How important is texting in a relationship? It’s the way that we communicate with our partners (or potential partners) the most, so we might as well pay attention to it. That’s what psychologists at Pace University did when their study, published in Computers In Human Behavior, took a close look at how our texting habits affect our love lives. The results? If you want a happy relationship, go for a guy who texts like you.
- The study broke down every element of texting behaviors to determine how they affect our relationships. Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 who were coupled up answered some survey questions. The majority of the participants—74% to be exact—were women. Given that there are so many different ways to text our partners, that’s what was studied here. We can text to say hey and check in, we can talk about something that’s bugging us so we can get some clarity on it, and we can message them sweet nothings and tell them how much we care about them. But what does it all mean?
- There was a link between texting the same way and being happy in the relationship. There’s definitely a connection between being really happy with our partners and feeling like we have very similar texting habits. We’ve probably dated someone who was a horrible texter and tried to act like it wasn’t a big deal, all the while absolutely hating it. Logically, this one makes a lot of sense.
- Who texts first matters. One thing that was studied was “perceived similarity in initiating texts.” This seems to suggest that we want to feel like we text our partner first sometimes but they also text us first other times. Obviously no one wants to feel like they’re in a one-sided relationship, so again, no big surprises here. We want to put effort into the relationship, sure, but we also want our partner to do the same thing.
- Who texts on a regular basis matters too. “Perceived similarity in texting frequency” was also studied. In other words, we never want to be the ones who are texting our partners 24/7 and getting one-word or vague answers (or worse, no reply at all). If we’re into texting all the time to ask how their day is going and to chat about stuff, we of course want them to text us just as much.
- Women might care more about texting than men do. Since more women than men were studied, that might suggest that women are the ones who take texting the most seriously. This could be because we like staying in touch with our partners when we’re not with them and maybe they feel the same way but wouldn’t necessarily admit it. We don’t need a study to tell us that we obsess over texting way too much. It just helps to know that we’re not worrying for no reason—texting really is a big thing.
- Communication is honestly the key thing. No matter how we’re talking to our partners, whether it’s via our iPhones or in person, we want to make sure that we’re communicating properly and frequently. That’s why these findings are so interesting. After all, if we love to text a lot and our boyfriend hates it, that’s going to drive a wedge between us or cause some resentment eventually. We need to feel like we’re communicating and that’s where texting comes in.
- We want to feel like we’re on the same page. This is especially true when something’s going wrong in our relationship or we want to broach an important topic. It feels pretty natural for us to talk about a problem over a text message, and there are actual findings for that. The study references research that says “the most common reasons young adults used electronic communication (including text messaging as a close second to cell phone calls) in their romantic relationships were to express affection (75%), to discuss serious issues that they felt could be confrontational (25%), and to apologize (12%). Further, younger participants (17–25 years old) were more likely to bring up these topics over text than older participants were.” If we talk about this stuff over text messages and are able to solve problems, we’re definitely going to feel better about our relationship.
- It proves that we have more stuff in common than not. In the end, we want to have a lot of things in common with the person that we’re dating. That makes everything easier, from deciding what movies or TV show to binge watch to even deciding what to make for dinner. It only seems reasonable that we want them to text like us too.