Can Texting Sabotage Emotional Intimacy?
Randi Gunther, author of Relationship Saboteurs: Overcoming the Ten Behaviors that Undermine Love, clinical psychologist and marriage counselor for 4 decades, shares her take on the impact of texting on emotional intimacy in committed relationships.
Gunther implores couples to remember a time before the Internet. Consider how intentional and full of deliberate care interactions once were. Letters and long phone conversations lent themselves to more careful communication.
Of course, younger couples may honestly not remember those pre-texting days. For them, hand-written communication is a rarity. Phone conversations seem time consuming and inefficient. Technology allows us to feel like we’re connecting with others, when texting is actually quite self-serving.
Text messages, by themselves, cannot be the primary form of communication on a daily basis. After all, they are fraught with potential misunderstanding:
- Tone may be misinterpreted, emoji’s can be confusing, and the moment lost to incorrect translation.
- The fact that you are texting amid environments not conducive to conversation could cause a text delay that is interpreted as dismissiveness, inattention or negativity.
- The intermittent nature of texting can also interrupt the steady build to physical intimacy. While sexy texts and pictures can be transmitted, the cues and physical patterns that prepare your mind and body for true connection later are poorly imitated by texts.
- Poor timing is also an issue. Without communicating in each other’s presence, it’s easy to become mismatched emotionally and feel stressed by attempts to multitask your relationship, texting, and whatever is happening around you.
Gunther devised eight general guidelines for balancing texting and face-to-face connection. Among other things, she advises that when a text “requires attention and thought, tell your partner that you will answer when you can do the message justice.” She feels that long, highly emotional content should be broken up to determine your partner’s ability or willingness to engage. Also, it is important to tell each other “where you are, with whom, and what is going on while you are sending the text.” Finally, urgent or intensely private messages should be strictly remain person-to-person.
Mastering texting this way will ensure that it becomes a communication skill not a reason for disconnect.
Read the full article here: Can Texting Sabotage Emotional Intimacy?
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