Tag Archives: texting

When texting is no longer reciprocal.
“Does she still like me?”

“Duet” by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

It would be a miracle to find another person to whom you’re attracted and who shares the same expectations and attitude toward relationships that you do. One person may feel hurt when his texts aren’t responded to often enough. The other person may feel dejected when she doesn’t get a gift for her birthday. The list of small frustrations that can cause disappointment is endless.

To have a great relationship, these differences are of minor significance. Partners can and should differ as to their preferences in how much to text, as they do in every other aspect of life. Relationships succeed best when both sides accept many of the harmless differences. What is important is communicating your more important desires and wishes in a way that avoids the following:

1. Attacking the other person, which puts him or her on the defensive and closes off productive and meaningful conversation. “You’re so rude! Why do you wait so long to text me back?”

2. Controlling the other person, which is belittling and demeaning and ignores the other person’s point of view. “When I text you, I want you to get right back to me. Do you understand?”

3. Whining about the situation — a childish and needy attitude — , which is used as a means to manipulate the other. “I miss hearing from you. Are you too busy for me?”

4. Silently holding a grudge, which builds up resentment and resolves nothing.

You can manipulate or badger someone into a desired behavior. But when someone’s actions are emotionally coerced, the strength and autonomy of the individual is undermined. The result is resentment in lieu of passion.

It’s much better to entice the other person with your independence and full life. If necessary, express your desires honestly while being mindful of the other person’s feelings and autonomy.

When addressing your frustrations, start the conversation with a sense of self-respect as well as consideration for the other person. Most important are a tone of voice and body language that embody your respect for the other person’s autonomy as well as your own desires.

In summary,

1. Respect yourself and the fact that you have personal needs and desires.

2. Respect the other person’s autonomy and right to have different attitudes and freely make decisions.

3. Express your desires with a positive specific request.

4. Ask the other person what he or she thinks about your request.

For example, “Hey, I really enjoy hearing back from you when I text you. Lately, you haven’t responded very much. Am I texting you too much?”

Or “It seems as though you’ve been pretty busy lately. What’s going on?”

Some people think they need to be aloof and hard-to-get to be attractive. Others wear their emotions on their sleeve. Both can be off-putting. What matters is how you manifest your feelings for someone. You can express your desire as long as you aren’t desperate and needy, on the one hand, or controlling and manipulative, on the other. There is nothing more attractive than someone who can express desire or love while still maintaining a sense of self and having the self-discipline to resist engaging in a mediocre relationship.

“I really think you’re special and enjoy spending time with you. Lately, I get the sense that you are backing off, and would like to know if that’s right.”

Whether this relationship works out or not, it’s important to start relationships with clear and positive communication to to be able to figure out how to reconcile your different expectations. Whether you’ve just been dating for a month or married for 25 years, communicating openly with respect is the way to keep the relationship improving.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Text… phone call… email…
“Oh…what were you saying?”

“FIRE” — Jarome Iginla by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

What happens to your memory when you multi-task? It turns out that texting or cell phone interruptions mingled into face-to-face conversations weakens your memory. Fragmented attention does not allow you to focus on any one thing long enough to code it into your memory well. Poor memory leads to making frustrating mistakes and wasting time. Research shows that a person who is interrupted takes 50% longer to complete a given task and will make 50% more mistakes.

More importantly, fragmented attention does not make the person you’re talking to feel valued. Plus it’s just rude!

Focused attention is essential to working memory. Neuropsychologist John Arden explains that, “if working memory is impaired, long-term memory will experience a famine of new information. If the road to long-term memory through working memory is blocked, the ‘supplies’ or memories can’t get through.”

If, for example, you are texting during dinner while conversing with your family, your focus will be fragmented and your working memory jeopardized. When you are distracted, you forget the detail of the story being told — your working memory hasn’t been encoded into your prefrontal cortex yet. So you have to ask, “What were you just talking about?” after glancing at a text.

Paying attention is key to good memory. Arden recommends the following to cultivate memory:

1. Resist having your attention fragmented.

2. Schedule social media, text messaging, and phone calls to specific times of the day, when others are not wanting your attention.

3. Focus your attention on each task until it is completed. With better prefrontal cortex activation, your working memory will function well enough to code information into your long-term memory.

It pays off considerably to pay full attention to the work at hand and the people around you — it enhances your memory, makes you more effective, and improves your interaction and relationship with others.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen

Reference and great reading: John B. Arden’s “Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life.”

“My Husband is Addicted to Texting.”

"Fly By" by Mimi Stuart © Live the Life you Desire

“Fly By” by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

“I am separated from my husband because I have reasons not to trust him. Also, despite my complaints, he is online texting with WhatsApp all the time, even when he wakes up in the middle of the night and while he’s driving. Yet he never texts me or lets me see whom he’s chatting with, and he doesn’t have a job.”

Secrecy and social media

Clearly there are several issues at play here:

1. Your husband is addicted to WhatsApp.

2. He has lost interest in you.

3. Worst of all, you are losing your self-respect in this relationship.

1. He is addicted to texting.

Texting can become a real neurological addiction, which is pursued despite the harm it causes to yourself and those around you. Jeanene Swanson writes in “The Neurological Basis for Digital Addiction”:

“So what happens is, you hear a sound [alerting you to an incoming text message], and your brain says, ‘There might be something good there, I’m going to check it.’” At that point, the mesolimbic dopamine circuits are activated, and a small surge of the neurotransmitter is released in the brain. “What you’re getting addicted to is the dopaminergic hit. With texting addiction, there is an added element of waiting for a response,” Karter says. “It is the anticipation that hooks us.”

Your husband’s texting addiction is the number one preoccupation in his life. There may be others but he has not shared them with you. He is allowing this addiction to destroy his relationship with you, and he is endangering others by driving while texting. The time consumed while “chatting” is preventing him from otherwise honoring his primary relationship and getting a job.

Given that he does not admit that he has a problem, I don’t think he will change any time soon.

2. He has lost respect and desire for you.

Your husband isn’t interested in texting and chatting with you much because he knows you are always available, and he is annoyed with your complaints. He is on the defensive with you. Even if you didn’t complain, he would be more drawn to texting with others because of the anticipation of receiving responses from people who are more fun and not in constant pursuit of him.

I recommend that you stop complaining and that you stop or greatly limit your relationship with him. You should pull back from someone who treats you with indifference and with much less interest than he has in his ether-based paramours.

3. Loss of self-respect.

A loving long-term relationship requires that two people cherish and nourish the relationship. Your husband is not nourishing your relationship. Continuing to pursue him despite his indifference toward you is a turn-off to him and is causing you to lose self-respect.

You need to stop obsessing over his texting. Instead you need to invoke the self-discipline needed to move beyond a man who is living for his addiction. Don’t let the fear of being alone misguide you. As long as that fear persists, he has no need to accommodate you in any way.

Rather than focusing on him, focus on your own challenge, which is to avoid wasting your time hoping for an addict to change his ways. You could say something like, “I’m so sorry but I’ve lost respect for you and recognize that your online relationships are more important to you than our relationship. I want to be with someone who wants to do something with his life, and puts me and our relationship first. I wish you the best of luck.” I would then move on with your life.

If you stop all contact with him, he may start contacting you more, which might please you temporarily. But don’t expect too much because he will probably go right back to his addiction to more “exciting” cyber interactions. But you will have regained your self respect and your life!

Good Luck!

by Dr. Alison Poulsen

Read “Pursuit vs. Distancing.”

Read “Does she like me? She doesn’t text me like she did at the beginning.”

Watch “Pursuing Connection with a Distancer?”

Online dating frustrations: “Near the beginning I asked him to meet…. We did not meet.”

"Form" by Mimi Stuart © Live the Life you Desire

“Form” by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

“I met a man online and he was the pursuer. Now I’m pursuing him and he’s distancing. Near the beginning I asked him to meet…. We did not meet. We recently talked of love and dating exclusively. He went silent and I texted him constantly for four days. He asked me to stop texting him. I texted him because my feelings wouldn’t stop. He said I was scaring him. Should I now just not send anything? Can I still send random stuff? I also feel weird dating other people when my inner emotions are on him.”

Online dating

I am receiving more and more questions regarding online dating and relationships involving two people who have never physically met. Online interaction seems to satisfy a need for many people who have limited opportunities to connect with other people.

Yet to “date” or fall in love with the mere words of someone you’ve never met is paramount to dating or falling in love with an avatar whom you have created in your own mind. When people limit their relationships to the internet and other keyboard interfaces, they may be giving in to their fears of face-to-face interaction and end up drastically limiting their relationship potential.

Intimacy requires knowing a person

Intimacy requires knowing a person and letting someone get to know you. For those who are physically and emotionally capable, I recommend multidimensional relationships that involve all the senses—including sight, smell, touch, and sound, as well as intuition. True communication involves a person’s tone of voice, body language, touch, smell, and energetic connection. Only by interacting with all our senses can two individuals get to know each other fully.

Online interfacing limits how deeply you get to know a person. We learn far more about a person by being in his or her physical presence than we do from any amount of texting or online communication. Unless you know a person well, his or her texted words are nothing but words that may be true, false, borrowed, or even sent to a multitude of people.

Beware of instant gratification

The only reason for continuing such a uni-dimensional and barren relationship is to be able to get that endorphin rush of receiving validation through a text that conveys a compliment, interest, or some other feeling of connection. However, if you want long-term fulfillment, you have to resist instant gratification. It is wasting your time and will getting you nowhere.

Addressing your question above, here are some thoughts as to how to behave differently in future online relationships.

“Near the beginning I asked him to meet…. We did not meet.”

First – End your hopes for this “relationship.” He clearly has no interest.

If someone keeps refusing to meet you, assume that he is unavailable. You really don’t know who he is. He may be texting with 15 different women and simply be addicted to the safe anonymity he gets with his handheld device and his own small world. Don’t waste any more of your time.

There are several reputable online dating services that provide specific and safe protocols that lead to meeting a person early on.

“He went silent and I texted him constantly for four days.”

Never text someone constantly. Don’t even send 2, 3, 4 texts in a row without a response, unless you are texting practical information. The more you pursue, the more the other will retreat.

“I texted him because my feelings wouldn’t stop.”

One of the difficult but important things in life is to pay attention to your feelings, but do not be driven by them. Take them into account, but also use objective reason about human behavior in deciding how to interact with others.

Good luck.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen

Read “Does she like me? She doesn’t text me like she did at the beginning.”

Read “Sensuality: ‘I’m just not a sensual person.’”

Read “Fears and Phobias: ‘I avoid going out in public because I don’t like talking to strangers.’”

Read “Text… phone call… email… ‘Oh…what were you saying?’”

“I’ve texted you five times in the last hour! Where have you been?”

"Short-line" Bob LaPoint by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

Keeping your partner on a short rope often results from fear of loss or abandonment. However, the shorter the rope, the more trouble you’ll have. Having a tight grip is a fast way to lose your handle on the relationship, or worse, live in a state of paranoid obsessive possessiveness that inevitably causes a painful crash.

Checking in to say “hello” or make plans is a nice show of warmth and affection. But incessant calling or texting can spiral into an emotionally-fused relationship.

When inordinate energy is focused on a relationship, and hardly any energy is directed toward your own functioning, you can develop a need to be in constant contact to feel balanced.

After the initial flattery of being pursued wears off, a person under constant surveillance might start hiding innocent behavior. He or she may become annoyed and evasive, arousing further suspicion and monitoring in the text addict’s behavior. The relationship becomes inflexible and constrained, a true example of “the short-rope syndrome.”

The better you learn to be patient and live with your insecurity about the relationship without knee-jerk texting or calling, the more emotionally-whole and grounded you will be, and the healthier the relationship. When you are more whole as an individual, you’re able to give your partner freedom without keeping constant tabs on him or her. Freedom and time apart are essential ingredients for a relationship based on desire and free choice.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Control Kills Passion.”

Read “Don’t you love me?”