Presidential Couples: They’re Just Like Us! They also fight over text.
In an interview earlier this year Harper’s Bazaar, First Lady Jill Biden revealed that she and President Joe Biden have occasionally argued over text messages to avoid a fight in front of the Secret Service. (He dubbed the habit “facting.”)
It’s understandable why couples — the first couple included — take their fights to texts, according to Cindy ShuA marriage and family therapist in San Francisco who works with her fair share of factors.
“With text, my clients say they have the ability to maintain that level of connection, while still having the space to express themselves thoughtfully,” she told HuffPost. “Plus, when you’re having sex, you’re not under pressure to resolve the conflict on the spot.”
For some people — introverts, especially — fexting provides a way to think through their arguments instead of stumbling, shutting down or exploding, that said. liya huanhoA marriage and family therapist in Milpitas, Calif., whose clients also text.
“The other pro is that it allows someone to calm down before responding,” Huynh told HuffPost.
“I often advise my clients to stop responding to their partner if they receive an angry text,” she explained. “Go for a walk, take a few deep breaths, then react. You don’t have this luxury when you’re in the heat of the moment.”
Couples with children may turn to sexual relations to avoid arguing in front of them. Friends and family members often fake too.
“Surprisingly, there will be far more arguments between close friends or family members than between romantic partners,” said Mizzie Samuels-Wathe, an associate marriage and family therapist. Wellspace SF, “It’s often because some of my clients live with their partners, so they prefer to resolve their conflicts in person.”
Heavy discussion over texts can also be a way for parents to get through to their otherwise closed, quiet teen. Texting someone your requests or issues can provide just the right amount of emotional distance needed to get your point across, according to Judith AronowitzA physician in New York City.
“Some teens struggle with expressing their feelings, so writing down things can help them articulate them in a more honest and clear way,” Aronowitz said.
“Plus, sometimes a teen may admit to a parent via text that they would not be discussing in person,” she said. “A text discussion can allow teens to save face and feel less naked emotionally. It provides some protection.”
Naturally, people sometimes use texts in medicine as a receipt for bad behavior (or good behavior).
“Couples will take out their phones to prove someone wrong and validate their side of the argument,” Aronowitz said. “It is often used as evidence in the court of love.”
The problem is, trying to win an argument or prove your point is not the goal of a healthy, even heated, conversation. Aronowitz said that in order to truly resolve an issue, you want to understand your loved one’s point of view and enter into their experience as much as possible.
Resolving underlying issues isn’t always easy over text, Told Shana TrimbleTucker, a marriage and family therapist in Georgia.
“In a text-message exchange, ‘saw’ or ‘k’ may come across as fighting words.”
“The disadvantages of texting include miscommunication and a partner actively avoiding texts, which can escalate to even a simple argument,” Trimble said. “Furthermore, skilled communicators with negative intentions can be very manipulative in the text, whereas unskilled communicators Good Intentions can often be misunderstood.”
Even without one side actively trying to manipulate the other, a lot can get lost in translation over text, no matter how many emojis you use. The biggest mishap is often the tone.
Let’s say you’ve had a stressful conversation with someone via text message, and at the end of it you text them: “Great, thanks.” You know what you mean: Great, I appreciate the point and I’m glad we got it. But to the other person, it may seem rude and dismissive: Thanks for nothing.
And for many, in a text-message exchange, “saw” or “k” can basically come across as fighting words.
“People certainly sometimes interpret the lack of response as belligerent or hurtful,” Samuels-Wathe said.
Fexting may have its flaws, but as long as we’re glued to our phones, it’s definitely here to stay. Below, therapists give their best advice for making your next lesson argument as effective and civilized as possible.
Ask if the person has time to talk over text.
Avoid surprise attacks and five-paragraph opening texts. You’re only going to catch the other person off guard and sabotage the conversation, said Charmane Jackman, a psychologist and founder and CEO of InnoPsych, Inc., a network that connects BIPOC therapists.
“Ask the person if they are available and whether it is a good time for them to engage in a discussion with you,” she said. “It shows that you respect them by asking for their permission to join you.”
An emoji isn’t going to move emotional mountains, but it can do Helps you express your feelings and tone better than emoji-less text.
Samuels-Wathe said, “Using emojis or even GIFs can be helpful in creating a clearer picture for communication, because when you’re texting you can see a person’s facial expressions or body language.” can not see.”
A smiley face or GIF can also add some much-needed excitement to a conversation.
“I’ve seen clients share their favorite emoji or memes for when they want to express themselves in their relationships,” Samuels-Wathe said. “It’s really nice and helpful for them.”
If you avoid relationships, or are unbearably slow to respond to texts, don’t get dragged into faxing.
Shu said that if you’re notorious for never responding to texts, or you know you have an avoidant attachment style and want to leave a message on “read,” it’s in your best interest to stop faxing. Stay away, said Shu.
If your partner or a friend is arguing over messages, just casually reply: “Hey, I really want to talk more about this with you, but I’d love if we could do it in person.” ” (Just make sure you take a time to talk and don’t leave them hanging.)
Recognize that some people feel more comfortable expressing themselves through the written word.
If your partner feels like they can get more out of their chest via text, give them that opportunity.
“Some people communicate their complex feelings better through writing. Accept that texting can give your partner a space to express themselves that they might not have otherwise,” said Kate Stoddard, An associate marriage and family therapist at Wellspace SF.
Of course you too There’s the option to respond however you feel comfortable with, whether it’s by voice memo at the moment or with a verbal (emotionally regulated!) conversation later.
Use “I” language instead of “you” language to avoid blaming the other person.
This is solid gold bonding advice for any conversation, not just text.
Samuels-Wathe said, “It can be helpful to use ‘I’ statements when expressing concerns to focus on the emotional impact of the conflict.”
For example, you might want to send the message: “Did you put the trash back in the dustbin again this morning?” But instead, try writing: “I have to be honest, I feel exhausted when I take the kids to school and I see that the trash wasn’t taken out.”
If the conversation is getting too heated or you feel that the problem cannot be resolved through text, plan to talk in person.
Sorry, introvert. If you’re really going to resolve a matter, you’re probably going to have to have some face-to-face conversations, Jackson said.
“Closing the text can help people express feelings through body language and tone and bring the parties involved together,” she said.
Remember: The more serious the conversation, the more personal it should be.
Normally, Huynh tries to prevent her clients from having sex. Ideally, she thinks texting should be used for affectionate communication (memes, dog videos, sweet mid-day “just thinking about you” texts) or logistical purposes. (“Hey, when are you free to be together so I can fight with you?” Joking, kidding.)
“I think a lot of serious messages can be misinterpreted,” she said. “And if you’re saying these angry, mean things—possibly just out of anger—they’re there for your partner to read, remember, and revisit forever.”