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Texting: What boundaries are acceptable?

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Question - (26 July 2012) 10 Answers - (Newest, 26 July 2012)
A male United Kingdom age 26-29, anonymous writes:

I was just curious what boundaries various people think is acceptable when it comes to texting, having a few issues in my relationship because of this at the moment. In my opinion when you get in bed together to watch tv etc phones should be left alone but my partner classes that as controlling. She is a texter, bbming, etc always has been does it all day and evening but then this continues when we get in bed so we argue most nights about it. I dont care who it is shes texting but to me if your texting your not spending time with the person your with your just waiting for the next message.

So, am I in the right or not and what are other peoples views on it - she is 21 btw been together 3 years

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (26 July 2012):

Honeypie agony auntI think, in general, people are being ridiculous about their cell phones. No one is SO important that the must ALWAYS be with in a phone calls reach. People need to lighten up. LIVE life, take PART in life - not live through a phone.

I think I would sit her down and make some ground rules that you both can be happy with.

If she doesn't get your point of view try and turn the tables on her for a few days. See if she notices and disprove.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 July 2012):

I don't think its an age or generation thing to be honest. Its just a case of if it gets a hold of you, that's it, you're gripped.

I'm 28 and I can't live without my phone for a second, the only time it gets a break from me is when I sleep lol.

Then again, I'm single so it doesn't really affect anyone.

You can give her an ultimatum, but don't be surprised if she chooses her phone and friends, and tells you you're unreasonable, selfish or too controlling.

I've had two similar relationships to this, from both ends of the spectrum.

I was in a relationship with a girl who was a texter, and it was all day, text, bbm, facebook, phone calls from morning until she went to sleep. We never spent any quality time together, it was impossible. Then all you have in a relationship without compromise is arguments, which bring it to an end. Needless to say, she's now an ex.

I've also been the annoying 'texter' in a relationship and once again, another ex struck off the list.

You need to just say to her that you don't care who she's chatting to and you're not trying to control her, but is it too much to ask for some regular quality time just the two of you, not you, her and the rest of the world and just ask her to try and compromise with you for the relationship sake.

You could also try another tactic - you start doing as she is doing, text all your friends all day, make arrangements to go out while she's sitting there and see how she reacts. It provoked a reaction when I did this to my texter ex, she was constantly watching my phone to tell me when I had a message and to tell her who it was and to read it out to her. She kind of had an insight then as to how it feels when you're lay there with your partner and they are constantly giving other people all their attention while you get ignored.

Things need some shaking up, I wouldn't suggest giving her an ultimatum just yet, but play her at her own game, it may make her realise just how disrespectful it is and how insignificant it makes the other person feel...she may just be willing to compromise once she experiences it for herself.

If that fails then its make or break ultimatum time.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (26 July 2012):

chigirl agony auntI'm on your side in this. It is rude to sit and text another person when you're hanging in with someone else. It's just another way of saying "you're boring, so I'm going to start talking to someone else more interesting".

Some people really do not intend to be rude, or fail to see how this is hurtful. But tell her loud and clear so there can be no misunderstanding. Make it simple. It isn't about controlling her, she can text whomever she wants, whenever she wants EXCEPT for when she's in bed (or whatever times it is you feel it shouldn't happen, such as at the dinner table, after 11pm, in the bedroom, when out on a date etc).

I had to lay down that rule with my guy. He used to text at all times, in the middle of the night, or right after sex, or when at the restaurant with me. I had to tell him: it is rude. It is impolite. I put it this way; imagine that the other person you are texting to is right here in the room with us, just you and this other person talking while ignoring me. That's what it is. Now, in what situations do you wish to do this? Certainly, you wouldn't invite someone in while you are both naked in bed after sex. You wouldn't start talking to someone else at such a time, therefor there should be no text messages at such a time either.

When we're on a date-night, him and me, it is natural that he wouldn't suddenly bring another person along to the date and then only talk to that person. He should be focusing on me, his company.

He understood it after I put it like that. There's a time for being off-limits to other person, there's a time for when your date/company for the evening should have your attention. Decide what times this is, and both of you should respect it.

Oh, and you should also agree on a few exceptions being allowed. If she's expecting an important message she should be able to check her phone and message back. Or if she forgets to turn off her phone you shouldn't get annoyed if other people text her. As long as she doesn't start texting back. When me and my guy got together at first all his friends or random people would message him at all times, day and night. It woke me up at night! He was so used to being single (had been single for years) that he automatically just woke up to reply! Jeezes. I asked him to turn off the phone (or keep it on mute) when we went to bed. You can't prevent others from texting you, but you certainly can prevent it from keeping you up at night. He also learned to not reply to texts in the middle of the night, or when people would call he'd inform them that he had company and couldn't sit on the phone for long.

Just talk to her. Explain this in a simple and easy way so that she understands. Don't get aggravated or frustrated. Stay calm, and just keep it simple.

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A female reader, katiekate United States +, writes (26 July 2012):

katiekate agony auntI think you are absolutely right.

People these days truly are addicted to their phones. I'm a high school teacher, and it is sad how dependent teens (and people in their 20s, like your girlfriend) are on their phones, facebook, texting, etc. Unfortunately, I think it's the generation...

When I was growing up, we didn't have phones, facebook, texting, etc. and America Online was the ONLY sort of outlet that even existed.

My 11 year old son wants a phone because all his friends have one, but I won't allow it. The whole thing has gotten ridiculously out of hand.

I totally agree with the person who said that just because we have access to everyone and everything 24-7, doesn't mean we SHOULD.

Your girlfriend needs to get a grip and realize that she's missing out on her life and missing out on "living in the moment" because of her dependence and addiction to her phone. I don't know if there's anything you can do to get through to her, because clearly, she's just not getting it if you two argue every night about this. What I would suggest is to set your foot down: she leaves the phone in her purse when you two are in bed together, or she doesn't come to bed.

Do you two live together? I think what she's doing is very rude and disrespectful, and I wouldn't put up with it much longer. Stand firm, state your reasonings, and see if she is willing to compromise. If not, I would send her packing.

She'll have her phone to keep her company.

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A female reader, So_Very_Confused United States +, writes (26 July 2012):

So_Very_Confused agony aunti agree. We have a rule "no computers in the bedroom" this means no cell phones for texting either.

I do take my kindle to bed but I'm reading on it and when my partner joins me I put it down.

You just have to create house rules that have to be followed.

if she says she needs her phone for an alarm, buy her an alarm clock.

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A female reader, BondGirl72 United States +, writes (26 July 2012):

BondGirl72 agony auntI also agree with you and think you have some terrific advice here. Just because we have 24 access to people doesn't mean we should. We need to pay attention to the people who are right beside us instead of constantly texting others. I hate texting, because of the reason you describe and others. I don't even have it on my phone. It can be addicting and your girl sounds like she is addicted if she can't put the phone down while she's in bed.

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (26 July 2012):

YouWish agony auntHeh, yeah, I agree with you. She's addicted if she has to bring her phone to bed with her. Her comment about you being controlling is simply a smokescreen because she's defensive.

Tell her that it's a boundary thing, not a control thing. How would she feel if you and she went out on a date, but you were engrossed on your laptop or reading a newspaper the whole time?

Bedtime is when the devices shut off and get put on the charger at night. Her fighting you on this is upsetting. Tell her to stay out of bed until the phone gets put away. She's being rude to you.

If she continues to make this an issue, you can proceed one of two ways: You can either break up, which is your only real remedy if she gets stubborn about it, or you can simply stop talking to her, which I do not recommend.

I think she could be addicted, but it also sounds like after 3 years, she's shutting you off, meaning she could be losing feelings for you. If you don't have any kids together, this might be the time to consider going separate ways if she doesn't listen to you on this one.

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A female reader, Kittykatt988 United Kingdom +, writes (26 July 2012):

There's a time and a place for text and cuddle time is not one of them. Rather than argue talk openly and confront it. She's not on a relationship with her phone she's with you. And if she values you then maybe she should me sensitive and give you some quality time too.

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A female reader, Dear Mandy United Kingdom +, writes (26 July 2012):

Dear Mandy agony auntHI

I agree with you completely here. Your GF is obviously addicted to her phone, however the more you argue about it with her the more she will try and proove a point and do it more. I would suggest moving out to her and maybe finding someone else who values her relationship rather than her phone, and see what she has to say about that. if she takes you up on that offer then you will know that she really is not that into you and is using this as an excuse to not be intimate with you and dont want to be there anymore. ( thats if you live together ) if you dont live together just say your not staying over anymore/or she cant stay over at yours. Untill you can come to some understanding about a time and a place to use the mobile, in the bedroom is not the time and place.

Mandy xx

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (26 July 2012):

Yeah loads of people are addicted to their phones.

When I am with my boyfriend we don't use our phones,we leave it alone all day or when on holiday for 3 weeks we don't use it at all. Not that I use it when I am alone anyway lol hate texting,I prefer talking face to face with friends.

She's being a bit childish cant put the phone away for the night.

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