Woman texting with her partner hoping to build her relationship.

Why You Can’t Build a Relationship on Text Messages Alone

31 August 2023

Today texting is a way of life! How did we manage before texting on our smartphones? This is the “new normal” and there are many reasons as a dating and relationship coach I caution my clients and tell them “You can’t build a relationship on text messages alone!” 

I’m here to illuminate the pitfalls and the reasons you can’t build a relationship with text messaging only. 

I recently was coaching a 30-something client. She had met someone in an online group she belongs to. This man she’s interested in lives across the country from her.

When we spoke, she was enamored of him. They are “in a relationship”. I asked if they had done a video date yet and she said, “No!” They were just messaging back and forth (meaning texting on a smartphone). 

This got my warning bells to go off!

What was this guy hiding? Was he even real? 

He told her he doesn’t like the way people look on Zoom and wanted to see her for the first time in person. Supposedly they’ve sent pictures of themselves to each other.

Rather than try to dissuade her of her belief that she was in a relationship, I suggested she watch The Tinder Swindler

With text messaging alone, you don’t hear their voice, their intonation, or their normal language usage. We gather so much information about someone by how they talk to us.

When you speak with someone, you can hear their hesitations when you ask questions. You can hear their excitement or disappointment. And all of this will give you greater context about who they really are.

With text messaging, you can easily misconstrue people’s true intentions.

If someone writes, “Let’s see when we meet” you can read it as being abrupt and demanding, or you could interpret it as more accommodating with a sweet tone. Everyone attaches meaning to each word of a text and internally hears the voice they expect to hear.

In other words, you read what you want to read from a text. And sometimes people prey on that fact.

Another reason you can’t build a relationship on text messages alone is it’s hard to have a real conversation. It’s like playing ping pong. You hit the ball and then you have to wait for your partner to hit it back and vice versa!

Although, texting is rarely as rapid-fire as a ping-pong game. There are usually time lags in the conversation.

(Before the days of the telephone people wrote letters to one another. That’s like text messaging with greater time lags! So, words alone can only go so far.)

With a phone call, you have an immediate response to one another. This immediacy naturally creates a greater connection.   

Don’t make the mistake of assuming you can know a person before you meet them face to face.

When you meet someone in person, you can look into their eyes and see how sincere they truly are. It’s important to spend time with them talking and even having a physical connection. The visual adds another layer of understanding about who they truly are. 

Yes, you may be able to build a relationship that includes text messages as one of the ways you communicate. But messaging alone without human contact is a fantasy land. It goes back to how you build a connection with someone and a relationship that will sustain itself.

I’ve seen clients get hooked on what seems like a real relationship via texts and be cajoled into believing there’s a relationship. However, they were just being strung along for some other reason. These reasons can vary from the “love interest” trying to extort some money or the “love interest” being married, lonely, and wanting to have a connection with someone. After all, when you have someone responding to you on the other side of a device, it’s easy to feel there’s someone who cares about you.

And if someone won’t give you their time, be it via seeing them on video if you live a distance away, or even a phone call to hear their voice, I’d be suspicious there’s something else going on. 

So, this is why you can’t build a relationship on text messages alone. 

I hope you won’t allow this to happen to you. 

Text messaging works when it’s used to convey information.

“I’ll meet you at this time” and to confirm plans. To let someone know you’re running late or to remember something. Or to share something that you think the person would like to see — like the latest cat video. Or to let someone know where you are so they can find you at the train station or the concert. 

However, to build a true and lasting relationship, you need more. Text messages simply can’t replace human contact and being present with another person. So, be mindful of how you use text messaging to build a relationship with a potential partner.

If you need any help with how to find and create the relationship of your dreams, then let’s talk! Go to www.talkwithcoachamy.com to set up a time for us to chat.