If You Get Lonely When Your SO Doesn't Text Back Quickly, Here's How To Handle It

If staying connected over text is important to your relationships, then having a partner who texts back right away is the greatest gift in the world. On the flip side, having boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't text back quickly can be ultra frustrating. Sometimes, getting dry text messages from your SO can cause you to jump to the worst conclusions, like the chance that your partner is cheating. Other times, it might not be that you're worried about what your girlfriend or boyfriend is up to. Sometimes, it's as simple as feeling like you're being ignored, and that can leave you feeling extra lonely in your relationship.

That inkling of worry that your partner is ignoring you (for whatever reason) is very human. With the advent of technology and so many ways to stay in touch — text message, Snapchat, Instagram DMs, Twitter DMs, Whatsapp messages, the good ol' fashioned call, and FaceTime — it's easier to feel like your partner is curving you, even when that might not be the case. "I think this is an indicator of the 'microwave society' [of instant gratification] we live in, where we want things immediately," says Kiaundra Jackson, a licensed marriage and family therapist and co-founder of KW Essential Services. That is to say, having constant access to others via the internet can be both a blessing and a curse.

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Still, if you're feeling upset or anxious because your partner isn't texting back fast enough, there are a few solutions. First off: "Be patient," Jackson advises. Yes, that's easier said than done. But calming your nerves (with a grounding exercise) and reminding yourself that your partner is a person outside of your relationship is a good start.

Which leads to the second tip: Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. If you think about it, your partner likely has a job to work, errands to run, and their own friends to hang out with. There are a number of wholesome, positive, or even terribly mundane reasons why your partner isn't texting back at that moment.

Third, remind yourself that you, too, are a person outside of your romantic relationship. "Just because you are in a relationship, that does not mean the other person becomes your everything," Jackson says.

Musing on your independence and autonomy should inform the fourth coping mechanism you should turn to when bae isn't texting back fast enough. "Do something to take up your time," Jackson recommends. "Fill your day with things to keep you busy until you are able to hear back from them." This can mean turning your mindful attention to the school work or work work you probably should be focusing on. This can also mean redirecting your energy into platonic relationships. Hit up your homegirls instead if your SO doesn't text back in time for dinner plans. Call your BFF or a friend you haven't talked to in awhile if you're feeling lonely and isolated. Or, pour that energy into yourself. Take yourself out on a date to your favorite café or the movies. Go for a walk. Journal, especially about your romantic needs and what it looks like when a partner is fulfilling them. Sometimes, when your SO isn't texting back (no matter how innocuous the reason "why" might turn out to be), it's a perfect opportunity to cultivate your life outside of them.

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If your SO not texting back fast enough is a chronic problem in your relationship, it is definitely worth a conversation with them — no matter how uncomfortable or awkward it can feel to call someone out for not texting back. The best way to approach the situation is without judgment and without accusation. Have a face-to-face conversation with your SO and mention that you've noticed their texts are infrequent. And just give them a chance to explain. Maybe they got caught up with work. Maybe they were tired. Maybe they're simply not good at texting. Just as communication styles between you and your partner can differ IRL, that's also the case when it comes to digital communication. So, you've got to state your expectations if you want to maintain a healthy romantic relationship. "Your partner still may or may not be able to engage at the same rate as you," Jackson says. "But at least they are aware of your preference."

It's important, too, not just to establish your preferred rate of texting, but also how your SO not texting back makes you feel. Make it clear that even though this may not be their intention, not texting back for hours makes you feel like a non-priority, unimportant, or distanced from your partner.

If you don't talk about your texting expectations or the fact that you're feeling ignored, the situation can breed both loneliness and resentment. You deserve to feel supported and cherished in your relationships. So as tough as the convo can be, it's best to talk it out!