The One Big Mistake You Make When You Text Your Partner

Couples come to me all the time telling me about fights and misunderstandings they’ve had over (and due to) text. The amount of confusion, missed cues and frustrations that people experience due to texting blows my mind.

Singer Nick Cave said, “Texting is apocalyptic on some level. It’s a reduction of things.” Take this to heart. Texting often reduces what could be times to connect and strengthen your relationship, into times that diminish and separate you as a couple.

If you don’t want texting to undermine your relationship you need to understand the one big mistake you’re making when you text your partner. If you’re ready to start connecting instead of dividing, then follow this one key rule and never argue over text again. The one rule: Text only facts, not feelings.

No conversations should happen over text that have any emotion, inner thoughts or deeper messages. In other words, if you have to use an emoji to be understood, you shouldn’t text it. Whatever you text should be totally understandable without an “LOL,” “jk” or sad face in sight.

If you’re ready to share some feelings or discuss an issue, it’s time to stop texting and start talking face-to-face (or by phone, at the very least). We’ve become a society too accustomed to speaking “at a distance” which leads to saying things we’d never say in person (check out Jimmy Kimmel’s mean tweets if you don’t believe me) and huge misunderstandings because we’re not hearing tone or seeing facial cues.

I want you connecting with your partner every chance you get and this means truly relating. You want to see the loving or confused look in your partner’s eyes and hear the warm or frustrated tone in their voice. Connection isn’t something that happens once a day. It’s something that can happen every time you interact. Texting what should be said in person is not only a missed opportunity, it’s also a chance to screw up royally.

Make a rule, that you’ll only text logistics. This includes things like where to meet for drinks, what time you’re leaving work, and finding out if you need to pick up milk on the way home. None of these needs an emoji to understand it’s meaning or tone. It’s simple, straightforward and to the point. If you want to throw in an “I love you” or “Can’t wait to see you” be my guest, but don’t start a conversation on this level.

In the end, it’s fine to use texting for help with everyday planning and coordination with your partner, but everything else is off limits. If you’ve got something more to say to your partner, you’re going to need to use your mouth, not your fingers. (Unless you’re having sex, then you can use both).

Kate Rufener