When to Share and When to Put Down the Phone
Sharing your anxiety or frustrations these days is as easy as pulling your phone out of your pocket. When your unreasonable boss or a demanding family member is stressing you out, the temptation to share your annoyance with your spouse or significant other is almost irresistible.
While there are benefits to being able to contact loved ones with the touch of your fingers, sharing every little thought and emotion of the day can put unnecessary stress on a relationship. You might text without thinking, not considering what your spouse might be experiencing on the other end. Maybe you grow frustrated when your messages are met with radio silence or a seemingly unsympathetic reply. And all of a sudden, your frustration with others has been channeled into the relationship you cherish the most.
Are you a perpetrator of emotional texting? Do you feel like your cell phone is getting in the way of a healthy relationship relationship? Here are three simple questions you should ask yourself before you send your significant other a text.
1. Will I feel the same way an hour from now?
When we experience emotional reactivity to a situation, it’s difficult to be thoughtful. What might seem like the end of the world is usually a momentary setback, but a text can never be undone once it’s sent out into the world. If you ask yourself whether that anger will be so urgent in sixty minutes, and the answer is no, then it’s probably not worth the text.
2. Does this require a face-to-face conversation?
Another problem with texting is that it is easy for those receiving a message to misinterpret your meaning. You also have no way of gauging the emotional state of your spouse when you can’t see them face-to-face. If the seriousness of the emotion outweighs the immediacy of the situation, then your relationship would benefit if you wait for an in-person conversation. Too often people use technology to avoid the open and honest contact that is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship.
3. Am I asking someone to do something I can do myself?
Because our cell phones make it incredibly simple to reach out to others for support and empathy, we often forget that as individuals we are also capable of taking responsibility for our own distress and reactions. Emotional support is key in any relationship, but relying on your spouse to take responsibility for every reaction you have in day-to-day life is no fair deal. So the next time you want to reach for the phone, consider whether you might be capable of providing your own calm and comfort.
Asking yourself these three questions can keep your itchy fingers from making any rash decisions when it comes to your relationship. While a text might be the quickest solution to your stress, it is often never the most thoughtful one for your relationship. All it takes is a few seconds of good thinking to gauge when and how you should lean on your partner, and when you can stand up and support yourself.