I text with my partner all day long. Some of it is just catching up while we’re apart, sharing random funny things or even just mundane logistical stuff like whether or not they ran the dishes. The point is, texting is how we stay connected when we’re apart. If that suddenly were to stop, I'm not going to lie, I would get pretty worried pretty quickly, because that's our "normal." So, I totally get why, if your SO starts texting less often, you may be inclined to freak out and assume the worst.
Don't panic yet. Getting fewer texts from them doesn't mean an automatic death sentence for the relationship. However, if it becomes a new pattern, it may actually be a sign that something is changing in the relationship, possibly not for the better. So what should you be looking for to know the difference?
Ghosting entirely is pretty clear sign that they are out, but not everyone is so blunt. Sometimes the signs that your partner is pulling away are more subtle, and in those cases, it's good to get a dating and relationship expert's perspective on how to recognize the warning signs that there's trouble in paradise. So I reached out to Alessandra Conti, Celebrity Matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City, and Nora Dekeyser, Date Coach and Matchmaker for Three Day Rule, for their takes on what to keep an eye out for if it seems like your SO's texting style is sending the signal that they want to break up.
1. They Don’t Text As Often
So you used to text all day long and now suddenly that number has dropped to once or twice a day? If it feels like your SO is pulling away, according to Conti, it's because they probably are. She says that if your partner is on the road to breaking up with you, one of the first signs is their texts will become fewer and farther between.
2. Their Texting Routine Changes
Along with a decrease in the volume of texts you receive, you should keep an eye out for them breaking an established pattern of texts. Did your partner formally text you first thing in every morning to tell you to have a great day and end each night by wishing you off to sleep, but now they send neither one? Conti warns this is a red flag that your SO is consciously exiting your life. She explains that they may be doing this because they are "subtly weaning you off of the relationship."
3. Getting A Reply Takes Longer
Was there a time that you would send a text and you could count on seeing that reply bubble pop up immediately, but now it’s hours or days before you get a response? Ruh-roh. Conti warns that their slowing replies is another, not-so-subtle sign that your partner is pulling away or that their interest is fading.
4. Their Replies Get Shorter
But what if your partner still texts you often, but something still feels off? Has the content of their texts changed? For instance, are you just getting quick one-word replies when they used to write you long thoughtful answers? Conti says to keep an eye out for when “instead of open-ended questions, your SO will send you over one word replies or replies that do not further the conversation."
5. The Tone Of Their Texts Change
One last warning sign, according to Dekeyser, is that the tone of the texts will change. The playful, flirting tone may become short and direct. "People who want to break up create distance. It is hard to 'act' like you are happy, especially with your signifiant other who knows you the best. Their texting will begin to be shorter, more direct, and less often," she says.
OK, so now that you are completely freaked out, let me talk you down a little bit. Context matters. Before you go to full red alert, ask yourself if there are external reasons why your partner may be doing one or all of these things. Have they suddenly gotten really busy with school or work? How do they act when they are with you? Are they texting less because they are with you more? None of these things happen in a bubble, so make sure you've thought through any extenuating factors. If you are still unsure of what their texting behavior means, here's a crazy idea: Ask them! Communication is essential in any healthy relationship and you should feel safe speaking up when something worries you in the relationship. If you don’t feel safe doing that, maybe it’s time to find someone else with whom you can.
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