You should stop texting (all the time)

I lived through an intensive text-based relationship when I was a teenager. We would text a lot more than we’d be together. To be honest, texting felt better than actual human contact with my partner. Today I regret it.

This was one of my first relationships. If you can even call it that, because it was over shortly after the first kiss. It was the time that came before that that made it so interesting. I learned a lot. I learned a lot of basics. I got my heart broken. It was fun. It took years to get over those brief months of escalating emotions. I recently understood one of the mistakes I made back then, and one I believe a lot of people — teenagers but not only — do these days.

We were together sometimes, but we were texting all the time. We would go to parks, to the beach, hold hands at night, sit on the school bench, that kind of stuff, and it was cool. But we would text all the freaking time. My phone was constantly firing text messages with this same person no matter what part of the day, no matter where or with whom I was. You might say “but that’s sweet, you like each other so much that you just want to talk all the time”. And that’s the thing. We are not talking when we text. When we text we are interpreting a formatted digital message from someone and it has zero emotional value. The emotions we think we feel when somebody texts us a sweet message, that disappears as quickly as you turn away from your phone. It never happened.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that we would have serious conversations — that kind of conversation where you show your feelings and that determines where your relation is heading — over text. When things started to get bitter between us we always texted about it, instead of talking about it. And you know what? Years after that, I don’t remember one word from our texts. Everything is completely gone from my memory. We were two human beings that lived through wonderful passion and terrible separation, for the most part, over text. So, did all of that actually happened?

Separation is always hard when you like somebody, but living through it is as important as living through the best moments. We learn from experience, and we don’t just learn from pleasant experiences. Actually it is the painful ones that often teach us the most. And if you decide to have it done virtually, through digital comunication, you are throwing away a great chance to learn about people, to learn about yourself, to learn about life.

So going over a breakup (or any other wonderful experience of this kind) over text is the worst thing you can do. I don’t remember a thing. What I do remember are the few times I decided to take it personally, to have a talk face to face. I clearly remember aproaching this person’s house, alone at night, thinking of a million reasons to postpone this action. I clearly remember the rush in my body from confronting somebody that was so important to me. I do remember the moments when we held hands, when we played silly games at the beach, when we laugh at each other’s stupid jokes. I remember when I had this person at my door only to close it in it’s face. I remember the last hug.

Those things stay with you for life.

Texts disappear.