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Are You in a Texting Relationship?

What to do if you find yourself in a text-only relationship.

What to do if you find yourself in a text-only relationship.

"All We Do Is Text."

Welcome to the world of the text message relationship, a relatively new phenomenon. Legions of people across the world are now involved with a significant other this way, especially those under the age of 35.

What Is a Texting Relationship?

Texting relationships are comprised of ongoing communication with someone you're interested in or someone you are supposedly going out with, but all you do is text message each other. There is no actual dating, and many times there aren't even phone calls involved.

Why Can't You Do More Than Text?

You are being kept at arm's length for a reason. Here are some possible motives.

  • You are low on the texter's list of potential partners. He or she might be communicating with you to keep you open as a dating option, but is not likely serious about you. You want to be at the top of someone's list!
  • Your texter isn't the dating type. They aren't into movies, concerts, walks in the park, dining out, or even getting a hot dog from a concession stand. This person probably can't be taken away from their video games or reality TV shows long enough to consider having a real relationship.
  • Your texter is a player. He or she just wants to sext you, and only considers you as a means to an end. They might be doing this with a number of people. The only possibility you have with this person is as a booty call.
  • Your texter is not ready for a real relationship. He or she might have been hurt badly in their last relationship and possibly use texting as a way to not feel lonely, but not get close enough to have a real relationship.
Text message relationships

Text message relationships

Texting Relationships Cheat You Out of Real Relationships

Yes, we live in a world where people want instant gratification without any effort, and that is what is unfair to you about it. Romantic relationships involve making efforts—efforts to show you really want this person in your life. They take calls, and much more than that—in-person, eye-to-eye conversations, dates, sitting under the stars— all the treats that make you feel wanted and loved.

And if all someone can do is muster up typing to you and avoiding you in almost every other way, then they are the wrong person for you. Period. You don't need a serial texter in the place of a real boyfriend/girlfriend.

How to Figure Out If All They Want Is a Text Message Relationship

If you feel it isn't quite obvious what your texter's intentions are, try:

  • Walking up to them at school or work and striking up a small conversation. If he or she is averting your gaze, looking at their watch, or in other directions, like they can't wait to get away from you, that is all you need to know.
  • Calling them during one of your texting sessions. If they don't answer, it's obvious. If they do answer, say something like, "I just wanted to break the ice, and say hello for real, so we can get past the texting," or "All we do is text. Maybe we can just relax in person and get to know one another." They are likely to say anything at this time—that they are cool with it, that they'd like that, etc.

    But pay attention to what happens in the following days. Do they stop texting you? It's likely that they weren't comfortable with going to the next level. If they still text, do they still try to avoid talking on the phone? Again, this is a sign that they are unwilling to move forward into a real relationship with you. Drop them like a hot potato if they won't take it to the next level with you.

"All we do is text."

"All we do is text."

When a Text-Only Relationship Is a Good Idea

You should only settle for a texting relationship if you have extenuating circumstances:

  • You have a long-distance relationship. Texting is the only way you can really feel close to this person at a moment's notice.
  • You have different work/school schedules. This makes it very difficult for you to get together or even talk on the phone.
  • You're forbidden from seeing the other person. In this case, you probably shouldn't be communicating with them anyway.

Texting Poll

When two people really like each other, they can't help but want to be with one another. Don't settle for anything less than the full deal.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can a relationship become truly serious over just texting when we live miles apart?

Answer: I think that you can have companionship with texting, but not a romantic relationship. This is because there are so many facets to communication and romance that I don't feel texting can cover all of them. That said, I think you can develop a relationship starting from text and it can blossom when you meet and spend time with each other.

Question: Is it "normal" for a girl, specifically, that you've met online, but you go to the same school, to carry on a texting relationship or even Skype once in a while, flirt with you, and then drop you out of nowhere?

Answer: Although this might be a disappointment for you, these days it is normal. Many people change their minds about the person they chat online/text with. People disappear when they don't want to carry the relationship on anymore. It is best to move to in-person meetings and phone conversations as soon as you feel comfortable. It will help you and her gauge whether you both want to move forward, and you will be better able to tell by voice and/or body language if it will not work out. Some people drop out of nowhere because it is easier than saying something that might hurt the other person's feelings.

Question: What do I do if I am communicating with someone through text, but both of us do not want to/are not allowed to meet in person for some years?

Answer: Everyone likes a pen pal/texting pal. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to meet as long as it does not hold either of you back from leading healthy, full lives.

Question: I have a boyfriend who just wants to text all the time. I haven't seen him in person for almost a month and we rarely talk on the phone. We are lacking on communication. Should we just break up?

Answer: You can tell him how you feel. If he still doesn't plan to meet up with you soon after (without a really good excuse), then it might be best to stop texting. If he wants to be an active part of your life he will try to find a way.

Question: Why is my boyfriend is acting like he's jealous of me?

Answer: I would ask him if he feels any jealousy, and then if he does, why? Maybe you can address an issue for him.

Question: We are in a long distance relationship and all she wants to do in the age of video calls is text. I have confronted her but she keeps giving excuses and becomes somewhat distant when I get pushy about it. We have had a video called before, but it's been weeks and over 90% of communication is text. Is this a red flag? What could really be going on here?

Answer: She could be hiding something. Sometimes when people are uncomfortable about their appearance they do this. Another thing might be that she is not as serious about the relationship as you are. She might also need a lot of time to do her makeup and hair to feel presentable on camera, and that is time she might not want to spend this way.

Question: Can my long-distance boyfriend truly be in love with me if he never calls? It’s been more than 18 months that we've known each other, and both of us said:”I love you”.

Answer: Does he text with you on a regular basis? Is the problem that you want to move the relationship forward to phone calls and he isn't moving towards that? Someone who loves you tends to keep in somewhat regular contact and generally tries to get closer to you. If you have a texting relationship you can always say something like, "I'm getting bored from texting. It's getting inconvenient for me. I'd rather talk on the phone."

Question: I am not able to meet my girlfriend much because of some restrictions from her home. We have been together for 5 months but still have not gone out for a proper date. Should I stay or should I leave?

Answer: If you will not be fulfilled in this relationship without being able to date her, then you will need to explain this to her. Give her a chance to see if she can change this as well.

Question: How do I make our texting conversation not a boring one? I have this doubt that maybe he'll get bored during our texting conversation.

Answer: You could talk about what you think he finds interesting. For example, is there a sport or team he likes a lot? You could brush up on that information. Is there a hobby he has? You can show interest in that as well. The more you get into detailed conversations about things he likes, the more he might be engaged. However, if he has a romantic interest in you he might switch topics.

Question: My ex reached out to me after 3 months of no contact. He said he's sorry, wants to see me, and that he misses me. However, it’s now been 2 months and he hasn’t gone through with meeting me. He planned it once and he cancelled due to working late and stress. What should I do here? Have a plan like 3 strikes and he's out?

Answer: I would not get too involved in reconnecting romantically with him unless he is showing follow-through with his stated intentions. It could be work, but it could be other things too. You could leave the line open, just stating to him you'd just like to reconnect as friends for now. That way the pressure if off, but something could still happen romantically between you two in the future. You could date other people in the meantime so that he knows you are not waiting around for him.

Question: We text only and he won't come to the store I work at to say hi, why?

Answer: It would seem he is not interested romantically if he doesn't want to see you in person.

Question: I just started a good friendship via texting. We both wrote we were interested in the other. Out of the blue, he went silent. My feelings are hurt and I miss our chats. Should I just write off this relationship? We are in our 50’s and 3000 miles apart.

Answer: Yes, if he has gone silent and ghosted you then it is best to turn your attention to more engaging people and activities. It is alright to text and chat with multiple people at the same time if you aren't in a committed relationship. This way you keep your options open -- even if it is just for friendship.

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