You Must Be “textually Compatible” With Your Partner
We’ve all been there: you send a text to your partner and you’re left to read. For your part, you’re thinking, “What’s so hard about answering the text?” On the other hand, your partner may think, “I’ll answer later,” and not think about anything else. If this sounds familiar, you most likely have text compatibility issues.
“Text compatibility means that you have similar habits and preferences when sending text messages,” says Heather Shannon , LCPC, CST, licensed professional consultant and certified sex therapist. “Maybe you both like text like ‘good morning sexy’ or maybe you both like to update each other during the day about how things are going. It may also mean that text messages are not your preferred method of communication and you agree that this is the minimum part of your relationship.
Since text messages are the main form of communication these days, a lot depends on how we text each other, including when, how often, and what we text. If you’re not text compatible with your partner and don’t try to work out your communication issues, then your relationship is likely to suffer.
How do you know if you’re text compatible in a relationship?
According to Shannon, you’ll know there’s an incompatibility if either of you starts getting frustrated with texting instead of enjoying it. “Pay attention to your emotions,” she says. “Do you send a text and then get worried when you don’t get a response? Do you feel compelled to respond quickly, even if you have other things you would like to focus on? Do you find yourself touching emotional topics through messages and trying to resolve disputes in this way, and the situation only escalates? If yes, then there is a problem with text compatibility.
On the other hand, if texting with your significant other seems smooth, stress-free, and puts a smile on your face, Shannon is saying you’re fine. “You may even feel closer and more connected through text messaging. In this case, no changes are required – just enjoy,” she explains.
Why do some couples have compatibility issues when texting?
At the heart of text messaging incompatibilities are issues with attachment styles, communication preferences, dating stage, communication clarity, and even work schedules.
“With attachment styles, one person can be more anxiously attached and therefore want more connection and reassurance in a relationship, and text is one way to get that,” Shannon explains. “Someone who is more avoidantly attached tends to want more space and independence, so they might get offended if someone bombs their phone with messages.”
In terms of communication preferences, you may prefer phone, video, or face-to-face interactions where you receive tone of voice, volume, and non-verbal cues, while your partner may prefer the convenience of text messages and the ability to communicate asynchronously. a conversation that could cause problems between you.
When it comes to clarity of communication, Shannon says, “I think we’ve all come across people who have texted us and we’ve been wondering what the hell they were trying to say and didn’t even know how to respond. They seem to assume that we are inside their brain and understand their typos, missing words, unique phrases, abbreviations and incorrect idioms.” In these cases, it can be difficult to clarify what was meant due to text message format limitations.
Finally, couples may have different work schedules and working conditions. “Some of us work for ourselves from home and have a lot of flexibility throughout the day. We can get bored and want to get distracted, and texting is perfect for that,” notes Shannon. “Others work in the office, working face-to-face with clients or all day in meetings where texting is frowned upon or even impossible.”
Text messaging compatibility fix
Ironically, Shannon recommends turning to technology. “One solution I like when one person wants a comfortable asynchronous conversation and another wants to hear tone and intonation is something like WhatsApp audio messages or Marco Polo videos,” she says. “We are so lucky that we exist in an age where there are technological solutions to many of these problems.
But first, you must talk about your problems in person. “When there is any conflict, you want as much communication data or feedback as possible,” says Shannon. “Personal communication allows you to look into each other’s eyes, maybe even hold hands and speak with a sense of compassion and understanding for each other. If that’s not possible, Shannon suggests at least calling to discuss how you’re feeling.
When you get along, Shannon says it’s important to say what you want to say without making the other person make mistakes. “One of the things I’ve started telling my couples clients when they disagree is that they’re both right and it’s their job to see how right their partner is. When we stop blaming or judging our partner and try to truly understand their point of view first, amazing things can happen…when we understand deeply, I think it brings us 90% closer to a solution.”
But texting isn’t everything in your relationship.
While text compatibility certainly helps, Shannon notes that it’s important to remember what compatibility means to you and your relationship. “For some people, texting can be their primary mode of communication and therefore very important,” she says. “If you only date someone once a week and don’t like phone calls, then texting will become more important. On the other hand, if you see each other several times a week and talk on the phone from time to time, the text messages may only be for logistical purposes or casual flirtatious sex.” bottom line? Decide what works for you and your partner.