Make or Break: Exploring the role of ‘fexting’ in romantic relationships

An enigma on its own, fexting is multifaceted; the question remains does ‘fexting’ act as a catalyst for ending modern day relationships?
Make or Break: Exploring the role of ‘fexting’ in romantic relationships
Make or Break: Exploring the role of ‘fexting’ in romantic relationshipsImage Credit: The Bridge Chronicle

Ever wondered how to add more complications to your relationship? How to circle back to the same issue because the communication is vague? How to be misunderstood perpetually by your partner and never seem to get your point across? How to satiate your non-confrontational fantasies? 

Well worry not! Here’s introducing ‘Fexting’- a one stop problem to all your romantic solutions. Urban dictionary defines ‘fexting’ as a text sent by a girl pretending to like someone (usually another girl) when she really wants to throw a punch in her face. Yeah… that’s not it though. 

‘Fexting’ in this context refers to a situation where hypothetically, for instance, Ranbir Kapoor had texted Alia Bhatt to “Wipe it off' ' rather than saying it to her face, making her defect to the enormous party of trolls that went after him. Granted, both instances are equally infantilizing, yet somehow, when you say confrontational things in person, it softens the blow for a lot of people and in extreme cases, saves relationships too! To break it down even more, ‘Fexting’ can be defined as an argument (typically in a romantic relationship) done via text. Mathematically speaking fight + text = fext. 

The coinage of the term can be credited to Jill Biden, the first lady of the United States of America, who candidly mentioned in an interview with a renowned publication that her and her husband, Joe Biden, sometimes find themselves fighting over texts or ‘fexting’ to elude public spats. 

The path of fexting becomes inevitable for couples, especially those who live miles apart from each other. Oftentimes when one person in a monogamous romantic long distance relationship feels neglected, they might say things to their partner via text that aggravate them just to get their attention but this can blow up in their face; according to Pallavi Barnwal, a sex educator and certified intimacy coach, while having an in person argument, one might raise their voice to display their aggression but texting leaves you with very little options- you either end up slewing abhorrent words at your partner or just plain harsh language which will ultimately obliterate their feelings and make you regret your actions. 

Types of Fexting

‘Fexting’ is a spectrum and can present itself in different ways: 

  1. One-worded cold texts

  2. Ending texts with fullstops to make them seem grave

  3. On the other end of the spectrum there are huge paragraphs, with varying degrees of emotionality 

  4. All caps (to give the impression of raised voices)

  5. Blunt and harsh language 

Make or Break 

While there are obvious drawbacks to ‘fexting’ like absence of non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions; difficulty in understanding the tone of a text message, convenience of using harsh language, and so on there are certain benefits as well.

Tanya Percy Vasunia, a published researcher, author and psychologist, believes that texting can be a useful tool to articulate feelings when overwhelmed, if used correctly. For many people fights over texts can provide them with a buffer period to calm down and then address the situation. 

In conversation with the Bridge Chronicle a couple- Ishika Kumar and Gokul Menon- who have been together for 3 years, talked about their individual experiences while fighting over text

“I think fights on texts have two sides to it, One being that it helps you convey something which sometimes might be difficult to convey or express on a call or in person. But having said that, the other side of it can get ugly, since even though ‘fexting’ helps one convey the context but not the emotions, while texting there is no actual to and fro when someone is frustrated so sometimes somethings can be conveyed without any boundaries which might hurt or disrespect the other person and the same thing, if was to be said in person will not be done, as then dynamics while looking at the person changes. Fights on text also mostly work on being literal rather than understanding the tone and the type of emotion unless expressed explicitly”

Gokul Menon (boyfriend of 3 years)

While Ishika held that ‘fexting’ has more cons than it has pros, she spoke about how to healthily grapple with a lover’s quarrel over text,

“expectations need to be clear. Out loud clear. You need to tell the other person, text them. What you want. Be it out of the conversation, fight, or otherwise. Take initiative to ask their expectations as well… Don't let the other person be alone when they're hurt. Be by their side, whether or not the fight is being solved is for another day. First it's the calming of the storm.”
Ishika Kumar (girlfriend of 3 years)

Lastly, Hiding behind a screen may only end well when one is spreading unnecessary hate in the comment section of someone’s instagram post, but not in one’s intimate relationships where your own domestic harmony is at stake. Accountability will catch up with you soon enough, hence, do not try to flee from it or your partner.

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