If you’re in a relationship, try and remember the last time you went a day without texting your partner—whether it was “Thinking of you :)” or even just “Can you pick up paper towels?”
In a new study out of Brigham Young University, researchers looked at the texting habits of 138 couples (276 people) between the ages of 18 and 25. Every participant ID’d him or herself as either seriously dating, engaged or committed to be married, or married. The participants answered a ton of questions about their technology use and their relationships. According to the results, showing affection via text (let’s call it text-fection) has a positive effect on relationships.
But there is a caveat: Just as it’s not a smart move to break up with someone via text, it’s also not a brilliant idea to—as the study authors call it—”regulate the relationship” with your thumbs. For example, saying you’re sorry, working through problems spots, and making big relationship decisions are probably better done in person—the study showed that doing these things by text is associated with lower relationship quality for ladies (interestingly, it didn’t have a significant association with relationship quality for men).
Of course, these results aren’t necessarily causal—trying to fix serious problems via BBM could be just one more example that your relationship’s already in rough waters. But there’s a lesson here, nonetheless: Want to send your partner some text-fection or a flirty text? Go for it! Need to knead out some problems? It’s probably best to save it for a face-to-face conversation.