Note: Some of these text exchanges are R-rated due to explicit language.
I’ve recently had a few potential romantic relationships fizzle and die out because of the inability of us to move beyond text as a primary form of communication. It is the most frustrating thing I’ve ever experienced – this crutch of texting in new relationships. With one guy, I even told him that if we wanted to move to the next level, we had to talk on the phone more so we could get to know each other. I was very specific that the texting had to be diminished. This particular technology seems to have ruined dating and set up roadblocks to getting to know someone.
There is a magic that happens between a man and a woman. Experts try to de-mystify the magic of attraction (see this article), but, honestly, we don’t have any sure-fire way to predict who will spark that flame that causes our hearts to pound and our palms to get sweaty. If we knew that, dating online would be easy. We could just type in our own special “recipe” and find him or her. Some of the strongest attractions I’ve had in my life were with people that I didn’t want to be attracted to. If I could have controlled it, I would have said no…not this one. And, since I wasn’t really interested initially, I didn’t seek out time with them. We were thrown together on a project, a team, with mutual friends or a job. I generally didn’t put up any defenses because they weren’t my type, and I wasn’t interested. But, gradually…. day by day … something started grabbing my attention. It may have been his intelligence… his wit … his stubbornness … or the twinkle in his eye when he looked at me. It could have been something else mysterious and under the surface. I don’t know. I just know that once those flames start, it is impossible to put them out without a Herculean effort. That is the magic of attraction… and the super-human strength of it.
The problem with texting is that the magic doesn’t have a chance to happen. With texting – especially if you don’t know each other yet – you make up what the other person is thinking. Even with people I know really well, we misunderstand each other on text. I have to remind myself of the nature of the person before I go off half-cocked with my imagination of what I think they meant. But, with somebody I don’t know, I don’t have any background to tell me who this person really is and what they might mean. I just make it up depending on whether I have a good feeling about them or not. And, since there is no personal interaction or exchange of energy going on, the fire really never has a chance to ignite. It’s like trying to light a campfire by lighting a match on the other side of the campground and wishing it would light. You have to put the male and female in close enough proximity for combustion.
Some of my strongest surprise attractions have been at work. I love teamwork, and intelligence and creativity are big attractors for me. When I start having fun at work, and I start to see how a man solves problems, engages others and enjoys what he’s doing, it’s a big turn-on. And, of course, when I start getting attracted -my pilot light gets lit – I turn into a pretty fun girl. If he’s attracted to somebody like me, it can turn into a really fun time, and the proximity helps to keep us engaged enough to stoke the fire. But, for the attraction to build, it has to have closeness, time in the game and a spark. I’ve been strongly attracted to some men in those types of situations that I would have thought were totally not my type. There’s just no rhyme or reason for it.
A friend of mine wanted to introduce me to a friend of hers awhile back. She lives in another state, so we couldn’t be introduced in person. I told her she was welcome to give him my number, and he started texting me. I ended up getting irritated with him because it seemed like he was making fun of me. I texted her and asked her what she thought we had in common because so far he seemed to not like me at all. She was horrified that this 50-something professional was texting me instead of calling me. I told her that seemed to be par for the course these days. They are just too lazy or scared or disinterested to pick up the phone. I ended up telling him I didn’t think we had anything in common before I ever even heard his voice. He’s already ticked me off. Who knows? He could have been the man of my dreams if we’d had an opportunity to go out for a hike, planted a garden or played tennis. We’ll never know because he couldn’t or wouldn’t dial the phone. One of my younger friends asked me if I would call him. Absolutely not…. if he’d called me a couple of times, maybe I would. But, if he doesn’t have the kahunas or the interest to call me to hear my voice, then I’m not interested. Remember, I’m attracted to a man’s wit, intelligence, ability to solve problems and stubbornness. A relentless texter doesn’t show me any of those things.
There are certain forms of technology that help dating. The cell phone keeps us more available. Let’s face it, if I could only answer the phone when I was home, you’d have a hard time catching me. Online dating opens up options for romantic partners across miles and by bypassing the need to run into each other. Skype and FaceTime allow you to talk almost “in person” whether you are down the street or on another continent. But, texting does nothing to spark the magic of attraction. In fact, I’d argue that it causes more relationships to fizzle before they ever get started than it helps.
Texting is helpful for short conversations or making dates but only if there is more phone and face time than there is texting. If they only want to text, my attraction starts to die pretty quickly. And, if the communication stays at texting, I don’t feel anything build inside me. I can’t help it. I want the magic of being in a man’s space and feeling the energy that goes back and forth between the sexes. It’s a physical and emotional thing that I can only tap in person. There’s just something about it that gets me all hot and bothered. It’s magical. It’s mysterious.
A friend of mine told me the other day that he just wanted to feel that crazy excitement of teenage love again. I thought it was a teenage thing until I experienced it in my 40s. I remember how shocked I was when it happened with my second husband. My heart starts beating when I hear that person’s name or see them walk across the room. My palms get sweaty when I’m talking to them. I lock eyes with them, and my brain goes fuzzy. When we talk, we can’t quit talking. We literally can’t hang up the phone. When we are not together, I can think of nothing but them. Time slows down painfully when we’re not together. It’s like there’s a magnetic attraction between the two of us, and everything they say and do is fascinating. When I look at them, the rest of the world fades away. It’s exciting. It’s not a teenage thing. Yes, it’s hormonal, but it’s also something that doesn’t happen when you text. You have to be in the same space. You have to hear their voice and engage in conversation. You have to dance the dance. Has everybody forgotten that? I’m with my friend. I want that again. Yes, it may be disappointing if I spend time with somebody and it doesn’t happen, but it will be so worth it when it does. I’d be willing to stop texting for that.