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Texting Style and Romantic Relationship Satisfaction

Research suggests the most successful texting styles.

I hear about this in my consulting room more than occasionally: More and more individuals from all walks of life are asking about texting etiquette. They want to know if they are driving friends away by texting too much or too little. They fret over texts that are answered only after several days. They wonder if they are initiating the exact right number of texts to a person who they are romantically interested in. There are no clear answers, so instead we attempt to address the questions situation by situation. At least, that is what I have been doing, especially since texting has become such a popular form of communication. And the use of emojis makes texting even trickier: People struggle with striking precisely the right tone by adding an emoji to their text message. I'm sure that you have been there and have struggled with this. In fact, at this very moment, you may be deciding when and how to answer your two most recent incoming messages.

I was delighted to come across a research article that helps to answer some of the above questions. Clearly we need more research, but Ohadi et al. (2018) examined the relationship between romantic relationship satisfaction and texting style. Specifically, they looked at the relationship between texting similarity and relationship happiness in a group of 205 participants between the ages of 18 and 29. The authors reported finding the most robust relationship between perceived similarity in the frequency of initiating contact and simply checking in to say hello and satisfaction. Other expected relationships between the content of texts and emotional tone were not as clearly and strongly related to relationship satisfaction.

The takeaway from this study is that partners in a relationship do best with texting if they pay attention to the frequency of their messages and try to match that to what their partners are comfortable with. As we have seen before, individuals tend to like those who share similarities. We must, however, keep in mind that this study is correlational in nature so the directionality of the variables is unclear. Perhaps, relationship satisfaction creates a perception that texting styles are similar. Or we may reach out more frequently to those we are happy with. Future studies need to study relationship satisfaction and texting styles over time in populations that are not limited to young adults and those in romantic relationships. In the meantime, just reaching out and initiating is an excellent start.


Ohadi,J.,Brown,B.,Trub,L.,&Rosenthal,L. (2018) I just text to say I love you: Partner similarity in texting and relationship satisfaction. Computers in Human Behavior,78,126-132.