“Change is a good thing.” That’s what we’re told, anyway. But when it comes to relationships, change can be undoubtedly alarming. Specifically, when your partner’s not texting as often or taking an eternity to respond, you may be left wondering whether something’s wrong. According to relationship expert April Masini, if you notice your partner's texting style has changed, that can either be a good thing or a red flag. So, how can you tell the difference?
Just like every couple has their own way of handling conflict or showing each other appreciation, they also have their own communication style over text. For some, this means constant banter throughout the day. For others, this entails a “good morning” text and checking in once during the workday. Or, it might consist of texting only when absolutely necessary, like when making dinner plans while you’re still at the office. The bottom line is, there’s no right or wrong way to text — it’s all about finding a rhythm that works for both of you. But once you’ve found your texting groove, it can obviously be unnerving when your partner's behavior changes. And according to Masini, these changes are definitely worth paying attention to, because they can offer some valuable insight into the state of your relationship.
“If you see any kind of change — whether it’s new vocabulary, frequency, length or tone — there’s a reason,” she tells Elite Daily. “It could be something innocuous, or it could be a change of emotional climate.”
In order to figure out what the change means for your relationship, it’s important to hone in on what kind of shift you’ve noticed. If your partner is texting you less frequently, for example, Masini says that’s not necessarily cause for concern. Your SO could simply be slammed at work over the last couple weeks, and when they’re stressed about looming deadlines, responding to your texts may not be as much of a priority. However, if you’re pretty sure that their work demands haven’t changed, then you may be picking up on an unresolved issue. According to Masini, when someone texts less often, it can either mean that they’re avoiding confronting you about something that’s upsetting them, or they have lost some interest in the relationship.
Another common — and undoubtedly frustrating — change in texting styles is a longer delay in response. If your boo used to respond right away, and now is taking forever to get back to you, Masini says that typically means that something else is distracting them.
“Typically it’s something conditional,” she explains. “It could be a car accident or a meeting they didn’t count on. If it’s happening consistently over a period of a week or more, consider that you’re putting too much of a strain on the texting aspect of your relationship. Your partner may be using behavior modification to get you used to less texting.”
Again, note that it’s crucial to pay attention to how long this change in behavior lasts. If they’re taking a little longer to respond for a few days, that’s probably no big deal. On the other hand, if this shift has lasted for weeks at a time, then it may be a sign that there’s a problem at play that’s worth exploring.
Not all texting style changes are negative, either. For instance, if your boo starts texting more often, or begins responding more quickly, that’s worth paying attention to as well. According to Masini, these changes are particularly common in the early stages of dating someone.
“In the beginning of a new relationship, when your partner is so excited to hear from you and to have you in their lives, you’ll see more and faster responses,” she explains.
However, if you’ve already been dating for a while and your partner is suddenly reaching out more frequently over text or getting back to you more quickly, Masini says they may simply have more time on their hands.
“If your partner just lost a job, took vacation time, or is simply home sick (but not that sick), you’ll see this kind of change,” she adds.
If your partner's texting style has changed and you're concerned about it, Masini recommends first considering what’s going on in their lives that might be affecting their communication habits.
“If you can’t do this on your own, ask your partner how things are going,” she advises. “General, open-ended questions are best. Then, get specific. Ask about your partner’s work, their family, and their friendships. Try to open up the channel of communication. If you’re still stumped, hit the nail on the head and say you’ve noticed a change in texting — and let your partner tell you if there’s a reason for this, or if it was simply a coincidence.”
Here’s the thing. It’s totally normal for your texting styles to evolve over the course of your relationship, so in most cases, it’s nothing to get too stressed about. The only way to know whether there’s a deeper issue at play that’s contributing to the change in texting is to bring it up with your boo. That way, you can give them an opportunity to honestly share any challenges they’re currently facing, without jumping to any negative conclusions. And when in doubt, remember: Change is — or at least can be — a good thing.