How to Avoid a “Textationship” (aka The Text Trap)

Don’t get caught in a text trap! Read our expert tips on avoiding a textationship and propelling your text relationship out of the digital sphere.

You meet someone new, exchange numbers, and then the conversation starts. This is how modern meet-cutes happen, whether you first connect through a dating app, over social media, through a friend, or during a night out on the town. Swapping numbers with someone you’re interested in is a great way to get the ball rolling, but things get tricky when texting is as far as things go. 

This is what’s referred to as the text trap, also known as a “textationship.” If you find yourself in this situation, you’re probably wondering, “How do I move things forward?” We’re here to uncover what a text trap is and how to keep your dating relationship from being confined to the digital sphere.

What Does Textationship Mean?

Let’s start by better understanding what a textationship means: Text messages are exchanged, there’s some great conversation, but things never move to the offline world. Days might turn into weeks, and weeks might even turn into months—all without an in-person, face-to-face meeting. 

Is a Texting Relationship a Real Relationship?

A texting relationship is a real relationship in that people are communicating, getting to know each other, and connecting. But one of the markers of a truly meaningful relationship is learning how to communicate in real time—meaning in person. Learning someone’s verbal and nonverbal cues is so important in developing a relationship and helps people understand one another better. It’s hard to pick those out over text. 

Furthermore, amid the fun flirting, you naturally begin to feel more and more attached to the person on the other end of the phone, but you haven’t had any real-life experiences with each other. A text relationship doesn’t let you see how the other person treats people, how they react to and cope with something as simple as a change in plans, and if there’s physical chemistry—things that you would normally only witness by spending time together in person.

And the longer you spend on text, the more your brain can turn them into a glorified version of the person you started talking to. If and when you do eventually meet IRL (dating acronym for “in real life”), it can be difficult or even disappointing because they might not be who you built them up to be in your head.

So long story short, a texting relationship can be full of developing feelings, but it should only set the stage for a potential relationship, not be a stand-in for one.

Tips for Avoiding a Textationship

To help you avoid the text trap and keep on moving in your quest for authentic connection, try the following strategies.

1. Try Not to Use Texting for Lengthy Conversations

No one can deny that texting is the new phone call. It’s quick, convenient, and takes the pressure off of certain interactions. While some might say to avoid lengthy text conversations when dating and opt only for face-to-face convos, that’s just now how the dating world works. So, of course, it’s okay to maintain a back-and-forth when you’re texting someone new. But the key here is to not stay in your text app. That’s where the text trap starts.

Some people keep sending “how was your day?” or “how’s it going?” texts as a type of connection replacement, which puts off meeting in person for days or even weeks. Don’t fall into this trap! Instead, reply how you’d like, but after a day or two of a text exchange, add how it would be nice to meet for a cup of coffee or lunch. 

If the other person seems to be playing hard to get by avoiding your request to see each other in person, consider how you’re feeling. If you’re fine with some more virtual interactions, that’s okay! But if you are frustrated and want to propel a text relationship into something more concrete, it might be time to move on.

2. Avoid Being Too Available

If you grab your phone and reply the moment you see a new text notification pop up on your screen, you might be making yourself too available. The excitement of talking to someone who piques your interests means that you’ll want to keep chatting and, of course, you’re looking forward to hearing from them. 

But the problem with waiting idly or immediately responding is that the person on the other end is going to start expecting an immediate response from you every single time, which not only sidetracks your life but can also lead to misunderstanding or resentment. They may begin to expect constant availability and accommodation. 

Another issue is that you can become addicted to the adrenaline rush that goes off every time you hear a “ping!” Being attached to your phone can take up a lot of mental and emotional energy.

Go ahead and answer straight away if it’s something like confirming your date for tomorrow night, but be wary if they are continually trying to engage you in conversation without in-person plans, as that could be a text trap.

3. Set a Deadline and Stick To It

When you meet an interesting new person online or in person and exchange numbers, give yourself a personal deadline. Ask yourself, “How long am I okay texting without actually speaking on the phone or setting a date to meet up?” Whatever that time frame is, stick to it.

4. Don’t Make Excuses for Them

People lead busy lives, and chances are that the person you’re texting leads one, too. A postponed plan every now and then isn’t something to be wary of, but if it becomes a routine, that’s an indicator that you might be headed for a textationship.

Respect yourself and your time by holding the other person accountable. That means you should avoid making excuses for them, and don’t let yourself be okay with continually canceled in-person or video meetups.

5. Communicate Clearly

Just as with a situationship or any other type of dating experience, communication is crucial—and especially so for avoiding a text trap. While you don’t have to schedule a meetup in the first text, if time goes by and you’re feeling antsy to see them in person, just say so! If they seem hesitant or keep putting it off, clearly convey what you need. 

It can feel vulnerable to share your dating expectations, but it’s immensely helpful for determining your future. 

How to End a Textationship

Emotionally speaking, ending a textationship isn’t easy. After all, you might not have met in real life, but your feelings are still real. Whether the other person just doesn’t seem like the right fit or they’re being wishy-washy with meeting in person, your reasons for ending a text relationship are valid. 

Let them know how you feel, that you’ve enjoyed talking to and getting to know them, and that you wish them the best. If they continue to text you, try not to indulge them. You may even need to protect yourself by blocking their number. 

Read our tips on how to get over someone you never dated. Then, when you’re ready to continue in your journey to find your person, try Tawkify. There are no text traps here—just curated matches that can lead to meaningful connections.

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