LifestyleFexting: When texting turns to fighting and leaves lasting scars

Fexting: When texting turns to fighting and leaves lasting scars

Fexting dangerous for relationships
Fexting dangerous for relationships
Images source: © Getty Images

1:51 PM EST, November 28, 2023

Fexting, a term used to describe arguing through smartphones, can potentially become a trap. This is because it's not difficult to cross boundaries in such fights, creating lasting damage. Slanders and accusations are saved in the phone, a fact experts warn could be harmful.

In the digital age, communication between partners often occurs via smartphones, rather than face-to-face encounters.

The term "Fexting", a portmanteau of "texting" and "fighting", is being adopted by an increasing number of people. It may seem innocuous, yet it can easily become a trap that threatens relationships.

Jill Biden's Usage of Fexting

The term fexting was first publicized by the first lady of the United States, Jill Biden, in one of her interviews.

Jill Biden revealed that she and her husband, Joe Biden, decided to argue via text messages. The reason for this was due to the constant presence of special forces representatives in their home after Joe became the vice president of the United States. The couple did not want their marital disagreements to be overheard.

How can we explain fexting being a common practice in many households, not just the Bidens'? Several factors contribute to this. Fexting is often a part of long-distance relationships, or those where partners don't see each other frequently. It's a popular method to express immediate emotions without waiting for a partner to come home. Additionally, some people use fexting as a way of avoiding face-to-face confrontations.

The Vicious Cycle of Fexting

Psychologist and psychotherapist Karolina Włodarczyk-Nadolska, known for her work in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, suggests that fexting often arises from underlying hurt feelings. She speaks in depth about this in her therapy sessions.

The recipient of a fexting message often defensively responds with comments like "You're misunderstanding", "That's not what I said", or "You're always aggressive". This dismisses the sender's experiences, adding fuel to the fire. The couple may feel trapped in a cycle of accusations or withdrawal, remarks the psychologist.

Unfortunately, fexting often doesn't lead to constructive solutions. Without the ability to interpret tone of voice or facial expressions, emotions may be misconstrued, potentially escalating the conflict rather than resolving it.

Each party involved in the fexting is left with their own interpretation of the text messages. Non-verbal communication constitutes roughly 70% of our direct communication, particularly in close relationships and conflict situations. In a fexting quarrel, we can't see or hear the other person, which often leads to overstepping boundaries. This causes fexting conflict to frequently be prolonged, explains the expert.

One of the worst impacts of fexting is that insults, slanders, or accusations exchanged are saved in the phone, making them harder to forget.

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