What You Should Know About 'Fexting'

With the technological advancements of the 21st century, a good chunk of our lives happens online. Recommendations of where to eat and what to do are solved through a Google search. We take classes online and work remotely. Even our relationships are formed via the internet. According to eHarmony, about 40% of Americans have dated online.

With the lack of face-to-face communication, lines can be blurred and intentions can be misunderstood. Even after you've found "the one" and you're done figuring out how you can get more matches when online dating, it doesn't guarantee that important conversations and pertinent discussions will happen face-to-face.

Busy schedules and distance can get in the way of in-person time that all couples, new and seasoned, need in order for their relationship to grow stronger. After all, about 14 million people in the U.S. are in long-distance relationships (via Marketwatch). With more partners taking their communication online, do words get lost in translation?

What is fexting?

Coined by Dr. Jill Biden, fexting occurs when couples fight over text rather than in person (via Refinery29 UK). Although most people probably can't relate to what the term was derived from (the First Lady and the president fought over text to avoid arguing in front of Secret Service), clashing through the phone is an understandable experience for any couple.

Communicating over text isn't an inherently bad thing; time differences, poor connections, and other factors often make typing rather than talking the easiest mode to get a point across in your relationship, long-distance or otherwise. Yet, some relationship experts don't believe fexting is actually the way to make yourself or your partner feel heard.

Being excessively rude, using short and curt responses, and overwhelming your partner with consecutive messages, all examples of fexting, could lead to more miscommunication and disagreements that may be detrimental to your relationship, reports Well+Good. While some of these things are done with the intention to harm, choosing to fight over text in general may always lead to words being misconstrued.

Try to resolve conflict rather than fext

Technology has undoubtedly made our lives easier. However, its potential strain on relationships is something that couples should strive to be open about. If there's a conversation you're having with a partner that can only happen over text, don't be afraid to put the phone down and let something else occupy your time (via HuffPost). Rather than lashing out in anger, take some time to think through what point you want to get across, then respond.

If you have the chance to wait until you see your partner in person or set up a phone or video call, take it. Without seeing facial expressions or hearing one's tone of voice, words can be taken out of context, escalating the situation to a place where neither you or your partner intended to go.

Observing the body language of your partner, actively listening, and being fully present will help you to overcome hurdles that exist in your relationship, says Verywell Mind. Communicating in a clear and kind way lessens rooms for misunderstanding, overthinking, and contempt.