Dr. Helen

Is Texting Important to a Relationship?

A reader asks Amy Alkon if she should break up with her boyfriend since he doesn’t think texting is a form of communication:

My boyfriend will text if he’s running late but says texting “isn’t real communication.” He says that if I need to talk, I should call him. I get that anything serious should be discussed via phone. However, we live separately, and sometimes I just want to reach out in a small way with a funny photo or a word or two and get a word or two back. When he doesn’t respond or grudgingly responds a day later, I get more and more hurt and angry and want to break up with him. I know he cares about me. Am I being unreasonable?

Amy has a good response, indicating that the woman is asking for a bit of communication that the boyfriend is not providing and that the reader should let him know that she needs a bit more interaction. Fair enough. However, in the past, we weren’t able to communicate so quickly and people had to be more patient in their love lives. Now, not so much. However, not texting back at all might be an indication of the boyfriend’s lack of interest. Technology lets us know people’s feelings in a whole new way.

Is that good or bad? Both, probably but it seems like technology can ruin relationships or make them more difficult to maneuver with all the unwritten rules that come with it. At the same time, women expect men to text and act in ways that are congruent with how they view communication and that is expecting a lot.

What do you think? Is texting a turn-off? Is it hurtful or helpful to relationships?