Dating and texting articles
(In her practice, she’s had a couple who, if they got into a fight, would go into separate rooms and start writing emails to each other—she lauds that as a way of getting the problem solving going.) Synchronous methods, like a voice or video call, or a dedicated couple of minutes for back and forth texting, are better for providing support—that “social presence” of instantaneous interaction provides a virtual shoulder to lean on.And while you wouldn’t want to have the conversation on the first date, Hertlein encourages couples and couples to be to articulate what their preferred messaging style would be, given workloads, preference for alone time, and other needs.“Couples have problems when a partner doesn’t respond because you have now violated the contract in the relationship.” There’s good reason to believe that we treat our texts—and the phones that contain them—like we treat our relationships in general.Leora Trub, who runs the Digital Media and Psychology Lab at Pace University, has sketched this out under the framework of attachment theory, which is perhaps psychology’s best model for understanding what’s really driving our relationship dynamics.He revealed himself to be a master of the maintenance text.
Texting has become the way that we keep in touch: between Whats App and SMS, some 77 billion messages are sent per day globally.
Maintenance texts are the glue that holds modern relationships together. So is a link to an article about Timothée Chalamet making out with a mysterious blonde woman with a “Looks like he’s taken; you’re stuck with me.” (Note: While technically a maintenance text, a generic “good morning [heart eye emoji]” text is vomit-inducing and cheesy and is best left to teenagers.)The maintenance text harks back to a time when the only things you knew about each other were that you both knew Randi from college, who set you up, and that you were both probably going to sleep together.
I don’t want to get all “how to date in the world of the Internet,” but we are all online and therefore on-phone almost constantly. In nascent relationships, inside jokes are all you have, so you lean on them like Johnny Depp leans on makeup to make his roles seem interesting.
A 2015 Pew study found that 70 percent of smartphone users surveyed thought their phone offered them freedom, while 30 percent thought it felt like a “leash.” And in a paper published last year, also in Computers in Human Behavior, Trub found that people tend to see their phones as both a refuge—they felt safer with it and distressed without it—and as a burden—an obligation to communication that they carried with them wherever they went.
Respondents scoring highly on anxious attachment measures were more likely to endorse statements like “I feel naked without my phone” or “I need my phone with me at all times,” meaning the phone was something of a security blanket keeping you close to the reassurances of the social world.