Texting acquaintances requires so many decisions. How many exclamation points are too many? Can you use multiple has and still convey maturity and/or sobriety? If you respond right away, will you look like a loser?
That’s what’s so great about texting your significant other: You don’t have to overthink it. Unfortunately, a new study in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy will dispel this confidence. Apparently texting too much, or texting about the wrong things, can undermine your relationship.
Time reports that researchers at Brigham Young University examined the texting habits of 276 adults ages 18 to 25, all of whom were either in serious relationships, engaged, or married. The results are a lot to parse: Men who texted their romantic partner more frequently reported lower satisfaction with their relationship, whereas women who texted more tended to report higher-quality connections with their SO. It also turns out that not only are women guilty of apologizing too much in person, but also via text, which is a real romance buzz kill. Researcher Lori Schade speculated that men may text more as they’re trying to exit a relationship, since it’s a safer, more distant method of communicating.
The study did find that couples who sent affectionate text messages tended to report more romantic satisfaction, but even this finding is not quite so simple: It seems it’s much more satisfying to send a loving text message than to receive one. Really, you might as well delete your love interest’s number from your phone now while you’re still ahead.