-only, virtual relationship will never progress any further into an intimate relationship. It will remain in this mysterious limbo where it could have blossomed into something special, or it could have broken apart. By letting it drift into a textationship relationship, you’ll never really know.
Can you develop feelings through texting?
Yes, but it is not ideal. Like I said before, texting itself isn’t the problem. Texting can be a useful tool in relationships. The problem is when it is the only tool used.
When you are developing a relationship, texting should be part of it but shouldn’t be the sole avenue of communication. Couples who only text and don’t meet up still form some connection but without phone calls and personal meetups, it usually isn’t enough.
You can definitely develop feelings for someone you’ve only ever texted but it is harder to gauge how the other person feels. Texting doesn’t convey emotion and feeling like a voice conversation can. Written messages are easy to misunderstand and misinterpret.
As a general rule, once you have had several dates and started to nurture a real relationship, you don’t have to worry as much about how much you are texting. This biggest risk of falling into a textationship is at the beginning stages of a relationship before you’ve had a chance to bond in person. Beware of slipping into a text relationship during these fragile early days.
How texting kills relationships
Just as people have different likes and dislikes, people also have different communication preferences. Some people just don’t like to text much. If you are overly texting someone who prefers talking on the phone, you are going to kill the relationship.
You want to get a feel for how your partner likes to communicate or you can hurt your chances with her. Friction between partners over differing communication styles can cause big problems in relationships. If it seems like you are always the one to send the first text, try backing off and see what happens. By giving her a chance to dictate how you communicate, you will get a better feel for her preferences.
Another way that texting is misused is when people try to handle problems or arguments over text. This is rarely the best way to solve a problem. Remember, texting doesn’t convey emotions and inflections nearly as well as speaking does. Text messages can be interpreted in negative ways even if they weren’t written with negative intent.
When you have problems to hash out, don’t do it over text. It is impersonal and not nearly as effective as speaking face-to-face. You can’t see the body language and facial expressions that are only present when you can see each other.
Is a textationship good or bad?
If you’ve made it this far, you already know the answer. A textationship is what happens when you take the easy way out and don’t try to develop a real relationship with another person. Textationships may provide a false sense of comfort but it doesn’t last. It doesn’t take a relationship coach to see that something is wrong with this arrangement.
It is better to take the chance of meeting her in person and risk being rejected or having her end things than letting the potential fizzle out. By using texting as your only mode of communication, there is no real sense of a relationship. Reading letters on a screen can never compare to looking into her eyes and hearing her voice.
Take the chance and just maybe it will turn into a real relationship with love rather than a textationship.