Texting, Cell Phones Play Big Role in Romance

December 11, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Boomers & Older | Technology | Telecom | Youth & Gen X

Some 40% of adult texters (age 18-55) who are in a relationship or dating believe that text messaging plays a significant or very significant role in their relationships, and more than one-third say that their wireless phone has saved them from a bad date, according to research from AT&T.

The survey, which was conducted to gain insight into how text messaging is being used in the modern dating scene,? found that 68% of texters admitted to sending a love note via text messaging, 67% have used text messaging to flirt, and 28% text at least three times a day with their spouse or significant other.

In addition, 52% of texters said messages to the effect of “thinking of you” are the most common text types received from a date or spouse.


For those who are seeking a relationship, the study also found that text messaging provides an easier approach to making an initial love connection:

  • 34% of texters in a relationship or dating agreed they would be more comfortable on a first date if they received a text message beforehand.
  • 26% agreed that someone would be more likely to accept a first date with them if they have exchanged text messages first.
  • 58% admitted they have at least occasionally shown a friend a text message from a suitor to get his or her interpretation.
  • 38% percent admitted that their wireless phone has saved them from an uncomfortable dating situation.
  • One-quarter of dating texters have used text messaging to update their friends or family on the progression of a blind date.

On the other hand, texting can have a downside too. AT&T found that communicating via text in romantic relationships can possibly create uncertainty and frustration if the recipient of the message waits too long to respond:

  • 84% of texters believe that text messages can sometimes be misunderstood by a date or suitor.
  • 24% said the biggest turnoff when texting with a date or a spouse is a slow response.
  • 82% said they answer a text message from a date or romantic interest immediately or as quickly as possible.

Interestingly, one-third of texters who are in a relationship or dating indicated they would get upset if a date/spouse responded to a wireless call while on a date, however, 44% of dating texters admitted to answering their wireless phone in the midst of great dinner conversation, and 58% have had their date/spouse answer their phone.

It’s OVR, We Need a Bre8k

In a possible reaffirmation of the importance of face-to-face communication for some types of bad news, only five percent of texters have broken up with someone using a text message and six percent have been broken up with via texting.

Younger Adults Text More

Demographic information points to the fact that texting plays a greater role in younger adults’ relationships, and reveals differences in dating and communication disclosure:

  • 37% of respondents age 18-35 said they text at least three times a day with their significant other compared with 22% of those age 36-55.
  • 74% of those age 18-35 have flirted via text messaging compared with 60% of those age 36-55.
  • 26% of those age 18-35 admitted to texting more than one person at a time to invite them on a date or for other romantic reasons, but only 7% of those who are 36-55 have done the same.
  • 30% of respondents age 18-35 have texted friends and family to update them on a blind date, compared with 19% of respondents who are 36-55.

“People have discovered that there are moments when just the right text, sent at just the right time, can go a long way to keeping romance alive,” said Alecia Bridgwater, director of Messaging for AT&T’s wireless unit. ”

Among the most common SMS expressions of affection:

  • I LUV U
  • MISS U
  • XOXO
  • MUAH!

About the survey: AT&T’s 2008 text dating survey was conducted by Synovate via an online consumer opinion panel of 1,000 adults age 18-55 in May 2008.


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