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The surprising secret to a happy millennial relationship

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Anna Brech
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A new study puts an unexpected spin on the link between technology and long-term love

We’re often told how mobiles phones are the enemy of good relationships. “Phubbing” (snubbing someone by paying more attention to your device) is a major cause of tension for couples in a modern era, and too much time spent glued to the screen erodes intimacy and trust.

Even if the interruption is brief or unintentional, devoting time to your phone rather than your partner sends out an implicit message about what you value the most - as this brilliant photo series illustrates.

However, the tidal wave that connects technology and romance may be turning, as a new study finds that millennial couples who text alike are happier together.

Psychologists at Pace University, New York, grilled 205 adults aged between 18-29 about their and their partner’s texting habits. 

An image from Eric Pickersgill’s Removed project, which highlights the disconnect effect of mobile phones on personal relationships

Those questioned in the study - published in the journal Computers In Human Behaviour - were all in relationships, and 74% were women. 

Participants were asked about a number of texting habits, including frequency of initiation, showing affection, bringing up an issue, saying hello or expressing anger.

Researchers discovered a close correlation between relationship happiness and similar texting habits. This was true both for actual similarities, and for couples who perceived their texting style to be alike.

“Greater perceived similarity between oneself and one’s partner on each individual [criterion] was correlated with greater relationship satisfaction,” the researchers wrote. “Greater overall similarity in texting behaviour was also correlated with greater satisfaction.”

Happy days: couples who text alike are more content together

The psychologists say the results suggest that similarity of text messaging “can be a point of intervention in romantic relationships”. 

However, the results may be swayed by the higher amount of female participants; the team speculates that women may place greater emphasis on the importance of texting correlation than men.

Either way, the study offers a glimmer of hope the next time you WhatsApp your loved one from bed asking for a cup of tea. 

No, you’re not being demanding or anti-social. You’re merely enhancing your compatibility. 

Whoever said romance was dead, eh?

Photos: Shutterstock/Eric Pickersgill

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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