Read receipts might be the word's sharpest double-edged sword. Sure, it's great to know your message went through and the other person received it. But staring at a read receipt can quickly turn your feelings sour, particularly when it feels like your partner always leaves you on read. No one likes to feel ignored, especially by the person they love.
As dating coach Connell Barrett explains, being left on read by your partner is frustrating because it can make you feel as if the relationship is unbalanced. "Texting is a form of communication, and in any healthy relationship, there should be a fairly equal exchange of communication," he tells Elite Daily. “If you feel upset by being left on read, it's because you feel that you're giving more to your partner than they're giving back to you.”
Being left on read can also bring up fears about the security of the relationship, Julie Spira, an online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships, tells Elite Daily. "It's so frustrating when your partner leaves you on read, especially [if] during the early days of dating, they’d respond in a New York minute," she says. "The first thought is your partner is losing interest."
Fortunately, the experts agree that being left on read by your partner doesn’t automatically mean they’re pulling away emotionally. However, if it's bothering you, don't be afraid to do something about it. Here’s how the experts suggest approaching this oh-so-common issue.
What It Means When Your Partner Regularly Leaves You On Read
Let's dispense the bad news right away: Yes, being left on read by your partner all the time could mean they’re losing interest. But the more likely scenario is that your partner’s just plain busy. “You can't expect your partner to always be available to instantly respond to you whenever you message them. Yes, it's possible [your partner] may not want to speak to you right now, but it’s also equally possible that they are busy. It's very easy to glance at your phone and read a text when you are in the middle of something, but it may not be as easy to pick up your phone and respond,” Eric Resnick, online dating coach, tells Elite Daily. “It might not be an issue, especially depending on when it happens during the day.”
While that’s certainly a relief, being left on read can still be irritating even if it's not a sign of your partner pulling away, explains Resnick. “The fact that it upsets you means that there is a problem between you and your partner when it comes to your communication dynamic that needs to be discussed,” he says. If that’s the case, then “it’s time to have a convo about how you like to communicate,” adds Spira.
Here's To Tell Your Partner That Being Left On Read Bugs You
The key to addressing the issue with your partner is to do so openly and calmly, says Resnick. “Don't accuse them of blowing you off or disrespecting them. Don't say something like, ‘Why don't you ever return my texts?’ that will put people into a defensive mode,” he warns. Instead, he suggests a more honest approach focused on how the behavior makes you feel. “Just tell them that when you send a text and you see it has been read, but they don't respond, it makes you feel like you aren't interesting to them, or that it hurts your feelings,” he suggests.
The next step, Resnick says, is crucial: Listen to them. “It's possible that they may be too busy during the work day to get back to you immediately. It may also be that they feel overwhelmed by the number of texts that you send during the day. Be open with your feelings and be open to theirs. If you do that, you will be able to find a way to communicate better in the future,” he advises.
If Nothing Changes, Here's What's Next
If, after discussing your issues about being left on read, their behavior still doesn’t change, Spira says to take a larger view of their behavior in the relationship. “If they show you they care by other actions, such as having a steady Saturday night date, initiating conversations by texting you articles you'd be interested in, and making you feel like you're the only one, then perhaps you need to let it slide,” she suggests.
Another way to approach the issue, says Barrett, is to change the way you text them. “Some partners don't reply to text messages because the messages are non-compliant, meaning that they don't require a response. So, to get more responses from your partner, make it easier for them to reply by asking pointed questions,” he suggests. “Avoid generic questions like, ‘How's your day?’ Instead, ask them something specific about something that you know matters to them. Such as, ‘Hey, how did your big meeting go?’ or ‘For dinner, tonight, are you thinking Italian or Chinese?’ To get your significant other to answer more messages, ask them questions about topics of relevance to them."
Ultimately, how you decide to handle this situation depends on how their behavior makes you feel. “If you feel like you’re being disrespected by your partner, it's going to affect the relationship. If you are both invested in being together, and you've discussed your feelings but nothing changes, that could be a sign that this is not the kind of person you are going to be able to maintain a relationship with for the long-term,” he says.
Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League
Eric Resnick, online dating coach
Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships