5 Things You're Not Texting Your Partner That Therapists Say You Should Be
This is an important form of communication for any relationship.
Maybe you're not big on texting. Or maybe you and your partner have been dating for some time now. No matter the reason, you shouldn't allow anything to cut off an important form of communication with your significant other.
As Nancy Landrum, MA, a relationship expert and creator of MillionareMarriageClub, explains to Best Life, couples back in the day used to see each other frequently during the day—whether that was because they worked together or they reconnected during mealtimes. But today, there's a lot that separates us, so "we have to find a way to stay connected during the day," Landrum says.
Fortunately, this is where digital communication comes in handy. But text chains with our significant others often end up looking transactional over time. According to experts, this is not a good way to utilize texting in a relationship. Instead, there are many ways to strengthen your bond with your partner using this communication tool—it all just depends on what you're sending. Read on to find out what five things you're likely not texting your partner that therapists and other relationship experts say you should be.
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"I'm thinking about you."
Many of us think about our partners often when we're not with them. But they might not know that, which is why texting can be an important tool in a relationship.
"Modern technology gifts us a great quick way to connect with our partners during the day when we're apart," says Stacy Creamer, LMHC, a licensed therapist in private practice in Natick, Massachusetts. "There are opportunities to let them know we're thinking of them."
According to Creamer, an "I'm thinking about you" text during the day allows our partner to feel appreciated and valued. "Even though they know we love them, we need to explicitly tell our loved ones what we appreciate about them and why, and texting is great for that," she explains. "Evenings and weekends, we get caught up in errands and life and duties. A quick text during the week showing appreciation and gratitude for them can really help keep couples connected."
This type of text also gives you a chance to check in with your partner at random times, according to James Miller, a licensed psychotherapist with more than 25 years of experience. "Send a text saying, 'Hey, I'm thinking about you today. I just wanted to check in and see how you think we're doing and how you feel about our relationship,'" Miller says. "Those types of check-ins create a platform for open and honest communication. Sometimes people cannot say these things in person as easily as they might in text, which is why they are essential."
Many of us wait to express our gratitude to our significant others in person. But there's actually a benefit to sending a "thank you" text every so often, according to Afshan Mohamedali, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and doctoral professor in New York.
"Being sure to put a thanks in writing can emphasize the appreciation for someone you already feel and bring a more personal touch to written communication," Mohamedali explains. "Seeing appreciation in writing also feels just a bit more special and offers another way to experience and internalize genuine care and thoughtfulness."
"I can't wait to see you later."
Don't leave your significant other on read all day just because you know you're going to see them in person soon. If you have a dinner or special outing coming up, text them to let them know that you're looking forward to it, says Margaret DeLong, PsyD, a relationship expert and licensed psychologist of 20 years.
"Texting about looking forward to something harnesses the power of anticipation," De Long explains. "Not only is the event itself enjoyable, but anticipation of the event elevates mood."
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"You look good today."
Once you've been dating someone for a while, your text communication might appear more transactional than anything.
But sending flirty messages is a good way to "remind your partner that you're attracted to them" at any point in your relationship, according to Beth Ribarsky, PhD, professor of interpersonal communication at the University of Illinois Springfield. "For example, tell them how good they looked this morning when they left for work and how you can't wait to see them again tonight," she says.
David Helfand, PsyD, a licensed psychologist specializing in couples therapy and co-owner of LifeWise, tells Best Life that "more couples would benefit from flirting via text." He adds, "It's an easy way to send a sexy message, something cute, a compliment, or anything else that helps maintain the chemistry between you and your partner. Many times texting is used to complain or deal with logistics. Try making it more fun and a way to deliver a spontaneous warm feeling."
"I love you."
There's never a bad moment to remind your partner that you love them—so even if you already say it to them, don't forget to text it, too.
"Text to say 'I Love you' when the spirit moves you, even if it is a fleeting moment," says Toni Teixeira, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker with a private psychotherapy practice. "When love shows up in your heart, share it."
This is also a good tool for people who are too busy during the day to have a long, drawn-out text conversation with their significant other, according to Carla Marie Manly, PhD, a practicing clinical psychologist and relationship expert. "A simple 'I love you' text is often enough to create a positive, connective energy that lasts throughout the day," Manly says. "Even when my day is crammed, I make a point of sending an 'I love you' to my partner."