Couples May Split Due To Inappropriate, Overused Texting
October 31, 2013

Couples May Split Due To Inappropriate, Overused Texting

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

While couples who show their affection through texting may keep the romance alive, a new study by researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) has found that when the same couples excessively resort to text messages to discuss their feelings or to have a fight, their relationship could suffer.

According to this study, couples are sending a plethora of texts to one another every day. Some of these messages are simple updates throughout the day, some are used to express affection, and some are even sent to get one another on the same emotional page. While this technology certainly works well to bring couples together, inappropriate use or overuse of the technology could drive couples apart.

Communicating via text also affects each gender differently.

For the study, BYU researchers Lori Schade and Jonathan Sandberg found that women, who used texting to apologize, convey their feelings, or make heavy decisions in regards to the relationship, said they were less happy in their relationship. Men, on the other hand, said they were less happy in a relationship if they received too many texts from their significant other. Yet both genders said they felt better about the relationship when they used text messages to convey short, sweet messages of affection and had heartfelt conversations in person.

To understand how texting is affecting relationships, Sandberg and Schade found 138 couples and asked them to complete an online relationship assessment. The couples who participated in the study were not just in casual relationships; nearly half (46 percent) reported they were engaged, 38 percent claimed they were in a “serious” relationship, and 16 percent said they were married.

Unsurprisingly, 82 percent of these couples said they exchange text messages regularly throughout the day.

According to Sandberg, many of these couples carried out some serious relationship business in their text messages, conversations that are healthy but normally carried out face to face. The delay in exchanging text messages can sometimes skew the intended meaning and leave a bad impression, however.

“Reaction to disappointment and reality testing occurs more quickly face to face,” said Sandberg in a press statement. “There is a narrowness with texting and you don’t get to see the breadth of a person that you need to see.”

Men in particular were affected by texting, reporting less satisfaction in their relationship when they received or sent frequent text messages to their significant other.

“We’re wondering if this means men disconnect and replace in-person conversations with more texting,” said Schade. "Maybe as they exit the relationship, they text more frequently because that’s a safer form of communication. We don’t know why, that is just a conjecture.”

Where texting was found to be quite beneficial to relationships is in sending happy, lighthearted and affectionate texts to one another.

The BYU researchers say two old pieces of wisdom hold true in today’s connected world: It’s better to give than to receive and if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all -- or in this case, text. If there is an unpleasant situation that needs to be dealt with, it is probably best to wait until it can be dealt with in person rather than through text.

Interestingly enough, another researcher from BYU was involved in a recent separate study that involved texting and liars. In that study, researchers discovered that people who are lying may take longer to send a text to another person. Perhaps such a finding could also contribute to more relationship troubles when couples take too long in sending their messages to one another.

On a final note, the current study found that those who sent texts reported feeling better about their relationship than those who received the text.