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Texting anxiety: 4 key ways it’s harming your relationship

Navigating the modern dating scene can give anyone anxiety.

And if you already sweat the small stuff, texting might add one more layer of worry.

Psychologists have agreed unanimously – texting anxiety is a very real thing.

What’s worse, it may be stopping you from establishing deep connections, especially romantically.

Clinical psychologist Brandy Engler says:

“It’s a particular kind of suspense anxiety. And I have watched it drive my clients crazy.”

There’s no definite data on how many people suffer from texting, but research suggests 20% of Americans associate their mobile phones with stress.

Well, that’s totally understandable.

Here’s why texting anxiety can ruin the “fun” in dating.

What is texting anxiety?

Psychologist Forrest Talley, Ph.D. defines it as:

“Texting anxiety is the distress some people experience when waiting for a reply from a text that they have sent, or the distress related to a text that has been received that raises unexpected questions/concerns.”

Ever felt so stressed out when texting someone? Are you always overthinking every word, punctuation, and emoji you send? Does a late reply distract and agitate you?

You might be suffering from texting anxiety. And here are 4 ways it’s harming you and your love life.

1. It’s fruitless.

Having texting anxiety won’t do you any good. It’s not only stressful for your dating life, but it’s also unhealthy to your mental health as well.

According to psychologist Kelley Kitley, it’s because of your desire to micromanage:

“We figure that since we are someone who would text back immediately, that everyone else should, too.

“But it’s not something we can change about another person. People follow their own timelines when it comes to these things.”

In short, it’s just a waste of time and energy. The time you use worrying could be used to do something more productive.

How to fix it: 

Remember, this anxiety is only caused by ego.

Engler explains:

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“That’s where a lot of the anxiety comes from. The ego is what gets you saying things like, ‘Oh, they didn’t text back because they didn’t like me.’ In reality, the reason they’re not texting back could have nothing to do with you.”

2. It just agitates you.

Having texting anxiety is not the ideal mental state.

Natasha Schull, a professor of media, culture, and communication at New York University, says:

“There’s a huge amount of chance and uncontrollability. You can’t really rest when you have an action out in the world and you haven’t gotten the feedback yet. You get in a heightened state of agitation.”

Agitation, in turn, leads to mood swings, uneasiness, and is even one of the causes of depression.

3. It adds to your daily stress.

Did you know that chronic stress is one of the six leading causes of death worldwide?

We all experience stress on a daily basis, but texting shouldn’t be added on the list. Communicating with someone shouldn’t stress the hell out of you.

But when you have texting anxiety, it’s hard to stop yourself.

Talley adds:

“The impact is that this anxiety adds to one’s daily stress, is a distraction, and frequently leads people to spend unnecessary time attempting to resolve the tension that has now arisen.”

4. You’re constantly in a roller coaster of emotions.

The validation you get from texting is a double-edged sword.

Research has shown that dopamine is linked to parts of our brains that give feelings of longing and pleasure in giving and receiving.

That means you do get a happy shot from texting someone. But it’s quickly followed with the anxiety and immediate want of a response. When it’s not given quickly, it causes negative emotions.

According to psychologist and behavioral scientist Susan Weinschenk:

“Instead of dopamine causing you to experience pleasure, the latest research shows that dopamine causes seeking behavior. Dopamine causes you to want, desire, seek out, and search.

“With the internet, twitter, and texting you now have almost instant gratification of your desire to seek.

“Dopamine starts you seeking, then you get rewarded for the seeking which makes you seek more. It becomes harder and harder to stop looking at email, stop texting, or stop checking your cell phone to see if you have a message or a new text.”

At the end of the day, texting anxiety is a very real thing, that it might be worth considering as a health issue.

Now that you’ve read about texting anxiety, check out our epic guide to taking a break in a relationship. Or find out the 10 things to know on loving someone with anxiety.

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Written by Genefe Navilon

Genefe Navilon is a writer, poet, and blogger. She graduated with a degree in Mass Communications at the University of San Jose Recoletos. Her poetry blog, Letters To The Sea, currently has 18,000 followers. Her work has been published in different websites and poetry book anthologies. She divides her time between traveling, writing, and working on her debut poetry book.

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