Brigham Young University researchers Lori Schade and Jonathan Sandberg studied 276 young adults around the country and found that being constantly connected through technology can create some disconnects in committed relationships.
Researchers found that for women using text messages to apologize, work out differences or make decisions is associated with lower relationship quality. For men, too frequent texting is associated with lower relationship quality, the study found.
However, expressing affection through text enhances the relationship for both the genders, researchers found.
"Technology is more important to relationship formation than it was previously. The way couples text is having an effect on the relationship as well," said Schade.
The study participants weren't just casually dating – 38 percent said that they were in a serious relationship, 46 percent were engaged and 16 percent were married.
Each participant completed an extensive relationship assessment that included questions about their use of technology in the relationship. About 82 percent of them traded text messages with their partner multiple times a day.
Many of the couples used texting for stuff scholars call "relationship maintenance," or the kind of conversations that help couples get on the same page. Ordinarily having these conversations is a good thing, but texting can get in the way and make things worse.
"Reaction to disappointment and reality testing occurs more quickly face to face. There is narrowness with texting and you don't get to see the breadth of a person that you need to see," Sandberg said.
For men, more texting doesn't necessarily mean a better relationship. And they don't just get tired of receiving texts; their relationship satisfaction is also lower when they send a lot of texts themselves.
The good news is that saying something sweet in a text works universally for men and women. In fact, sending a loving text was even more strongly related to relationship satisfaction than receiving one.
The study was published in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy.


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