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Textationship։ Definition, Types and Challenges to Consider

It can be difficult to define our relationships as we’re often blinded by excitement, emotion, and passion. However, if you feel as though your relationship is based entirely on texting, or if the guy you’re into never wants to meet face-to-face, then you might find that you’re in a textationship.

What Is a Textationship?

A textationship or a text relationship, is any kind of relationship based solely on communication via text. It’s slightly different from when you’re getting to know a potential partner, because it can be totally normal to send a few texts before you start dating, especially if you’ve been online dating.

As a matter of fact, a study by Shanhong Luo tells us, “researchers have debated about the nature of effects that texting may have on close relationships. Some argued that texting complements traditional face-to-face communication and benefits the relationship.”

However, if too many text messages are getting in the way of you developing a real relationship then it’s likely that you’re in a textationship. 

It’s an easy trap to fall into. Textationships are easy, and can feel like a simpler option; especially if the world of dating intimidates you. 

It’s also pretty normal to start developing feelings from text messaging, but that’s because you’re given a false sense of security even though you might not actually know much about their real life. 

6 Types of Textationships

Now that we’ve established what a textationship is, it’s important to recognize that there are several types of textationships that you might find yourself in, and each one will have different benefits as well as negatives.

1. Friendship textationship

Not all textationships have to be romantic, meaning that you can even find yourself in a platonic textationship

There are two types of friendship textationships. The first is where you and your friend simply don’t have time to meet up anymore and so keep the relationship alive via texting, the second are the friends that we meet online but we never actually meet face-to-face. 

Not being able to meet up doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a bad friendship, but it can show that there’s no real commitment involved. 

Of course, we all know how life can get in the way sometimes and it can often feel easier to just text, but it doesn’t exactly build a great foundation for a long-lasting, healthy relationship or friendship. 

2. Long-distance textationship

long distance textationship

Often, a long-distance relationship relies on texting and video calling to keep the spark alive. It can be incredibly difficult to be far away from our partners, a lack of face-to-face interaction can have a huge impact. Unfortunately, long-distance relationships require huge sacrifices.

With that being said, people often make it work. 

Being in a long-distance relationship doesn’t automatically mean that you’re in a textationship. It will only become a textationship if texting becomes your primary form of communication, and if the conversations tend to lack substance, or if you start to send one word answers. A long-distance relationship will only work if both partners are equally invested. 

3. Emotional affair textationship 

If you find that something is missing from your relationship, you might seek romantic engagement elsewhere without actually meeting up and having a sexual relationship outside of your relationship. 

If you’re in a text relationship with another person, then this is still classed as cheating. Each couple will have their own boundaries, and for some it might be deemed okay to simply get to know someone outside of your relationship, as long as it’s pretty casual. 

But, if you’re hiding this from your partner, or if you’re developing feelings for this other person, then it’s likely that you’re in an emotional affair textationship

4. Potential partner textationship

Arguably the trickiest of them all. You might be in a text relationship with someone who you believe could be a potential partner. However, you won’t fully know if there’s potential for a real relationship until you meet face to face. 

You need to express sentiments of your desire to take things further and push yourselves to cross the line from textationship to a meaningful relationship.

5. Marriage textationship

If you feel like you or your partner might be giving up on your relationship, you lack intimacy and communicate minimally or via texting then this could be deemed as a marriage textationship.

Meaningful discussions are needed to keep the marriage alive. If you only text when you need something, or to make small talk then you’re not going to get anywhere when trying to re-spark your marriage. 

Face the issue head on, stop texting and work on your relationship by putting in equal effort and having face to face interaction. A great way to overcome this dry spell in your romance is to seek a couples therapist as this can really trigger necessary communication and honesty. 

6. Cookie jarring textationship

cookie jarring textationship

The one sided relationship. 

Cookie jarring put simply, is where a person strings several suitors along to make sure they always have a back-up plan. 

You may think that you’re developing a relationship via texting, getting to know someone and experiencing feelings of passion and excitement. You might even get butterflies when you see his name light up on your phone. 

But, if you’ve been texting for a while, haven’t met up and are wondering where this relationship is heading then consider this as a huge red flag. 

Without experiencing real life body language and facial expressions, it can be difficult to tell if someone is actually into you; what’s worse is if they’re making no effort to meet up. It can also be incredibly easy to misread someone’s tone over text

Cookie jarring textationship signs are: if he is responding occasionally, you rarely have serious discussions, he sends one word answers or makes small talk, and if you feel as though you haven’t really gotten to know one another on a deeper level.

The best thing to do is to draw a line, express your limits and if the relationship lacks development, even after addressing the issue, then stop responding and get yourself out there on a real date. 

15 Challenges of a Textationship You Should Consider Before Starting One

1. It could be one-sided

Because it’s so difficult to gauge someone’s true emotion over text, it could be a one-sided relationship without you even knowing. 

If you feel as though you are putting more effort into replying, the length of your replies and the conversation isn’t back and forth, then it’s probable that it is a one-sided textationship. 

2. You can’t trust if the connection is real

you can't trust if the connection is real

You might lay awake until 3am having deep conversations, and it might feel as though there’s a real commitment involved, but without meeting up in person it would be impossible to trust your feelings. 

Your feelings may be heightened by the excitement and the flirting but if these feelings were true you really do have to question what is stopping you from entering a real relationship. 

3. You won’t get to know the real them

The beauty of social media and technology is that we don’t have to show everyone who we are, we choose what we display to the world. Online dating is perfectly fine as when you get to know someone in person, you take baby steps in the development of your relationship and gradually your feelings either increase or decrease. 

But, if your relationship is limited to just texting, it would be truly impossible to get to know someone on a deeper level. You will only learn what they want you to. It’s also impossible to tell someone's true emotions over text. 

4. You can misread someone’s tone

When in a textationship, it can be easy to misread your partner’s tone. Without being able to gauge emotions through body language and facial expressions, even though you might find that you start developing feelings for this person, you won’t truly understand them or their true emotions.

For example, you might be having a serious conversation that is barely being reciprocated. Or, you might be frustrated that they stop responding for a long period of time when they’re simply caught up at work. Texting in a relationship causes a vast disconnect.

5. It’s easy to give up on the textationship

When we disagree in real life, or argue in a relationship you’re kind of forced to face the issue head on

If you’re in a textationship however, it’s easy to simply block the other person and to give up entirely. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means you’ve not got much hope of developing a relationship when it’s so easy to give up on what you already have.

6. You’ll always question why you never meet

you'll always question why you never meet

Unless of course you’re the reason… if so, maybe question if the textationship is what you need right now, and if it’s worth it

If not, you’ll spend a lot of time questioning why you can’t progress into an intimate relationship, which will, of course, cause other problems further down the line. 

7. The struggle to trust your partner

On the back of constantly questioning why your relationship is limited, it’s likely that you’ll eventually struggle to trust him altogether. 

This is where you’ll start to question the reason behind your textationship situation, and whether or not he’s committed to somebody else, or that he’s simply not committed to you

8. Your friends and family don’t connect with him

One of the best stages of a real relationship is where you introduce them to your friends and family. It’s nerve-racking yet exciting, but it’s also a crucial step in any healthy relationship as it shows commitment. 

You might feel as though your textationship is perfect without the involvement of anybody else, but it’s in front of others that we often learn things about a person's character.

Over text, deep conversations tend to be easier as sometimes it’s a lot easier to type out how we feel rather than to vocalize in person; but it means that no one else in your life gets to share your excitement over your new or potential partner. 

9. You’ll fall into the trap of small talk

I don’t know about you, but I’m not the biggest fan of small talk. I think it can stop us from developing actual relationships with other people as it’s drilled into our brains as a form of being polite. If we skip small talk, we often get to know someone’s character a lot sooner.

In a textationship, it’s pretty much guaranteed that some days you’ll be forced to make small talk as you’ll both be too busy to put in a good amount of effort into your back and forth texting.

10. Unreal engagement

If sometimes it feels superficial then it could be a matter of false engagement. This could come down to the textationship being one-sided, or it could have something to do with an imbalance of energy and effort that is put into the textationship. 

Usually, it’s clear when you’re having a serious conversation or when you’re sending a few texts about nothing too important. But, if it feels as though your texts consist primarily of falseness or exaggeration, then it might be a good idea to take a step back and assess the seriousness of your textationship. 

11. Disagreements are a lot worse over text

disagreements are a lot worse over text

We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘keyboard warrior’. I don’t know why it is, but most of us feel a lot more comfortable having confrontation over text than in person. 

If your relationship is based solely on texting, then I’m sure you can imagine that any disagreements that you might have could be a lot more heightened over text causing problems in the development of your relationship and the way in which you communicate. 

12. You can’t always trust your own feelings

This one is incredibly tricky to become aware of, but sometimes we have to take a step back to decide if we can trust our feelings are genuine.

Sometimes texting and flirting can be nothing more than just a hobby, but it can be easy to be blinded by the excitement causing you to believe that you have genuine feelings. 

It’s kind of like when you have to chase someone. It’s exciting, we obsess, we make ourselves appealing, we play games, and then when you finally get the guy (sometimes) once all of the excitement wears off, it turns out that that’s not what we wanted at all. 

You have to think ‘if we were actually dating, would I still be into him?’

13. There’s little chance of development in the relationship

If a meaningful relationship is something that you’re looking for, it might be best to either get back to the dating scene or to make the decision to force your relationship out of the texting phase. 

If you’ve passed the point of meaningful discussions, you’ve been texting for months and you feel as though you’re already in a relationship, then it’s likely that it won’t ever go anywhere. Simply because if that was where it was heading then why hasn’t it already?

14. You’re constantly on your phone

If you’re in a textationship where you’re sending frequent text messages, then you’re going to spend less time in the present and obsess on your phone

This may then have an impact on your social life, your relationship with friends and family and, overall, it’s not healthy to be glued to your phone.

This is something that can’t be helped too much when in long-distance relationships, but you can dedicate time to respond to one another with full attention or better yet, arrange phone calls and video chats. 

15. Lack of commitment

What it all comes down to, is why are you in a textationship? Is the lack of commitment from both parties or just one? Is there anything that can be done about your situation and can you see a realistic future together?

If you’re just having a bit of fun, then commitment is obviously something you won’t have to think about yet. But, this is where we come back to the difference between casually texting and being in an actual textationship. 

Is this lack of commitment going to exist in your entire relationship or is there something that can be done about it.

How Can I Develop My Relationship?

how can i develop my relationship

We could blame technology for the encouragement of this unreal engagement, or we could try and get ourselves out of these situations.

Textationships aren’t healthy, unless they’re absolutely necessary and that will entirely depend on circumstance and the agreement that the two of you have come to. 

However, if you want to actually progress this textationship into a real healthy relationship then you need to have an open conversation about the prospect of your future together, and in turn, what you both need to do to make it achievable. 

For example, if you’re in a long-distance relationship, how long for? Many people are happy in long-term long-distance relationships, but it can certainly be challenging. 

If you simply haven’t made the time for one another to meet up in person, then open the conversation to find out why. If your connection is genuine then it’s most likely that you’d both be excited by the idea of meeting up and going on an actual date. 

And if you’re in a textationship outside of an existing relationship, whether it’s yours or his, then think about how long it can go on like this. 

Like in any dating scenario, your relationship will only progress if you both put in the work and communicate with one another. 

FAQs

Can a texting relationship be healthy?

A texting relationship can certainly be healthy in the early days, but it’s easy to cross the line quite quickly.

If you find yourselves at the stage where you can’t make the time to call or meet up in person, but you find it easier to send replies to texts every couple of minutes, then you have to question what is stopping you from progressing the relationship.

Everyone has their own boundaries, and only you will know where to cross the line. As long as you are honest and communicate your emotions and wishes, then all you can do is hope that he feels the same way. If not, like in any dating scenario, we put on a brave face and we get over it.

Can you fall in love in a texting relationship?

I believe that you can fall in love with someone at first sight, so yes, one thousand percent you can fall in love in a texting relationship. But, you’re falling in love with the only things you’re given, which are words on the screen of a phone. This love might not feel the same when you finally meet and all the excitement has worn off.

If you’re both completely yourselves over text and happen to both share the electricity of the connection, then it’s likely that you’ll be able to make things work and progress the relationship.

Are we dating if we text every day?

The term ‘dating’ is definitely subjective, if you both agree that you’re dating without ever having met then yes, you are.

But dating and the actual development of a relationship come down to a lot more than just texting. And if you are hoping for a successful relationship then I would suggest a little more effort is necessary to make it work.

Can texting build intimacy?

Texting can build many things, and it can most definitely build intimacy. Whether it be emotional intimacy or even sexual intimacy, you can let yourself be entirely vulnerable over text. But this same intimacy can be built in person and is much more encouraged.

Conclusion

If you’re in a casual textationship that’s just a bit of fun, and is filling the time, then consider if the feelings are mutual on the receiving end. 

The hardest challenge of a textationship is the fact that it can be difficult to gauge someone's true emotions over text, meaning that it could very well be that the relationship is one-sided. 

My advice is if you’re genuinely into this person and feel as though you have a connection, then don’t waste any more time and see if you can actually make this work together. It can sometimes feel scary to develop a relationship that feels perfect as it is, but you have to think about your future together. 

The reason textationships are easy is because you’re in your own little world together. No worry about what anyone else is thinking, no stress about your appearance or having to deal with the stress of dating. But, if you’ve established a genuine connection over text then not much can go wrong. 

And if the connection isn’t genuine, then at least you’ve not wasted any more time glued to your phone waiting for the guy to reply. 

Take the plunge and work towards the future of your happiness. 

If you have any extra tips or advice to share then please feel free to comment, and as always, share with a friend in need.

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