So I wrote this blog once about not arguing through text. Still believe what I wrote in that post. Texting, instead of talking can lead to misunderstanding and more hurt feelings and even destroy some chance at rebuilding and positive reciprocity.
Is there a time use of text or emails could be helpful? It turns out that different things work for different couples. Can you think of a time texting or emailing can be helpful?
One time I can see it being helpful is if when a couple is trying to resolve conflict, the emotions of the moment overwhelm a sense of good judgment. Let’s say that you are disagreeing with your partner and instead of being able to talk about the issue you are just seething. You are thinking (and saying) “F…You.” Or “I hate you.” Or “You never consider me and I don’t want to be with you anymore.” As you’re saying these things you know you don’t mean them (well in the moment you do but you know later – when the moment is over you won’t.) Maybe this would be a time to take a step back. Some couples will say they separate and then will text what the immediate issue is and try to work some tentative agreement out so the argument doesn’t turn into hours or days of recrimination and there are lots of hard feelings or the original conflict is not solved, just shelved until another day to flare up an argument again. Several couples have indicated that this works for them to calm down enough to hear the other person and they are then able to talk it out without further damaging their relationship. I can see that. It can take away some of the strong emotion of the moment to something manageable.
Other people have told me email has worked for them. It is easier to write down their words and thoughts and think their responses through rather than going with whatever blurts out of their mouth. Maybe it gives the recipient time to actually read and digest the information without just pretending to listen while spending the whole time planning their response.
Another use of email may be to figure out the day to day maintenance issues of a family. It has been indicating that emailing everyday questions and concerns saves time and frustration. You don’t need a half hour discussion about what day your partner is available to go to the doctor or which electrician to call. Write out the choices and make a decision. I can see why email communication works in some relationships.
Communication seems to be one of the most common struggles in a relationship. Figure out what works for you. In this age of technology if electronic communication works for you in some situations – use it. Just keep in mind the limitations of not seeing someone’s expressions or hearing their tone.
Don’t forget to use in person communication too. Face to face connection is one of the perks – not one of the drawbacks – of a relationship.