Testing the waters () is easier in an electronic medium; the casual approach helps shield individuals from rejection.It can be a safe way to figure out if someone is interested.While technology makes it easier to avoid having difficult face-to-face conversations, those conversations are often having in person, despite the discomfort they can bring.If nothing else, they are growth opportunities and adhere better to the social expectations for how a breakup should occur.
This can be a healthy pattern if it creates a balanced sense of connection and dependence, but if instead individuals begin to feel an overdependence, such that the texting is preventing them from other activities—like attending to other relationships; meeting academic or career responsibilities, —the outcome is dissatisfaction (Hall & Baym, 2012). Without our non-verbal signals, messages can be misinterpreted or misconstrued, leading to uncertainty and anxiety.
In heterosexual relationships, women who text more frequently tend to feel happier in their relationships, and their partners do as well (Schade et al., 2013).
Interestingly, though, the more men text with a partner, the happy they tend to be, the less happy their romantic partners tend to be, and the more their partners tend to report considering breaking-up with them (Schade et al., 2013).
Applying Walther’s (1996) hyperpersonal model to text messaging reveals three key advantages: Some people find it complicated to manage the simultaneous demands of an in-person conversation (saying hello while deciding whether to hug, kiss or just shake hands; maintaining a smile and eye contact; not spilling one’s drink) and understandably prefer to text.
Texting does help those who are nervous, or who have shakier interpersonal skills, avoid potentially stressful encounters.
Technology that once supplemented relationship development is now, it seems, taking on a larger role in relationship formation and maintenance.