Reading Between the Lines of Your Partner’s Texting

Via Psychology Today.

You can learn a great deal about someone from his or her approach to texting.

A recent study by psychologists at the University of North Carolina surveyed young men and women who identified themselves as being in a romantic relationship. The team recruited 395 students—175 male and 220 female—with an average age of just over 19. The participants had been in the relationship they described for an average of 15 months.

First, the researchers wanted to get a picture of exactly how these partners communicated, so they asked about their texting habits with each other, as well as how often they communicated by phone, email, Internet chat, Skype, and actual face-to-face conversation.

The first finding of significance was the variation in how much partners relied on texting versus other ways of communicating. While some partners virtually never communicated via text, others sent as many as 500 texts a day to their partner, which accounted for more than 90% of their communication.

A second important finding was that as texting increased, other forms of communication decreased. This ran counter to what is called the “stimulation hypothesis,” which would predict that as texting increased other means of communication would as well. The opposite turned out to be true: Texting appears to have the effect, for most couples, of replacingother forms of communication.

When the researchers asked these couples how satisfied they were, overall, with their relationship, they discovered was that to the extent that more texting was the dominant form of communication in a romantic relationship, the less satisfied the couple was. Texting proved to be the preferred mode of communication when were less committed to the relationship.

The Role of Childhood Attachment

The next thing the researchers were interested in was something called attachment style, and how it related to the role texting plays in relationships. Attachment theory has a long history in developmental and clinical psychology. It is most closely associated with the work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, who collaborated at England’s Tavistock Clinic. Ainsworth was noted for having developed something called thestrange situation procedure, in which a young child’s behavior would be observed in a variety of situations. For example, the child might first be in a room with its mother; then a stranger might enter the room; then the mother might leave. And so on. What emerged from the research was a sense of how children “attached” to their mothers.

What was called secure attachment, ………..continue reading Reading Between the Lines of Your Partner’s Texting | Psychology Today.

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