7 Texting Behaviors That Signal A Toxic Relationship

7 Texting Behaviors That Signal A Toxic Relationship

Toxic Texting Behaviors in couples that are relationship red flags.


You keep checking your smartphone every other second as your friends notice you are being twitchier than usual. No texts. No calls. Nothing. It’s like he’s ignoring you deliberately. You wonder if he’s busy and whether he’s had time to read your text. So you text him again trying to make things right once again. You apologize for everything even though it was clearly his fault. You just want the fight to end. As you notice your message has been “read” your anxiety shoots up and then you see him go offline. Still no reply. He’s still angry at you although he doesn’t really have any reason for it. Now you start feeling guilty and ashamed as your self esteem takes a hit.

Is it simply a misunderstanding? Or are you in a toxic relationship?

Texting behavior in couples can give you several warning signs of a toxic relationship.

Toxic Texting Behaviors

Toxic Texting Behaviors


Understanding texting styles in relationships

“Texting is a fundamentally sneaky form of communication, which we should despise, but it is such a boon we don’t care. We are all sneaks now.” – Lynne Truss

Several studies have found that texting can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, especially among romantic couples. Research has revealed that texting can actually make your relationship better or worse based on how you and your partner text each other. When it comes to romantic relationships, experts have found that what matters is how much “text compatible” you are with your partner, instead of how often you text each other.

Although it may be an effective way to communicate, texting can, in fact, be a hindrance in developing a meaningful relationship with your significant other. This is more true for toxic partners and relationships. The texting behavior of your partner can reveal a lot about their mentality, personality and their true feelings towards you as these can help you identify signs of a toxic relationship.


Toxic texting behaviors

“Nothing stings quite like an unanswered text message.” – Paula Stokes

Do they text you all the time asking where you are? Do they want to track your location? Do they expect you to reply immediately? Do they want to know the password to your device? Personal space is crucial in any healthy relationship. However, toxic partners tend to cross all boundaries and invade your private digital space. They may be motivated by their own insecurities or bad experiences in their past relationships. But that does not mean you have to put up with it.

Toxic Texting Behaviors

Toxic Texting Behaviors

They may give you a lot of “reasons” (read excuses) to access your device and check your texts and call logs and even tweak it to their benefit without you even realizing it. Although you may not have nothing to hide, they will accuse you of cheating until you comply with their demands of handing them your phone. While at other times, they may be a bit more discreet and say you’re getting addicted to your phone so they will ‘lovingly’ take your phone away from you. All these are toxic behaviors and attempts to control and abuse you.

Today your smartphone can be used as a weapon not only to access all your private information but also to control, manipulate, abuse, threaten, defame, confuse and isolate you. In healthy relationships, partners may willingly share access to their devices for better transparency in relationships. However, if you feel compelled to do so, then these are clearly signs of a toxic relationship and an insecure, manipulative partner.


7 toxic texting behaviors that are relationship red flags

“The interesting thing about text is that, as a medium, it separates you from the person you are speaking with, so you can act differently from how you would in person or even on the phone.” – Aziz Ansari

Any toxic relationship has certain warning signs, but there are several ways unhealthy relationship behaviors can get expressed through texting. From being drowned with constant texts to being compelled to show your your inbox to your partner, here are a few toxic texting behaviors that you need to look out for.


1. You follow texting “rules”

In any healthy relationship, texting happens naturally in a back and forth manner. However, in a toxic relationship texting your partner can feel like a game that includes a lot of calculations and strategies requiring you to “win”. If you feel like you have to stick to certain rules when it comes to texting your partner, then you need to take a hard look at your relationship. Some of the rules may include –

  • Trying to appear busy and waiting for some time to reply back
  • Focusing excessively on read receipts
  • Reading between the lines of the texts
  • Deliberately not responding making you desperate to text your partner
  • Rewriting each text several times trying to figure out exactly what you should say before sending

Texting should be about communication, not about playing mind games.


2. Your partner deliberately ignores you

Do you feel your partner intentionally ignores your texts? A toxic partner may often refrain from responding to your texts because you were unable to promptly respond earlier. In an unhealthy relationship, toxic communication habits will thrive. Your partner may want to create friction and drama by ignoring you and going into “radio silence”. Talking to your partner about this can be helpful as they might have felt ignored by you in the first place. But make sure you stick only to the issue of texting. However, when this kind of behavior becomes a habit, then it can be one of the hidden signs of a toxic relationship



3. You have to respond immediately

“Relationships based on obligation lack dignity.” – Wayne Dyer

Does your partner expect you to reply right away? If you are expected to instantly respond to each one of their texts, irrespective of your daily schedule, then you might be with a toxic partner. The truth is, you have a life of your own and you need to focus on your own life and career. It is not possible for anyone to stay glued to their phones all the time. If your partner expects you to reply immediately, then clearly they do not respect your personal space, your career, your time or you. In a healthy relationship, partners understand each other and realize that it’s not necessary to get a response to every text in 10 seconds.


4. Your partner texts constantly

If your partner keeps texting you continuously, especially when you’re busy and unable to respond, then it can be a serious relationship red flag. Although it may seem cute on the surface, in reality these are warning signs of insecurity and manipulation. If your partner texts you until you respond, then it can often leave you feeling stressed, anxious and overwhelmed. Moreover, it can be a serious cause for concern as it may lead to a lot of anger and frustration in your partner that will grow overtime.

Most of us tend to over-text when we don’t get a response but when your partner goes overboard even after knowing well about your schedule, then it can only hint at a toxic and unhealthy relationship.

Toxic Texting Behaviors

Toxic Texting Behaviors

Apart from these, your partner may also exhibit some other toxic behaviors that are warning signs of digital abuse.


5. Digital gaslighting

A toxic and narcissistic partner may try to manipulate your smartphone and other synchronized devices in order to gain better control over you. And they will do all this behind your back to mess with your mind. This is a form of gaslighting and can make you question your sense of reality. They might delete certain names for the contact list, delete messages from your inbox and media from the gallery or they may reply to texts from others pretending to be you. But worst of all they will convince you that you have done all that. Or that your phone is malfunctioning. They will be so convincing that you will believe them and doubt yourself to eventually believe their reality. Gaslighting in any form is always one of the glaring signs of a toxic relationship,


6. Internal policing of digital behavior

“A relationship without trust is like a car without gas, you can stay in it all you want, but it won’t go anywhere.” – unknown

A toxic relationship can often make you police and check your own digital behavior due to the fear of repercussions, even though you might not have done anything wrong. A toxic, manipulative and dominating partner may gain access to your phone, check your texts and photos, track your location and ask you to provide evidence about your whereabouts all the time. Then they will use this information and tweak them to their benefit to abuse, harass, criticize, accuse and control you.

When this kind of behavior becomes frequent and common, you will start policing yourself and how you use your device. You may hide or delete certain media or messages as they may be used against you. You may delete call logs and ask friends of the opposite gender not to contact you during specific hours as you will be with your partner. You will fear that if they find anything in your phone, they will doubt and accuse you of cheating although you’ve been nothing but faithful.

Toxic Texting Behaviors

Toxic Texting Behaviors


7. Taking over your device

“The one who loves the least, controls the relationship.” – Robert Anthony

Your partner may confiscate your phone claiming you’re addicted to it or may emotionally blackmail you to stop using it by making up emotional (read fictional) stories about their past relationship and ex partner and how they got cheated. Although they may sound concerned, loving or hurt, these are all strategies to control you and isolate you. All they want is to stop you from communicating with others or at least control it. However, they might also get aggressive and forcefully confiscate your phone when you’re inside the safety of your bedroom and away from the eyes of your loved ones.

Whether your partner is doing this subtly or directly, this is not only a sign of an unhealthy relationship but also a warning sign of abuse.


Here’s an interesting video that you may find helpful:

Read their texting habits more than their texts

“We’re human beings; we’re not robots. And face-to-face contact is something totally different than typing a text message and then forgetting about it.” – Noam Chomsky

7 Texting Behaviors That Signal A Toxic Relationship

If you notice your partner is showing toxic texting habits, then you need to give it some serious attention in real life. These can indicate and lead to further toxic behaviors in the relationship. If you feel uncomfortable with how your partner texts and communicates with you digitally, it will be best to talk to them openly and honestly in person and tell them exactly how you feel. It may be just a misunderstanding from your end and talking may clear things up. But if their behavior doesn’t change or improve, then you may need to take a serious look at the relationship and reconsider it.

Toxic texting behaviors can not only ruin your relationship, but also corrupt your life. So look out for these relationship red flags and save yourself from unnecessary abuse and harassment. 

You don’t deserve a relationship that drains your energy and your phone. You deserve someone who trusts you and lets you be.

“Break free of toxic people and relationships, they erode your quality of life.” – Ty Howard


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7 Texting Behaviors That Signal A Toxic Relationship

7 Texting Behaviors That Signal A Toxic Relationship

Theo Harrison

Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.View Author posts