Dating as a practice is pretty simple. You go out. You try and meet someone you connect with. When you do, you spend more and more time with them. Dating as a concept is not so clear-cut. Living in the digital age where so much of our communications and relationships take place over digital connections like e-mail, text message, and social media, trust is a more challenging concept.

Now, there are issues of ’emotional cheating’, which cover things like texting a member of the opposite sex too much and hiding it from your spouse. Everyone is so connected to each other. You can see when they’re ‘active’ on social media sites and can reach out to them instantly. It’s easy to form connections online as it’s safe. You’re not having to pick up the phone and call. You don’t even have to see the other person. Those connections can be a threat to our relationships if we’re not careful.

Emotional cheating and physical cheating; these things are big in the digital world of dating. With online hookup sites, it’s easier than ever to find a random hook-up, and for those who are struggling to stay loyal in a relationship, the accessibility of all that can be too much.

Texting

Whether you are casually dating or in a serious relationship, texting will likely play a large part in how you communicate. Texting is so appealing because it gives us a layer of protection in our interactions. We’re not forced to react instantly, as you would be talking to someone in person; you are afforded valuable moments, or minutes, to come up with the ideal response, or the choice to not respond at all. Granted, some people are wittier and better at this than others so may not need as much time to respond, but for those that do, this is a great benefit to texting.

Texting Early On

When you are early on into a relationship, texting can be fun, casual, and flirty. You are casual and keeping it light, so texting is a great way to make plans, check-in with each other, and to engage casually when it works for both of you.

When you’re texting early on in a relationship, you’re almost set the tone and expectations around the way you two communicate through text in the future. If one messages the other, and the person always responds instantly, then that expectation is being set up. If you don’t want to be in constant contact with someone you are dating, then be careful not to set up that expectation early on; it’s hard to undo.

Texting in Long-Term Relationships

If the person you’ve been dating has turned into something more and you have moved from the ‘dating’ category into ‘relationship’, you might find that your texting dynamic will change as well.

When you’re in a long-term relationship, there are bound to be issues that come up from time to time: arguments, weird lags in contact that make you question what the other is thinking, one partner being threatened by the relationship the other partner has with their ex. When you start to hash things out via text, that’s where you can get into trouble.

Texting is an impossible way to argue or have a serious discussion. You need to be able to see the other person’s reaction and whole response. You need to be able to get their tone, which can be difficult to translate across text messages.

If you are in a serious relationship, take the time, pick up the phone, and talk it out, rather than text it and end up with more miscommunications and misunderstandings.

Online Dating

Everyone seems to be online dating these days. Even if you’ve never done it yourself, you likely know of at least one person who does it or who met their current spouse that way. Especially with the younger generations, online dating is a booming industry.

When it comes to online dating, do some research into the type of site you are joining. Make sure what the site offers is in line with what you want. Don’t join a hook-up site if you are looking for a relationship and love, and vice versa.