Romantic partners who text alike report more satisfaction in the relationship, new research shows.
How’s your text life?
While being glued to our phones has often been called out for wrecking relationships, new research suggests that having the same texting habits as your partner can actually increase your happiness with each other. And some couples who sext (in moderation) report more satisfaction in bed.
Researchers surveyed 205 adults between ages 18 and 29 in romantic relationships and quizzed them about their emotional security, texting habits and relationship satisfaction. They found that lovers sharing a similar texting style to their significant others reported greater relationship satisfaction.
And those in-sync texters were more satisfied even if they were firing off complaints about each other; so regardless of whether you’re texting that they left a mess in the living room or sending sweet love notes, you’ll report having a better relationship as long as you’re both sending messages that are a similar in tone and length, no matter how often you text. (You also might want to watch your punctuation if your partner is a stickler for grammar, as a recent dating survey found that error-ridden texts are a bigger turnoff than bad sex.)
“How couples texted was more important to the satisfaction of the relationship than how frequently they texted,” said Dr. Leora Trub of Pace University while presenting the findings at the American Psychological Association Convention in San Francisco on Thursday.
This supports previous research that has shown couples who communicate similarly in any medium, such as actually chatting on the phone, by email or in person, are happier in their relationships.
So by extension, texting can bring people closer together — or create distance, depending on how it’s used. After all, about 77 billion messages are sent around the globe every day. “We text to check in with our spouse during the work day and to stay connected with friends far away, but we also text to avoid dealing with relatives at the family party and to break up with someone,” added Trub. So beware the dark side of instant messaging.
Sexting gets a little more complicated, however. A related study surveyed 615 adults in committed relationships from the U.S. and Canada about sexting behaviors and pornography use, self-esteem and commitment, relationship satisfaction and conflict, etc. While the people who did not sext and the sexters were both just as happy with their partners, the sexters did report more sexual satisfaction than those who didn’t sext.
Yet “frequent sexters” who sent steamy messages several times a week, and “hyper sexters” who sent graphic messages every single day or multiple times a day, were more likely to experience conflict with their partners, engage in unfaithful behavior and watch more porn.
“Sexting may help couples with intimacy and to spice things up, but we definitely did see the negative side of too much of a good thing,” said Dr. Michelle Drouin of Purdue University Fort Wayne, who presented the findings.
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