What if you knew what men secretly wanted but they could never tell you

It’s simpler than you think and I’m here to tell you how.

Texting Dos and Don’ts in a Relationship – 8 Relationship Experts Share their Incredibly Effective Best Practices

by Sally LeBoy – MS, MFT, Sherry Marshall – BSc, MAA, Jessica Bronner – MS, MFT, Amanda Patterson – LMHC, Annie Ready Coffey – PhD, Amy Sherman – M.A., LMHC, Jennifer Twardowski – Relationship Coach, Brett McDonald – M.S., LMHC

“If you’re REALLY interested, texting is not enough.”

~ Unknown

If You are Really Interested Texting is Not Enough Quote
Sally LeBoy

Texting has become the communication of choice and why not? 

It’s so fast, and generally, for some reason, less likely to be misunderstood than emailing. Maybe our expectations of a text are lower. It’s a cool shorthand that conveys the what and where, with probably more to follow. 

Emails are distressingly open to interpretation while texts seem somehow to avoid that pitfall. 

My own texts are pretty short as my fingers seem to turn into gargantuan sledgehammers on the keyboard. I’m jealous of all those dexterous thumbs!

As to the appropriateness of texting, I think what makes it attractive is also what makes it problematic in some circumstances. 

Conveying subtlety of thought or feeling is probably going to take more that the 140 word limit of a text. There is an abrupt quality to a text; it’s also pretty casual. Definitely not the way to propose or break up!

I think the biggest problem our women readers face is the speed with which one can communicate by text. 

This lends itself to overuse. It’s so easy when the anxiety of not hearing fro him rises, to just pull out the phone and shoot off a text: “Hey, where r u?” or “Had fun last night. U?” 

Where you might not call or email, fearing to come across as needy or desperate, the off-hand nature of the text could seem a bit more acceptable.

Personally, I think the same communication etiquette applies to whatever device one uses to make contact. 

It’s really the frequency and boundaries that are the issue. While there’s nothing wrong with initiating that first text, the next one should come from him. Texting “R u ok” when you haven’t heard back will not sound like concern; it will sound like desperation. A string of such texts is stalking.

Understand that dating is a give and take process of contact and communication, a process that can’t be rushed. 

If you become anxious at not hearing back, there is a message in that that must be respected. His lack of communication could have do with any number of factors, but you can’t control it. 

My advice is to send your text, same as you would with a phone call or email. 

Then wait. Until you have an established relationship, over-texting will come across as needy, the very quality that makes most men head for the hills. Once your relationship is established, the two of you will work out your texting preferences together. Problem solved!

Sally Leboy, MS, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com

Sherry Marshall
  • What is the best way to use texts when you are in a new relationship? 
  • Does it help you become closer together or can it hurt the delicate beginnings of connection? 

There is a lot of advice connected with what to say and how often to text a guy you have met. 

It tells you to let him text first, as ‘guys like to chase’ and only text as often as he does. Also to use self – restraint and don’t make your messages too long. Be fun and flirty and don’t over share because you really don’t know each other yet.

Never text when you are upset or angry. 

Also don’t text too much as texts are easy to misunderstand which is also true of emails because the usual visual and audio cues/signals are missing. This can lead to misinterpretation and confusion.

Research has shown that as this medium is fairly new, there are no real guidelines or established etiquette yet. 

Teenagers and people up to 25 now use texting as a major part of relating. There is more texting in newer relationships than more established ones. 

The positives are that it is quick and easy and also gives you more time to think about what you want to say. 

During the early stages of a relationship texting can help reduce uncertainty and lessen anxiety.

However it enables people to avoid or lie, be unreliable and inappropriate. 

Intimate conversations and photos can also be shown to other people. The more people text, the more you may feel obliged to text back and it can create co-dependence early on, before you really have decided what you want. Also, often a lack of a quick response is interpreted as a rejection and can be detrimental to the relationship.

Call me old fashioned, but I feel that texting is not a quality interaction. 

Dating is about physically spending time together, so use texting as an adjunct to meeting. Talking and laughing together, flirting and having fun when you see each other, works so much better. 

Looking into each other’s eyes, reading non-verbal body signals, touching and kissing replaces texting every time for feeling closer and more connected to each other. 

I would say that relationships grow faster and better when texting and emails are kept to a minimum, not for the ‘strategic’ reasons given in tips on texting, but simply because meeting the person, means we can read their emotions and allows us to really communicate.

Yes, use technology, Skype or phone as at least you have hear the tone of the person’s voice. It allows you to really get to know the guy and whether he is interested in you and vice versa. Use texting for practical arrangements of when and where to meet and some checking in with each other. 

So, overall, texting is linked to relationship satisfaction and stability in the early stages, especially if you establish clear guidelines that suit you both. However, don’t substitute it for real relating in person.

Sherry Marshall, BSc, MAA – www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/connect/sydneyprocesscounselling

Jessica Bronner

In today’s uber connected tech world the rules of communication in dating are evolving at warp speed. 

The days of sitting by the phone with bated breath waiting for that special someone to call are long gone. Instead we Email, G Chat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and of course text. 

To further complicate things we can now communicate 24/7 from our desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. To assist in navigating this new dating sea follow these quick text tips.

1. Do not over text. 

A quick confirmation prior to a date or a simple thank you afterwards is thoughtful and kind. Texting all day everyday makes you appear needy and may be a turn off to your new found crush. Best to maintain an air of mystery.

2. Remember that any text or picture you send is no longer private. 

Forget about your new lover bragging to their friends; worry about the internet which means your boss, your exes, your kids, your new in-laws, your grandmother, your future boss, etc. You get the point.

3. Avoid over abbreviating. 

LOL. IDK. OMW. WTF. Using a few straightforward abbreviations is fine however when your text begins to look like computer code or hieroglyphics its gone too far. Try to keep messages simple and easy to decipher.

4. If you are out having cocktails with your friends best to put the phone away. 

Drunk texting may help to seal the deal for Mr. Right Now, but not Mr. Right.

5. Be aware of your use of emoticons. 

A smile or a wink is nice and can help convey a playful vibe to your message. Overuse makes you look like a 13 year old girl, not a look anyone should be going for.

Although texting adds a new dimension to modern day dating the time tested rules still apply. Be honest. Treat people how you would like to be treated. Be yourself and have fun!

Jessica Bronner, LMHC – www.counselingservicesassoc.com

Amanda Patterson

1. Do let texting be a way for you two to get to know each other

We live in a day and age where we have instant contact to people. You have the opportunity to use texting as a way to share stories throughout the day, which can bring closeness to a relationship. Share about yourself via text but keep reading the next suggestions.

2. Don’t let it become the only way you get to know each other

Texting is very convenient. I’ve heard plenty of stories where people have a relationship solely via text message. Is that the type of relationship that you want? Are you comfortable with only texting? 

Using the phone and calling is another great way to get to know someone and have a relationship. 

That used to be the only way people did it. The art of talking on the phone is not gone yet. You can keep it alive with late-night chat sessions or calling between meetings to share about your day.

3. Do respond to texts within an acceptable amount of time

There is a balance between being too eager and responding immediately and playing games and not responding for hours. If you have the time to respond, then respond. 

If you are going to be MIA for a couple of hours, give the person a heads up. This begins the foundation for the open communication between you two.

4. Don’t text too often

Beware off exhibiting Stage 5 Clinger behavior. If you text them and they don’t answer, let them text you back. Give people space and room to follow-up. If they aren’t not responding how you want them to, you may want to look at your expectations or evaluate their interest level.

5. Do use texting to share in ways you couldn’t over the phone

How great is it that you can send cute pictures via text and have another person experience you in the moment, even if they are miles away? You can send your favorite memes or quotes via text. 

If you know the other person is having a bad day, you can send them a funny video. Texting can be a means to connect in ways talking on the phone doesn’t afford you.

6. Don’t send anything via text that you wouldn’t want to be seen by others

Do not, repeat, do not send anything you wouldn’t want to get out. This goes for explicit pictures, rants about people or other me have material. Phones get stolen and hacked all the time. 

Information on a phone can get out. Do you really want a sexual picture being circulated of you? If the answer is no, then don’t send the picture.

7. Do mind your manners when texting

It’s easy to forget that there is someone on the other side of the screen receiving your texts. Please and thank you’s still go a long way via text.

8. Don’t assume that level of texting signifies level of interest

Some people love to text. Some people have all the time in the world to text. Some people don’t like to text. How often a person texts does not automatically equate to level of interest. 

Take some time to evaluate the other person’s texting patterns and if you notice a change, then talk to them about it. Ask them if they have the type of job where they have access to their phone at all times.

9. Do trust your gut about texting

If something feels off about your texting relationship, then follow through with it. Take some time to look into how you are feeling and then do something about it. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it or address it with the person.

10. Don’t overthink texting

It’s just another form of communication. Are you overthinking your phone calls? Are you overthinking your in-person meetings? If you are, working on your overthinking is going to be more important than changing your texting pattern.

Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com

Annie Ready Coffey

Texting can be a wonderful and efficient way of communicating. 

This is particularly true between people who know each other well and between people for whom there is a deep level of trust. 

When a couple brings its own idiosyncratic set of references or shorthand into its communication, then the pair can employ a fun, flirty, expedient way of sending and receiving messages whether the content of the messages ranks as important or not.

But not every couple is so lucky or its members so well known to one another. 

This is precisely why – if you are new or relatively new to each other – you might want to risk talking about and establishing different texting rules for you and your partner. 

In the worst case, you’ll be laughed right out of your partner’s Contacts list but, in the best case, you’ll steer clear of multiple opportunities for misunderstandings and texting etiquette slips – whether they are intentional or unintentional.

Case in point: Imagine reaching out to a person you are newly dating with a simple: 

Hey? If five minutes go by without an answer your true self might be ready to add: Hey? You there? (Notice the properly capitalized and punctuated sentences? 

WARNING: Chances are great that your efforts to control the quality of your writing will do nothing to increase the responsiveness of an inattentive or legitimately busy recipient of said text message.)

But, in a new relationship, you are unlikely to have reached the ability to be your true self. 

You are left to worry (no matter how much you want to share something important) that a second attempt to reach out via a text might be interpreted as going too far. So, what are you supposed to do?

If no “rules” or preferences have been discussed, then you’ll have to choose:

  1. Deal with the frustration of staying silent,
  2. Try again (but remember that your subsequent tries might be perceived as “blowing up your partner’s phone,” or
  3. Focus your attention on something entirely different. Return to reading your novel; call your Mom, Dad, sister; go to the gym; make yourself a mocha.

Think over what you need to do to avoid this texting standstill in the near future. 

When two people are working to open up to and connect with one another, it’s much easier to feel more certain about how well you are communicating when you can see the person, hear the inflection in his or her voice, or reach over to apply a loving/teasing squeeze. 

Perhaps your rule can be as simple as: 

“I don’t text unless I have to; I’ll save what I want or need to say until I see you next.” 

This translates easily into 

“We don’t text unless…” and “We’ll save what one of us wants or needs…” 

Then explain that the better you two get to know each other, the more you can imagine texting about subtler things. 

End by saying that you have wasted too much time in the past worrying about whether your text has been received and really read (despite what some phones indicate).

As you progress in your relationship, be willing to re-evaluate the rules and be ready to laugh at yourself or your partner once you show each other that you are consistently trustworthy. 

When you are regularly able to entertain various reasons for a gap in your texting (“Did she have that conference call all morning or did she tell me she was going to run out for a haircut during her 45 minute break this morning?”), then you’ll see that you have risen above your original (and perhaps strictest) rules and have every right to celebrate – via emojis and all!

Dr. Annie Ready Coffey – www.replenishmentandchange.com

Amy Sherman

Communication is not as easy as it seems. 

In fact, most relationship problems stem from a “lack of communication” between the partners. 

One person misinterprets what the other said and before you know it, the relationship unravels into an ocean of resentment, anger, mistrust and even revenge.

This can all happen when both parties are “clueless” as to how they come across or impact each other. 

Communication is not easy when you are simply on the phone or even face to face. Imagine the problems you can have if your communication is mainly through texting!

There are certain do’s and don’ts when it comes to relationship communication and an understanding of them all will help improve, if not strengthen your relationships:

1. Face-to-face communication employs effective body language skills so your partner knows you are engaged and interested. 

When you text, tone of voice, posture, eye contact and other non-verbal communication is absent, making the situation open to misinterpretation and assumptions.

2. Clarity is lost when you text as many words are abbreviated for speed. 

To be sure you are understood, spell everything out clearly, using punctuation where appropriate, so your nuances are clear.

If you want to strengthen your intimacy and your connection with your love partner, you can do two things with your communication. 

  • The first is to text only when absolutely necessary, so you won’t sabotage your relationship with misunderstandings and false interpretations. 
  • The second is to talk on the phone or face to face, especially when issues are very important.

You don’t want to short-cut your way through your relationship by eliminating the most fundamental, real aspect of your partnership. 

A gentle touch, a soft smile, a cute giggle can validate an intimate moment much better than any statement in text. 

This is what you want in your relationship, so don’t kid yourself that you are really communicating while texting. If you are looking for relationship fulfillment, text minimally and talk maximally to create the “real thing!”

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com

Jennifer Twardowski

When it comes to texting while in a relationship I have a fairly simple rule of thumb: 

  • If it’s simple, to-the-point kind of conversations, then text away. 
  • If it is conversation that is more in-depth then it’s better to talk in person or on the phone.

If its simple conversation include things like: 

Asking when he will be off work, texting him to let him know that you’re coming over, asking what is plans are for the weekend, and so on. These are the kinds of conversations that are easily comprehendible. 

There’s little to no emotional charge behind them because you’re basically just letting one another know what you are up to and asking simple questions with simple answers.

Now, if the conversations become more in-depth then text messaging should be avoided. 

These are things like: bringing up an argument that the two of you experienced the day before, expressing your stress or frustrations from the day, letting the other person know that something they did upset you, and so on. 

These kind of things can be easy for us to do via text because it feels a bit less vulnerable. The act of doing it through text makes us feel enough separation that it feels better and easier for us to share through this type of communication. 

However, the big downside with this is that it opens the door for a lot more misinterpretations and problems. 

So if you have anything to share with your partner that is more emotionally-charged for you, then be sure to either call them or hold out talking about it until you can actually talk about it in person. 

You may very well save your relationship by doing this because it greatly increases the likelihood of greater intimacy by sharing anything that’s a bit more vulnerable face to face or on the phone.

Jennifer Twardowski, Relationship Coach – www.jennifertwardowski.com

Brett McDonald

Today’s technological advances provide us with increasingly convenient and efficient ways to complete tasks and communicate. 

There are huge upsides to this, but there are also some significant downsides to the never-ending pursuit of efficiency. 

Finding the fastest and easiest ways to relay a message is a benefit in business, but it can be a liability in relationships. 

The whole point of a relationship is to have meaningful, experiential connections, which belies an embracing of process rather than outcome.

Therefore, when considering the use of texting your loved one, be aware that you don’t want to embrace convenience to the point that you are alienating your partner. 

Our ability to nurture each other requires us to embrace process, meaning we take the time to relate to each other and find that time itself valuable. 

Seeking the convenience of texting establishes a pattern that undermines the seeking of experience and process. 

Only use texting sparingly, to convey small pieces of critical information. 

Don’t use it to have discussions or express emotional content. For those areas, what you need is to invest the time and embrace the ‘inconvenience’ of really attuning to each other’s needs and feelings.

Brett McDonald, M.S., LMHC – www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/brett-rene-mcdonald

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