How many hours have you gone without texting your significant other? I assume that most of us will answer something less than 2 hours to this question. Most of us will never answer anything over 12 hours unless we are working, sleeping or lost our cell phone in the debauchery of our weekend shenanigans. For the purposes of this article- sleeping and working do not count for giving you high fives on being away from your smart phone.
How many minutes or hours do you go without texting your significant other or a friend back? Or how many times have you taken awhile to respond to someone and minutes later they send you a ?
How many of us have our phones by our sides when we sleep and eat? How many of us get anxious at the thought of leaving the phone at home for a whole day? The answer to these questions: Most of us. When did we become a society that had to respond immediately or had to be told not to text and drive. I recognize that we are a society of now and fast, but when it comes to our relationships the notion of right away is destroying the wonders that make relationships special in the first place.
Recall being in high school and waiting for your crush to call. Your mom or dad would answer the phone and yell into the other room, “It’s for you!” You would get really excited, your face would get red, your heart would beat and your ridiculous smile would make your cheeks hurt. You would drag the phone cord as far as you could to get a little privacy. After a conversation in which minutes felt like hours you would say goodbye. After getting off the phone you would sit, smile and dream. You would repeat this for years, but then something happen. That same boy or girl you were interested in didn’t call, they sent you a text. Something along the lines of Hi;) It was enjoyable in the beginning but still not as exciting as getting a call and hanging up. You didn’t know that someone was into you instantly by way of emoticon. The excitement lingered for weeks and months not hours or days.
You see, we never hang up with text messaging, it is this ongoing conversation that literally never has an ending. When you are in a relationship you never get the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” because you are all up in each others messaging all the time. Or if you are dating and one party decides to make it have an ending (i.e not texting back) we get confused and wonder if we did something wrong. Maybe he thought I was mad. Maybe she doesn’t think I’m funny. Maybe he doesn’t want me anymore. We make all these guesses because we actually have no idea how anyone honestly feels anymore because you can only try to interpret through messaging. The bottom line is our cell phones are ruining our relationship satisfaction because there is no excitement in it anymore. All the maybe thoughts or the anxiety that you have should only lead to one thought, I am too available which is boring. This isn’t people wanting what they can’t have, this is a genuine human response to want excitement and wonder.
Your boyfriend, girlfriend, or dating partner has access to you anytime- all the time. But it goes both ways. We can not have the expectation that people have to get back to us this second. That people have to text us no matter what they are doing. Maybe someone is busy. Or maybe they just don’t want to talk to you right now. And honestly, why is that second one not okay? Am I really obligated to talk to everyone who texts me every second that they do it? There are times when I don’t feel like it. If we were all honest, we would understand that we all feel like that at some point. Maybe they had a long day. Maybe they don’t like you. Maybe they don’t have their phone on them. Maybe they are in a meeting. Whatever the reason is, if you want to get to the point of someone sticking around and being in awe of you- you have to be a little mysterious. You have to stop being boring and available. You also have to remind yourself that even if the other person is going to be offended by not hearing back from you right away, that is on them, not you. It speaks volumes of the assumptions that they will make throughout the relationship.
I honestly hear this time and time again, “He hasn’t texted me back.” I then ask, “Well how long has it been?” Reply, “Well ten minutes.” My response is always the same. It has only been ten minutes. I am not sure what the etiquette is for response time in texting, but there needs to not even be a window. Whoever the person is, they will see the text, and they will respond to it when they damn well please. In the end, the person texts back if they want to continue to engage with you. If this is someone who you are starting to date and they don’t text back- that’s called rejection. I get it and I am not afraid to admit that it has happened to me many times. Brush it off and move on. The point is, we need to remind ourselves to talk instead of text. To be patient instead of anxious. We need to put the excitement back into our dating lives and relationships by giving someone something to miss and by us missing them.
The Cynical Therapist came to be when two therapists became friends. SoulMates or Kindered Spirit Animals… Call us what you will…. We are two bad*** chics Licensed to teach you how to grow into your full potential and add some humor along the way.
Laurie Wilson and Elle Anzalone are both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Huntington Beach, CA.