We're on our way to the ATT store to upgrade our phones and change our plan to one with less talking and more texting. Actually, we're currently charged for our texts individually (at about 20 cents each!) because we've got the only two teenagers in the world who don't like to text. But that's changing because Boo's friends like to text, leaving her little choice, and because my clients are increasingly choosing to contact me that way.
That reminds me of something I've been noticing more and more. I am amazed at how much delicate relational work couples are doing through texting. I actually watched one couple negotiate at least half of their decision to divorce through text messages, back in the days before qwerty phones, when they had to do it all with their thumbs.
One thing I'm noticing now is how one or both partners have the expectation that their spouse should be immediately available by phone 24 hours a day. This is a common scenario: the wife will text her husband something innocuous like "how r u?" but doesn't hear back. This makes her anxious so she starts sending messages questioning his love for her, expressing her insecurity and eventually her fury. By the time he gets back to her to tell her that he was in a meeting or on a phone call or (in one case) laying carpet, she is feeling so abandoned and angry that repairing the damage seems impossible. Although it's sometimes the husband and not the wife, I am seeing this pattern on at least a weekly basis.
I also see couples who bicker by email (or now texting) all day long, leaving them both emotionally exhausted and angry by the end of the day when they reconnect. Understandably, they're just so tired of all the negativity that they want to end the marriage without even noticing the toll that technological accessibility is taking.
More and more often, I'm prescribing no texting, no cell phone calls and no emailing for couples during the work day, making them earn back the privilege with "good behavior." Twenty years ago when I started this work, I never imagined!