There are plenty of things to worry about in the initial stages of dating someone new. But few compare to the anxiety surrounding texting.
Why are they taking so long to reply? Have I sent too many messages? What if they stop asking me questions?
These are just some of the irrational questions that can spring to mind when in the throes of infatuation.
Hence why it’s perhaps unsurprising that one study found the average adult spends nine minutes drafting a single text when dating someone new.
But how often should you really be texting someone you’re dating? The answer depends on several factors, namely your communication style and that which you’d like to maintain in a relationship.
“Some people like to keep in constant contact and basically chat all day,” says dating psychologist Dr Madeleine Mason Roantree. “Others hate texting and prefer to meet in person.”
However, even if you are one of those people who like to be in constant conversations with someone you’re dating, it might be worth taking things slowly, advises Rachael Lloyd, relationship expert at eHarmony.
“Don’t be that ‘binge texter’ who wears their heart on their sleeve straight away,” she says.
“The early stages of a relationship should be about building rapport and connection piece by piece, rather than serving up a whole mouth-watering pie all in go.”
This could also lead to things fizzling out between you much faster. “Often relationships that start off with intense texting can start to feel overwhelming for one or both parties, and the initial passion can suddenly wear off like a pair of battered trainers,” Lloyd adds. “This is because too much texting can lead to burnout.”
There are other considerations, too, such as what you both do for a living, as this will impact how much you’re able to text someone during the working week.
“Some jobs allow for you to chat all day, others don’t,” Mason Roantree adds. “It would be unreasonable to expect to text all day with someone who for example works as a hospital surgeon.”
Once you’ve taken this into account, you’ll be able to manage your expectations and, hopefully, avoid disappointment.
But issues with texting compatibility could still arise, leading you to think you’re contacting someone too much, or not enough.
“This is really about synchronisation,” says Lloyd. “You need to read the room. If your partner is texting you five or six times a day, then pool some of the messages and reply no more than twice a day to set a healthy text boundary.”
While you don’t want to start overthinking things or playing games, it’s worth looking out for non-verbal cues that indicate what your partner is and is not comfortable with when it comes to texting.
“If you find that when you take the initiative, they don’t reply for an hour or two, or worse still several hours, they’re signalling they have other priorities to attend to,” says Lloyd.
“I always say to my clients, avoid double texts and triple texts. Keep early-stage texts kind, flirtatious, fun but relatively measured in length and volume.”
If it’s really getting to you, and you find yourself recognising that you have different texting styles, it might be worth having an open conversation with your partner about what each of you wants and needs.
“This will help both of you understand each other’s preferences and find ways to overcome incongruities moving forward,” says Dr Mason Roantree.
It might be the case, however, that you do recognise a key texting incompatibility between you, in which case it could be time to rethink the potential relationship.
“Texting is essentially a mirror of your communication style,” explains Lloyd. “So, texting compatibility is a key metric in establishing whether you’re likely to have a happy, healthy long-term relationship, or more of a flash in the pan.
“Ask your partner what works for them text-wise and share your own feedback. As long as you both do this willingly and kindly, any hiccups in this area can quickly be resolved.”
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