Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 11.23.30 AMYesterday I read an article in The New York Times titled, “With Some Dating Apps: Less Casual Sex Than Casual Text.” The article explored how people are making online connections, flirting, sexting, etc., but rarely (if ever) meeting up for actual dates. Huh? Where they do that at? The article begins:

Jason Sprung, a 26-year-old comedian in Brooklyn, connected last year on the location-based dating app Tinder with a Tennessee woman who was visiting New York. The two didn’t get a chance to meet up while she was in town, but that didn’t deter them.

“We talked on the phone every day for almost a month and sent a lot of texts and photos and videos and sexts,” Mr. Sprung said. “We’d have phone sex. It felt close to a relationship without actually seeing the other person.”

The couple grew so intimate that the woman promised she would move to New York in six months. Mr. Sprung couldn’t wait that long. “So I broke up with someone I’d never even met before,” he said.

While his primary reasoning was logistical, he acknowledged that there may have been something else behind it. “You build up this rapport” over the phone and computer, he said, “and the expectations that we had of each other were very high. And I realized I’m not that great of a person. There’s no way I’m going to live up to that.”

Mr. Sprung’s story of a non-IRL (“in real life,” for those of a certain age) extended liaison is not unique. More and more technophilic and commitment-phobic millennials are shying away from physical encounters and supplanting them with the emotional gratification of virtual quasi relationships, flirting via their phones and computers with no intention of ever meeting their romantic quarry: less casual sex than casual text.

What? So you would rather just type to someone for an extended time and never have any personal interaction with them? Color me oh so confused. The article continues:

Even those who have already made in-person connections sometimes prefer the security of the phone to the anxiety of a romantic-comedy-cum-David Fincher thriller. Marle Cordeiro, 23, a professional poker player and model who splits her time between Manhattan and Las Vegas, recalled a frustrating dialogue with a man who kept asking her to hang out via text, then backed off whenever they set a time. In a similar situation, a friend of hers met a man who lived across the street from her workplace but who never visited.

“He would constantly text her and ask her for selfies,” Ms. Cordeiro said. “They want the idea of this hot girl sending pictures of herself, but they don’t want to make it a reality and find out she has problems or whatever.”

No, no, no, and no. Lord knows that I am a texting somebody, but this is totally nonsensical. These aren’t even situationships. These are what texationships?  I am reminded of a story one of my homegirls told me about her male friend who was having textationships with about 15 women. They were women he had met in person once, gotten their number, and then all he did was text them. A hey stranger here and there. Maybe sometimes he asked questions and they had convos over text? Maybe he asked for nudes? I’m not sure. But it definitely was an only texting situation. Why these women would keep texting a random stranger, I have no idea, but they did. This could go on for weeks, maybe even months. Just texting with a man who has no intention of ever meeting up with you and taking you on a date. For this man, it was quite the ego boost, and this same sense of needing your ego stroked was highlighted in the article.

Swiping, and discovering someone else has right-swiped you, is not only fun; it may affect one’s neurological makeup. “The idea of someone who’s interested in you alters your hormonal state and releases dopamine,” Dr. Negash said, and habitual online daters are “looking for their next high. It’s the drug of choice for many right now.”

As with recreational drug use, tedium is often the catalyst. “Sometimes it’s honestly just boredom,” Ms. Cordeiro said. “It’s Friday and you have nothing to do. The ego boost is totally a thing.”

This boredom and need to have an ego stroked are killing the dating game. Not just the dating game, but the whole building relationships with people game. There is a time to type and text, but there’s also a time to get up from your computer or your device and have a live conversation with somebody. There’s something to be said for hearing someone’s voice, their inflection, watching their body language, learning their movements, and establishing a genuine connection. It’s necessary to our sanity and survival.

Have you ever found yourself in a textationship?

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  • Me

    folks talk down about technology like people are doing anything different than they always been doing. what’s the difference b/t texting and never meeting vs back in the day when folks used to have pen pals around the world? i remember folks used to coo at “how sweet” the letters could be & all that jazz over folks that never met each other. but now b/c it’s on the phone & the flirting sounds/looks different it’s a problem? let young folks be young. as long as nobody’s getting hurt, then all this analyzing just seems unnecessary to me.

  • Anonin

    Its not that I dont think online romance/relationships cant work its that eventually i think seeing and being around each other in person is vital. you’re only get whatever part that person wants to see online compared to what they cant hide face to face. Are they lying about something? Are they two timing? Are they secretly a psycho?

  • I am NOT in any way shape or form what I have coined, a ‘textversationalist’…NO we can not text all day and night, NO I will not send you, a stranger I met on a dating site selfies, NO I will not send body shots, NO we cannot sext, and finally NO, we can not “chill at your house”! Dating has gone to the dogs.

    Just a glimpse into my life while I dated online