Put your thumbs down and open your ears. How incorrect text language can destroy your relationship.

We all do it, multiple times a day. Texting our partners about everything from how our day is to the logistics of family life. But what if all this texting get you into a bad habit of always texting, especially  when you should really be talking in person?

We’ve all experienced those texts that were read wrong,  caused confusion, were misinterpreted or just mean. These can leave us feeling confused, hurt, or angry and can damage our connection and trust. Have you ever sent a text wishing you could take it back? But you can’t. When we text things out of reaction, this can also escalate problems and risk your relationship happiness.

There are six main mistakes couples make with texting.

The six things to avoid when texting is:

1. Insults

“I knew you were going to be late” or ” God you’re an idiot”. These types of insults are damaging and disrespectful. They are never pleasant to receive, not fun to read, can set the mood for conflict. Then, of course, the issue remains as it stays in their messages forever, you can never escape those words, so just don’t write it.

2. Apologies

Apologies should always be made in person. Sure a brief apology may be in order but  save it and tell them in person, look them in the eye and mean it. For example, if your partner asked you a why question about why you are cranky or being rude and you respond with an excuse such as “I was tired” or ” I’ve had a bad day”  instead of then apologizing  say “I owe you an apology” and then take all the time you need to say it in person appropriately as this is respect and consideration.

3. Revelations or Bombshells

We need to say important information more personally. Regardless if it is a comment or disclosure such as ‘not sure if this is working for me’ or ‘I think I found a lump’ or even if you want to say ‘I think I love you’, should all be said personally. The reason is because you want to be supportive of their shock or distress rather than leaving them floundering wondering what the heck they are going to do with that shared information.

4. Relationship issues

Texting someone was never intended to be used instead of personal conversation. Texting over a comment made earlier that morning, personal problems, even wondering about a decision you need to make or an event that has occurred that upset or excited you. It is always best to wait for a face-to-face opportunity to discuss these. You may be excited and text ‘can’t wait to tell you what happened today, see you tonight’. Creating anticipation is also healthy and may result in them calling you to speak personally over the phone, Skype or Zoom or whatever other App is shared.

5. Private information

Never text personal or private matters like something that was shared between you either sexually, personally or financially. We can lose our phone, we can breakup and they may share to embarrass you; a range of reasons to restrict our shared messages. The amount of relationship breakdowns I see due to one partner seeing the words shared between their partner and another is astonishing. I am bewildered why anyone would do this. Then, of course, the issue of sharing naked or sexual pictures can be perilous as well. Once out there in web-land, it is open for all to see or use forever. This is a new fact of life, unfortunately. Financial things like credit card or bank details texted and exchanged can also present an issue in this day of hackers or future exes.

6. Questioning the other person’s behaviour or text

When we apparently have a misunderstanding or need to clarify something bothering us, the first thing we often do now is text. Mistake!
We need to give the other person an opportunity to understand why we are upset and explain  it in person. When we question someone over text, it can be seen as an attack and we become immediately defensive. A conversation face-to-face or even voice-to-voice, where we hear the vocal tone and see the body language of the other is imperative.

Doing all we can to avoid conflict is essential to keep your relationship growing. Most of us seem to proceed with our relationship unaware of the issues we can unknowingly and unintentionally create. We become confused as to the reason they took it the wrong way when the whole thing would likely have been avoided with a conversation.

So everyone, thumbs down and open the ears.

Read more from Dr Karen

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