How to save a relationship over text

These days everyone seems to live on their smartphones. 

Many relationships are born and die in the ping of a new message or the silence and dread of being left on read.

There’s a reason our heartbeat cranks up when we receive a message from somebody we really care about: 

It’s because we know that sometimes the stakes really are quite high. 

If you’re in a relationship that’s not doing well and looking for answers, I’m going to give them to you. 

Here’s how to save a relationship over text. 

Consider this emergency digital combat medicine for the battlefield of love. 

Get your phone in your hands…

First, get your phone in your hands (if it’s not already).

Next, send this text: 

“I’ve been thinking about us, and I realized something really important.”

Wait for him or her to respond. This is just your opening move. 

You’re letting them know that you’ve been thinking of them and that you’ve had a crucial insight about the two of you. That’s good!

Alternatives that are effective include: 

  • “I woke up this morning thinking of you and missing you so much and how we used to be. I think we can have that again…”
  • “Remember this trip? It was the best time of my life…” (Attach photo of a special trip you did together as a couple). 
  • “Hey, remember me? I still love you. Let’s talk :).”

These opening texts are good ways to get back into her consciousness and start a text exchange. 

It can also be a good idea to talk to somebody who’s an expert. 

Let’s do this!

Ten months ago my relationship was on the rocks. 

It was flatlining. I knew my girlfriend was about to break up with me any day. 

To be honest with you, it felt like she already had, and that emotional connection and trust just wasn’t there anymore. 

At that time I reached out to a site called Relationship Hero. It’s a place where dating coaches help with problems exactly like this. 

They’ve seen relationships that anyone else would have thought were completely over and helped breathe new life into them. 

Let me put it this way: 

Where there’s love, there’s hope. 

It’s just a matter of approaching this in a thoughtful but also bold way. 

I personally found my coach extremely insightful and practical, with suggestions that directly helped me save that relationship over text. 

We are now dating helpfully almost a year later, and I have my coach to thank for that. 

Relationship Hero seriously know their stuff and I recommend checking them out

What’s next?

Next up, you’re allowing them at least a few days to respond. 

If there’s no answer at all, or they left you on read, send a follow-up: 

“I’d really like to talk to you when you have a minute.”

Wait another day maximum.

If they ignore you completely then you have been ghosted and the relationship is essentially over in any case, apart from showing up in person to try to talk to them.

Their response may be something along the lines of “what do you mean?”

This is where you open up about what you see going wrong in your relationship and some potential solutions or bright spots that you also see. 

Communication is the key here, but texting is notoriously difficult to communicate emotions and subtext. 

For this reason, I’m going to suggest the following unorthodox but effective approach for how to save a relationship over text: 

  • Keep the explanation text short and vague. 
  • Hint at the issues and their solution possibilities, but don’t try to work it all out or talk it out in a long text chain. 
  • Instead, send a text as soon as possible asking if there’s a time you could call to talk for a minute. 

In other words, what I advise is this: 

Use texting to get off texting and talk by voice. 

Once you’ve got them on the line…

Once you’ve got them on the line there’s a lot more to go on.

Tone of voice is very important and you can tell a lot by the way they talk and how they respond to what you say. 

Are they jumping to end the conversation or open to taking for a bit?

Are they rude and aggressive or calm and resigned? 

Do you feel affection and attraction talking to them or just exhaustion?

Pay close attention to how talking to you makes them feel and how you are coming across as well. 

Be true to yourself, of course, but also try to be patient and keep yourself from raising your voice or becoming overly confrontational

Think of this as an information-gathering expedition. You’re trying to save your relationship, which is a pretty big deal, but it’s not going be helped by getting noticeably stressed out over the phone. 

As you talk, keep in mind that while it’s also better than texting you’re unlikely to truly get a clear picture on what’s going on and how to save the relationship from here. 

Instead, you want to use the voice call as a bridge to transition off to an in-person meeting.

Meeting in person

Earlier I suggested potentially showing up in person if you receive no answer to your first texts. 

However, if you show up cold it’s much more likely to be uncomfortable and end badly. 

Instead, you optimally want to start by texting, use that to set up a call, and then use the call to set up an in-person meeting. 

Good choices for where to meet include at a quiet cafe or restaurant, a park, a place you both like or at one of your homes (or in a comfortable room if you live together). 

Once you meet in person you can look him or her in the eyes and get much more of a feel about the energy between the two of you. 

How does it feel being around them?

Do you feel like you could reach out and touch them or would it be awkward?

Do your best to make strong eye contact, appreciate efforts they’re making at communicating and use your words to heal wounds and express remorse or understanding whenever necessary. 

This is where you show that you understand things aren’t great, but you want to keep trying and you’re in this with your whole heart. 

What if texting is the only option?

In some cases, texting is the only option. 

The relationship may be in such rough shape that your partner isn’t willing to jump on a voice call with you, much less meet in person. 

In this case, proceed with the suggestions I gave above and take it slow thereafter. 

If they respond angrily or with aggression or dismissive words, try to keep your patience. 

We can all get moody at times, particularly in a relationship that’s having issues

As you text out the potential future, keep these tips in mind about maximizing your chances of saving the relationship: 

  • Use “I” statements: “I feel…” “I see it as…” “In my experience…” 
  • This keeps it from being a situation where you accuse your partner or make it their fault (even if it mostly is). 
  • You focus on how the relationship or its issues is impacting you, not on trying to read the mind or heart of your partner
  • Express your love for them, but don’t be over the top. It’s good they know you still have feelings, but if they feel you’re dependent they are likely to lose attraction even more.
  • Keep your promises modest. The rule of relationships is to always under-promise and over-deliver. 
  • Maintain texting discipline: keep texts short, use minimal emoticons (they can sometimes come across as overly attention-seeking and immature), and don’t respond immediately or in a frenzy. 
  • Pause if you receive a hurtful text or one that really confuses you. If you don’t want to leave your partner hanging let them know that something has come up and you will get back to them ASAP. 

The last text…

The last word (or last text) on this subject is as follows:

Texting isn’t as good as a voice call or an in-person meeting for saving a relationship, but it can be the start of repairing what’s gone wrong and bridging the divide. 

If texting is all you have, it can also be an effective way to give your partner the time and space they need to respond when they’re ready. 

At the same time as texting is frustrating because it’s so easy to miscommunicate and go off on tangents, it’s also helpful sometimes to have a medium which is so fully optional for each party. 

At the same time, make sure that you don’t get stuck in a loop of texting for weeks or months with somebody you’re dating and rarely see (been there, got the t-shirt). 

It’s not fun and you’re only going to end up feeling even worse. 

As Sherri Gordon writes:

“Additionally, texting frequently can come from a place of loneliness, which only exacerbates the issue by further alienating and isolating the texter.”

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Hack Spirit! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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