Are You Wearing Text Goggles?


Photo Credit: Creative Commons, Loungerie

As a millennial, I understand the appeal of the text message. It’s easy, convenient, non-threatening, and can be ignored. I have texted guys to suggest a hang out when I hadn’t heard from them in a while; I have received tweets, texts, and emails from men for last-minute ‘dates’ that never seemed to work out the way they did in my head. I’ve had a texter vanish into thin air, leaving me (embarrassingly) devastated.

Many of the women I counsel feel wrecked by similar text-based relationships and confused when they end. I think partially the problem is what I call “text goggles”.

Text goggles: A phenomenon in which texting impairs the judgment of an individual in a relationship and makes the other person with a character deficit, emotional instability, or lack of depth appear more attractive than they actually are.

Roxanne Jones, founding editor of ESPN The Magazine and a former vice president at ESPN, noted in her CNN Article, “As a happily single woman, I am shocked at how many professional, attractive and otherwise intelligent men have no idea how to communicate effectively by phone or face to face.”

Text chemistry can skew your judgment and make it easy to think something is there—maybe a future, a different romantic feeling, or possibly a husband. But text chemistry doesn’t equal real-life connection.

Texting isn’t bad and I’m not anti-technology; we just need to be careful because it doesn’t translate well into relationships. Here’s a cardinal rule about texting: Texting should always be leading to face-to-face interaction not taking away from it.

My messy relational life before meeting my husband led to heartbreak and loads of confusion; but after sorting through the broken pieces I discovered that texting or being the ‘always-available’ girl might have been part of the problem. Enough was enough, so I decided to experiment with dating differently, specifically in the areas of communication and sex. I really wanted to find Mr. Right, not just Mr. Tonight.

Here’s some reasons texting can produce clouded judgment:

Texting is easy. Easy isn’t bad; it just means you can’t—or shouldn’t—start planning your perfect summer wedding because your ‘text chemistry’ with your guy is through the roof. The constant texting may simply means he is bored, likes the attention, looking for a hookup, or enthralled just like you are with the chemistry.

Texting is not a real connection. While texting has dramatically changed the dating climate, text-based relationships can bring a false sense of intimacy—the same way following your favorite blogger or singer doesn’t mean you actually know them. It’s easy to feel exhilarated and even connected by a rapid-fire, flirty text banter, but text chemistry doesn’t hold weight off-screen. Too many settle for this emotionally addictive buzz in lieu of a real connection.

Texting affords both you and him to be someone you’re not. The person on the other end of the message may not be who his texts suggest he is. You might be wearing text-goggles. But just like if you were under the influence of alcohol, you need to take off the text-goggles—spend some quality time communicating face-to-face—before you image he’s the one for you. 

Texting handicaps the communication necessary to build a healthy relationship.  How does Mr. Text handle conflict? Is he in the 58% that will cowardly break up with you over text? We’re losing basic communication skills—how to have healthy argument without name-calling, conflict resolution, asking personal questions, because it’s easier to hide behind technology. It’s common to mask hurt feelings, deep emotions, and harsh words behind screens. Communication is the most important aspect of a relationship that withstands the test of time, and carrying out a majority of your relationship on-screen means you are headed for dangerous waters.

Real communication takes courage. Telling a man or a woman you want to end a relationship over the phone or in person takes character. Putting yourself out there and not sending a mass text or a late-night one is what will make the men stand out among boys. Take a risk and find a lasting relationship without the goggles.  You won’t be disappointed.

Have you ever been in a relationship that suffered from “text goggles”? Please share!

If you haven’t bought your copy of Real Men Don’t Text, I have good news for you! You can buy it directly through our website  (free shipping!) and if you’re one of the many that wrote and said you wanted to send it to someone anonymously (:)) you can now do that here.

If you liked this post, you may also like:

4 Responses to “Are You Wearing Text Goggles?”
  1. Adam says:

    I’ll admit it. I’ve been in a few of these relationships myself. It can be addicting. Thanks for the reminder that texting should always be leading to face-to-face communication not taking away from it.

  2. Sarah says:

    I met a guy in July. Nice guy. Really. However, since July, we have had 3 “dates.” I am not in a hurry for a relationship and I figured is shy behavior was a bit cute. However, he texts constantly. He speaks beautifully via text. I fell into the false intimacy trap. I read your book a few weeks ago. I have taken tips from the book. I now only answer within an hour and then only reply with call me, or something vague. I do not engage in conversation. It has slowed way down and I have not seen him in 2 weeks. I’m happy. I feel more empowered. I do not have to answer these texts! I really think your book hit so many issues on the head. Even for me, at 39, and this guy is 43. Its difficult, but this isn’t the way to start out. I think of marrying someone that I can text with but not talk face to face with is SCARY. -Blessings!!!

  3. Jess says:

    Oh boy. This post was a necessary swift kick in the behind for me. I just got out of a text-based “situation” with a guy I had been talking to for about 5 months. He was working out of town, missing home, feeling lonely, and I found myself unwittingly filling a void for him. We had all-night phone conversations, we were the first person each other talked to in the morning and last person each other talked to at night, we sent daily texts of encouragement, Bible verses, and “thinking of you” sentiments, and even mailed packages to each other. I didn’t realize how far I got sucked into this false sense of intimacy until he recently cancelled our plans to meet up after having returned home. Almost suddenly, the ongoing conversation we’d be having promptly stopped, aside from the rare late-night “harmless” text, which left me feeling very confused, hurt, and foolish. Perhaps it was my own naivete or the simple fact that I liked the attention, but I realized that the intention of someone who primarily communicates through text becomes strikingly clear when they don’t make an effort to spend any real time with you, even if they’re a 30-year-old, Jesus-loving, seemingly very-interested-in-you man.

    As difficult as it can be to uphold standards that modern culture now deems as “old fashioned”, I’ve learned first hand how emotionally dangerous it can be to get wrapped up in a text-based relationship, as harmless as it seems in the beginning. Now it’s a matter of picking up the pieces and learning from the experience, and pledging to not get sucked into another texting relationship, no matter how tempting the attention might be, because I realized that what I allow, will continue.

    Thank you for the post! What a great reminder to keep ourselves accountable to the “real” thing we are all ultimately seeking after!

  4. Kelly says:

    Yeah I really thought I liked this guy because he was a cute, nice, Christian and he seemed really into me. We were in the same Christian group but we had only met once and then basically talked on facebook almost every day for two weeks. Then when we went to Large group we saw each other and we had NOTHING to talk about. I’m pretty conversational but literally we just stood there after exchanging hellos; besides our faith I doubt we have anything in common, but it was just so easy to build up who i though he was in my own head when we only talked via technology.

Leave A Comment