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.
These relations are complex, as men who text to express affection tend to have partners who feel more attached to them. Using technology to connect in romantic relationships: Effects on attachment, relationship satisfaction, and stability in emerging adults. It's quick and easy, and I can still do other things while I wait for confirmation.
For both men and women, the more they use texting to hurt a partner (inciting jealousy, expressing anger, etc.) the less attached their romantic partner. However, I have seen texting become a hindrance in my romantic affairs in several ways.
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).
Communication dating relationships
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).
The more texts people receive, the more they feel obligated to text back, creating a cycle of mobile relationship maintenance (Hall & Baym, 2012).
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.
Sure, they talked on the phone or maybe sent the occasional letter, but the core of their relationship centered on face-to-face interactions.
A subtle shift seems to be occurring in today’s dating relationships and it warrants our attention.