Are you mistaking a textationship for a relationship?

When you first hit it off with someone, it’s common to expect a text. Texting someone is convenient and less intense than talking with them face to face. But what happens when texts are the only way you communicate in your relationship? For some, meeting in person for a face-to-face conversation never happens. We call these a "textationship," where you’re sort of in a relationship, but not really. It can happen with potential partners, co-workers, or friends.

Most people don’t choose these types of relationships but rather fall into them. They’re easy and require little commitment. You can say what you’re thinking without feeling embarrassed because you’re not face to face with them. You often don’t realize you’re in a textationship until your partner gets uncomfortable whenever a meet up is suggested. A textationship requires minimal investment and, therefore, isn’t really a relationship. Here are four types to be on the lookout for:

1. Friendship textationships. Sometimes friends can become too busy with life and texting is easier. But real friends make time for each other; they don’t flake out or make excuses via a text. If your friend is no longer interested in a real meet up nor your feelings about never seeing them, then it may be time to part ways. Friends want to be there for you and take your concerns seriously.

2. Potential partner textationships. You may meet up on a dating app with someone and fall head over heels over someone. You can talk with them easily over text and you seem to have a lot in common. However, you cannot find a time to plan or go on a date. Avoid this by keeping meet-ups quick and low stress like a coffee date. If your potential partner is unable to make time for you that’s a clear message to move on. When we care about people, we do whatever we can to meet with them.

3. Emotional cheating textationships. Sharing intimate and flirty texts with a friend may be cheating if you’re hiding it from your partner. Some spouses don’t mind if their partner sends texts to co-workers or friends late at night, but it can be hurtful and create trust issues when it’s hidden from the spouse. If your partner is texting another person and it bothers you, tell them directly that it hurts you. Talk about boundaries and the importance of not hiding texts. Your partner should not get upset if you read their texts to others if they have nothing to hide.

4. Marriage textationships. It’s sweet to get a text from your partner every day; it makes you feel connected and close. However, if texting is the only way your partner can talk to you, it’s a red flag. Some couples who have been together a long time stop taking time for deep face to face conversations and resort to texting as a means of communication. This can be harmful for your relationship. Talking together and seeing each other’s eyes is a form of intimacy that deepens the couple’s commitment to their marriage and each other. Stand up for your marriage and be direct about the importance of time together whether it’s a date night or just coffee in the morning.

Texting is a quick, convenient way to stay in touch with people and make plans, but it cannot replace the human elements of communication that are vital to relationships. Sharing your life in a face-to-face conversation with those you care about and being present to touch and hug each other is irreplaceable.