Next to talking one-on-one, texting is currently one of the most instant forms of communication. While texting might be the perfect platform to say a quick “hi,” there are some things to watch out for in a textual relationship with your partner.
Texting Too Much
If your partner texts too much, it’s not only irritating, but it could unhealthy. Keeping in touch with your significant other throughout the day can be thoughtful, but constant contact may be a sign of controlling behavior. Consider talking to your partner about giving you a little bit of space. Remember, if they’re using text messages to monitor who you’re with or where you go, that is a warning sign of abuse.
Does your partner ask for sexually explicit pictures of you? Or send them to you? You have the right to choose whether or not you want to engage in any kind of sexual activity, and that includes sexting with your partner. You deserve to feel safe and respected in your relationship at all times. If your partner is pressuring or forcing you to sext when you don’t want to, or if you sexted privately with your partner and they are breaking your trust by threatening to share your photos or texts, these are abusive behaviors.
Sexting can also have legal consequences. Any nude photos or videos of someone under the age of 18 could be considered child pornography, which is illegal to own or distribute.
Reading Someone Else’s Texts
Does your partner ask to read your texts? Or do they read them behind your back? Healthy relationships are built on trust, not jealousy. You have the right to privacy and the ability to talk to whomever you like. You may want to explain to your partner that you have nothing to hide, but that you don’t like them going through your phone or deciding who your friends are. If your partner refuses to change, you could be in an unhealthy relationship. Take our quiz to find out if there are other warning signs in your relationships.
Threats over Text
Threats over text should be taken seriously — try not to write them off as angry venting. Keep track of threatening texts and think about talking to someone you trust about what is happening. Being in a violent relationship is dangerous, and you don’t have to go through it alone.
What Can I Do?
Whether you feel like your partner is already using their cell phone in an abusive way or you’re trying to prevent it, here are tips to keep you safe and healthy:
- Remember, it’s ok to turn off your phone. Just be sure your parent or guardian knows how to contact you in an emergency.
- Don’t answer calls from unknown or blocked numbers. Your abuser can easily call you from another line if they suspect you are avoiding them.
- Try to avoid responding to hostile, harassing, abusive or inappropriate texts or messages.
- Save or document troublesome texts as you may need them later for evidence in case you file a criminal report or ask for a restraining order.
- Many phone companies can block up to ten numbers from texting or calling you. Contact your phone company or check their website to see if you can do this on your phone.
- If you are in or coming out of a dangerous relationship, avoid using any form of technology to contact your abuser. It can be dangerous and may be used against you in the future.
- It may seem extreme, but if the abuse and harassment don’t stop, changing your phone number may be your best option.
If you are feeling threatened or suffocated by your partner’s constant calls or texts, it may be a sign that you are in an unhealthy and potentially abusive relationship. When your partner says or does things that make you afraid, lowers your self-esteem or manipulates you, it is called verbal or emotional abuse. You have the right to be in a safe and healthy relationship free from all types of abuse.