The Best Way To Survive Inevitable Text Fights With Your Partner

Digital connectivity can keep you close to your partner throughout the day: you can snap them, tweet them, DM them or facetime them often without missing a beat at work. But what happens when things get a little tense? Text fights with a partner — different in many ways than IRL fights — are a unique battleground fraught with misunderstandings and awkwardly timed emojis that can have a major impact on your relationship.

Like many Millennials, my first breakup was over IM. As someone who has negotiated their entire romantic life over gchat, text, email, and social media, it's hard to imagine facing every bit of interpersonal friction face to face. That said, not everyone is a master of the text fight. In fact, some people prefer the phone, some folks prefer email, and some couples prefer an old fashioned sit down. And just as everyone has their own way of expressing love, we each have our own unique ways of expressing anger, too. When you're trying to deal with a disagreement, it's imperative to know how you and your partner engage in a fight and whether your fighting styles are causing even more conflict than the issue at hand. This is particularly true for a text fight.

Here are five things to be aware of when you're arguing via smartphone:


Make Sure Technical Difficulties Aren't Causing The Fight

Sometimes a text fight is purely the result of technical difficulties. If you find yourself in a tiff with your partner about something petty, stop and ask yourself if it's indicative of a larger problem in your relationship, or if it's possible your sexy selfie or good morning missive wasn't received and that's why there was dead silence for the past hour.


Ask For Clarification

Unlike face to face discussions, things can get heated when you can't see your partner's face or body language to interpret how they're feeling. If a text back and forth begins to go south, clarity is vital. Asking your partner to reiterate what made them upset, or repeating why you're upset is a good way to slow down and de-escalate so you can both get your bearings and get on the same page.


Use Emojis

When you don't know what to say, an emoji can sometimes do the trick. Are you feeling guilty? That blue and yellow sad face with a single tear might convey the depth of your feelings. Are you desperate to let your partner know you really love them? A few double hearts might convey it even better than the words. But although soothing a sad or frustrated lover via text with a carefully-placed emoji is a great idea, just be aware that there is always the possibility that your choice will not be well-received — especially if you try to ignore or derail a conversation through cute animals or rainbows without letting your partner know you've heard their grievances first.


Time Your Responses Properly

There's nothing worse mid-fight than to see those little typing dots disappear. Although everyone knows a text fight can happen in the middle of a busy workday or a night out with friends, it's best to try to let your partner know when and why you have to press pause on the interaction. Dropping off the map can feel alienating and make something small seem way worse when it's followed by an hour of silence. This is when emojis can be useful when paired with a "BRB work drama" or "I hear you, one sec."


Decide If The Fight Is Better Had IRL

Minor squabbles come and go with little fanfare over text, but sometimes you need a real sit down to hash out serious issues. Every time you start to get into with a partner and you're not in the same vicinity, stop and think if this interaction would be more productive in person.

Then, when you can devote time and energy together without the distractions of work or friends or family, you can really begin to work on fighting fair.