Relationships evolve over time, but the changes are often subtle, emerging over months and years.
So data scientist Alice Zhao decided to analyse her and her husband’s text messages from when they first met in 2008 to the present day, in order to chart how their exchanges had reflected their journey from dating to becoming engaged and getting married.
And the results?
Over time, she and her husband sent less flirtatious and loving messages to one another and instead conversed more about meal times and other everyday practicalities.
The prevalence of the phrases “hey” and “love” decreased”, while “dinner” and “ok” became more common.
Additionally, the times at which the pair exchanged messages also changed. Early on in their relationship they would usually text between 3pm and 3am, but as newly-weds they usually message each other during working hours.
As Zhao explains on her blog, the seeming journey from excitement to routine is not as clear-cut as it appears.
Zhao said: “The main difference is that while we were dating, we didn’t see each other every day, so a lot of our communication had to happen via text. We’d often message the other person to see what they were doing or tell them that we were thinking of them.
“As a married couple, since we’re together all the time, we set up date nights and say sweet things to each other in person, so texting is mostly used to confirm logistics or share random thoughts.”