Text message dating: the new preferred mode of communication. Lamentably, gone is the era of the love letter, the love poem a relic from the days of yore. Today we think we’ve snagged ourselves a good one when we receive a <3. Isn’t he sensitive?
Perhaps it’s the ease of use, perhaps we’re all plain lazy now, but dating text messages seem to have replaced phone calls. I can’t count the number of times that a date has ended with “I’ll text you later”, and, much to my dismay, actually finding myself happy about receiving his text message.
Spending days clutching my phone everywhere I go, jumping at every little beep and vibrate, cursing my girlfriend for texting me about her cat.
And nonetheless, we have let dating-by-text go on. For all its downfalls, you have to admit that text message dating definitely have its pros.
Text message dating pros #1
Inhibitions go out the window
Dating text messages are a pretty safe mode of communication, giving you a bit of a cushion when wanting to say the things that you would normally be too shy to say face-to-face.
We’re not all well-versed flirters, becoming flustered when faced with sexual innuendos or saying the wrong thing in a moment of panic. It’s easy to freeze up when faced with a strong flirter, the pressures of coming up with the perfect response besting you. More often than not, the light bulb only goes off as you walk away – the moment of should’ve.
But the texted flirt session is easier to handle. When not faced with a dazzling smile, away from having to witness a bad reaction with your own eyes, your creative juices can flow freely. Much like a strong cocktail, your inhibitions are freed with text messages, and suddenly you find yourself becoming the Shakespeare of dirty talk, penning one-liners that would make a porn star blush.
Text message dating pros #2
Time is on your side
If you are oft-tongue tied, text messages are your best friend. A tied-tongue is usually the product of fear – of rejection, of not living up to expectations, of saying the wrong thing,
Of course, like all fears, it is perfectly irrational and lives only in your head. Not that it makes it any easier. But with text messages, you are being given the freedom of time.
You can take as much or as little of it as you need to breathe until your brain reboots. You can wait until you’re ready to formulate your “right” answer without coming off as a mute – a luxury that the face-to-face interaction does not afford.
And with text messages comes the liberty of the edit. You are suddenly able to write, read, revise, think, and revise some more. It’s like being given a rewind button in life.
Moreover, you can enlist your roommate, best friend, sister, mother, and any other female in close proximity as your trusty editor. Take it from me; feedback and critique may be hard to take at first, but can also save you from a world of embarrassment.
Text message dating pros #3
Never be out of touch
For those of us happily in love, especially in the early stages of dating, we want to be with each other all of the time. We want to be able to reach out to him to share our every little thought and daily event.
With the text message, it doesn’t matter where either of you are, you can always be together. At work, the park, a movie, you are never far from each other.
Text message dating pros #4
Rejection isn’t easy, whether you’re giving or receiving. We’ve all been on the other side of it, and recognize the sensation of your heart dropping into your toes. Nobody wants to be the cause of that, to have that memory attached to our name. With the text message, you can subtly send your message by not sending a message.
Sure, it might be tinged with passive-aggression. Is it the most mature course of action? Absolutely not. But because the text message is so unreliable, with it comes a myriad of excuses for not responding: I didn’t hear my phone, I never received it, I left my phone at home/the office/in the car, my battery died, my dog ate my phone, and a whole slew more.
With the text message, you can pretty much get away with a level of rudeness not acceptable in normal social interaction.
Text message dating cons #1
By the same accord, texts are easily ignored! There are too many good excuses for not responding. You know what they all are – you’ve used them. When you suddenly find yourself on the other end of the unresponsive text, it’s inevitable that you grow paranoid. Did I scare him off? Did I say too much? Was I too forward? Why is he ignoring me?!?
The tumble down into crazy land is swift and steep.
But you also know that therein lies some truth. For every excuse that you are being given, it has actually happened to you at least once. It both rings true and false at the same time, in perfect unison, making you feel both better and worse.
Really, it only prolongs your stay in crazy land. A big part of it is your want or need to believe him, but there’s always a little voice in the back of your head that’s just screaming, BS!
Unfortunately, as there really is no established text message etiquette, permitting behavior that isn’t socially acceptable in any other context, the text can ultimately be plain confusing.
Text message dating cons #2
Lost in translation
Only adding to the confusion factor, the text message is so easily misread. A texted conversation is like broken telephone on steroids. The risk factor for misinterpretations, hurt feelings, outright insult is so much greater.
In a text message, it is almost impossible to decipher tone, intonation, and implication. You don’t have the pleasure of catching a devilish glint in their eye. You miss the slight tug of a suppressed smile. Never mind how cute those little moments are; they also serve as cues that he is teasing. Without the audio-visual to accompany the humor, it can read as just plain insulting.
Sarcasm often doesn’t play well in the text, even when followed up with a smiley face. Moreover, especially if you’ve grown used to people’s snarky ways, genuine feelings start reading as sarcastic.
The text message is the cynic’s worst dating tool. It’s hard enough as it is to believe that someone is actually good, that a relationship is actually progressing. Then you are given free reign to interpret.
Add poor texting skills and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Text message dating cons #3
Freudian text messages
With the text, especially in an important conversation, it’s almost too easy to screw everything up. Especially, if like me, you send before re-reading, text while on the go, or after a couple of drinks.
Suddenly your heartfelt, prophetic message takes on a whole new meaning. The conversation swerves into the ditch, and your left completely befuddled. Only after going back through your sent messages do you realize what just happened, and you’re left with a heaping mess.
From personal experience, I know that accidentally omitting three little letters, like an N, O and a T, changes everything. “I am not sleeping with him” now has an entirely different, and unintentional, meaning. It’s a pretty deep hole to dig your way out of,.
Text message dating cons #4
The text message, although so convenient, is also entirely impersonal. If you start out relying on text messages as your main vehicle of communication, you can find yourself having gone through the getting-to-know-you stage without actually having heard his voice. It’s almost too easy to hide behind the text message, keeping each other at arm’s length.
Text messages can build up until you’re left with a wall to authentic intimacy. Sincerity and authenticity are almost impossible to translate via text message in the beginning. Even if you’re dating a great wordsmith, it can be very difficult to truly believe the words you read.
With the text message, you are left without the sparks that fly between two physical bodies. There are no moments of electricity when you catch each other’s eye, no heart flutters when a coy smile breaks across his face. Too easily can your words be left hanging, accidentally overlooked and left to smolder in his inbox.
Text message dating leaves evidence
Possibly worst of all, if it all fizzles out, he is left with all this incriminating evidence. The removed nature of the text freed you to be the girl you always thought you were too shy to be. It was exciting in the moment when you fired off an indecent proposal; you got high from the boldness of those come-hither pictures. But now, you’re left with only the cringes, as you run through all that he has at his disposal.