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How to decode 5 common dating texting habits

My work as a marriage and family therapist in Scottsdale, Arizona helps to  instill hope and change through the use of techniques including: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Parenting Skills Training, and Brief Solution focused therapy. I u...

If texting with your online dates has your head spinning, consider this

Text messaging can be confusing when you are just starting to get to know someone in the dating scene. I want to help you navigate through some tricky messages and teach a few tips to decode how to look at texting so you can keep communication going strong with a new person. While technology has changed some of the dating rules, there are ways to notice changes in communication patterns that might signal a new relationship is losing steam.

More: 9 online dating tips to remember before you set up your profile

1. Texting becomes less frequent

If someone starts off a new relationship with an awful lot of texting (showing interest daily) and then slowly texts less and less (weekly), then the other person might be losing interest.

What to do?

Stop texting so much and focus on other things. Texting isn't a hobby, and someone that changes the pattern of communication might be dating others or losing interest. Don't panic and over-text; I believe it's better to throw yourself into another hobby and increase the positive energy in reading, writing or other coping tools.

2. "How are you?" "What's new?" and other open-ended questions

Open-ended questions show interest, which is useful in the early stages of dating. Recognize the pattern of the communication and the momentum of the texts. You want to feel a back and forth reciprocation, like a tennis match, when you're texting with someone at the beginning of a relationship. If you feel like you're always hitting the ball and not getting returns, your early relationship might be stalling.

What to do?

Keep using open-ended questions — and make sure you respond to them with answers other than "good" or "not much." However, notice if someone is constantly using "Have a good night" or "Have a good day." These are closing statements, not opening up communication.

More: A big age difference in a relationship doesn't mean it's destined to fail

3. Balancing text messages and in-person connections

Meeting in person allows you to see body language and hear tone in a way text messaging doesn't. If you notice that the in-person time and phone time is increasing, this is a positive sign, regardless of how the texting is going. If you notice the opposite, you might want to find another date.

What to do?

Listen to your intuition. Budding feelings can cloud judgement, but intuition and logic are your friends. If your texts are slowing down, one in-person meeting might allow you to gauge the person's interest more than a week's worth of texts.

4. Unanswered texts

People leave texts unanswered for a variety of reasons; they may be busy or not in the mood to text. It can be a struggle not to jump to the conclusion that the other person is ignoring you.

What to do?

If you text someone and they do not write back, leave it alone and see if they respond within 24 hours. Don't keep texting in hopes of getting a quicker response.

5. An all-text relationship

If someone only texts you and never calls you, it can be tough to really develop a relationship. I wrote about how some old school dating tips can help in the modern dating scene.

What to do?

If someone texts all the time but does not call you or make effort to see you in person, talk to him or her about what you are looking for. If he or she is still relying on texting for the bulk of your relationship, get back into the dating scene and find someone who meets your relationship expectations. Being able to communicate effectively and positively are skills that will help a relationship to develop.

More: How Tinder ignores personal chemistry for instant online attraction

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