Hung Up On Mr. Telephone

There’s no better feeling than the initial high you get from infinite, late night and early morning text messages from someone new. The mystery and anticipation behind what could possibly be between the two of you can feel exhilarating and satisfy a lonely gap in your day.

I think the pattern began when I had my first “boyfriend” in middle school. He was a year older and I had the biggest crush on him. After a short week of messaging back and forth on AIM he asked me to be his girlfriend. Notes were exchanged in the hallways but we never had an actual conversation. We were basically pen pals. I can’t remember how long we were together for but I do know that enough time went past where I got frustrated communicating only through the computer or hand written notes (texting wasn’t big back in my day!) My mom gave her best speech, suggesting that future relationships would be different and that I was still young. Little did she know that the dating culture for my generation would only get worse.

Today, in this world full of dating apps, I get lost in the pleasure of writing to someone that I tend to forget what’s normal and of value to me in a relationship. I’ve had my fair share of serial texters and it’s taken practice to spot and stop something that feeds the pattern that leaves me empty. No girl just wants a pen pal. My endless texting had given someone convenient attention on their terms, leaving me more lonely than before I met him.

When I was in California I met a guy through a dating app and he would make me laugh out loud with his hilarious messages. If there was anything I needed at this time of my life it was someone with a good sense of humor. Our chemistry over text was so off the charts that I would pull off to the side of the road just to text him back. I was that smitten. He understood my sarcasm and was just as witty, if not more than me. When regular texts began to turn sexual I didn’t think much of it. I felt as though he was innocently flirting and I was along for the ride.

Eventually, sexts were taking the place of all texts and before I knew it we were no longer talking about anything with substance. Yet because I liked him so much I let it slide, hopeful that a plan would be discussed before each weekend. But nothing. It was an all talk no action situation at its finest and I had a feeling this wasn’t his first rodeo. I was no longer laughing with him and realized that the joke was on me. I ended it but was hung up on him for a while.

A year went by and I wound up seeing him before moving back to New York. It wasn’t our first time hanging out in person but this time I realized that our chemistry wasn’t as strong as it was over texts. It was easy to build it up to be something it wasn’t in my head and that’s the biggest problem with texting.

A girl wants to hear sweet nothings in her ear… not through her DMs, via text, Facebook messenger or GChat. While I had friends who’ve told me to run whenever I met a serial texter, I’ve also had friends and family members telling me to hold on and to give guys a break. So I made excuses for behavior that continued to break me down time after time. Now, I know if I have to ask someone their thoughts on something like this I already know the answer.

Different priorities aside, the biggest difference between myself and that guy was that I used humor to express my emotions and he used it to suppress his. That kind of insight is hard to see via text and I’m happy I finally got that closure and clarity. It was easy for our good “texting connection” to turn just physical when there wasn’t a solid foundation built in person first. I know that now holding onto him was only screwing myself and that sexting AND texting in general can be the ultimate mind fuck.

So what now? Well, nowadays I’ll be damned if I waste a year or even a month on a serial texter. It has been challenging and I’ve had to cut things off that I didn’t want to. But just how my body is precious… my words, emotions and time spent texting is too. In the beginning of this year I thought, “When will this ever stop? When will people start picking up the phone, call and be proactive?” It has took me this long, fucking years, to finally realize it stops when I stop allowing and accepting it. Perhaps when we all stop being ok with mediocre effort and affection. Actions will always speak louder than words.