Couples Therapy, Marriage and Family Therapy

Thumb Kiss and Live Appily Ever After?

romantimatic 2
Image provided with permission courtesty of romantimatic.com

For thirty years, I have been collecting couples’ games, decks of cards with couples’ questions, couples’ journals and basically any product I could get my hands on that might spark couple connection.  Lately I have been investigating couples’ apps.  My son, who knows I have an affinity for the whimsical, suggested I download the “Couples” app so my husband and I could “thumb-kiss,” (yes, that’s a thing….I have now officially thumb-kissed with my husband simultaneously on our iphones).

While I was investigating, I came across an app called “Romantimatic,” which will provide reminders to reach out to that special someone at certain times that you program into the system, with choices for pre-written or original texts.

Then, what caught my eye was a sentence I recognized because I had written it.  The sellers of Romantimatic quoted my research related to texting from the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, by asserting that “Texting to express affection was associated with higher reported partner attachment for both men and women.”

Well, okay.

So, can these new-fangled love apps improve your love connection?

It depends.

These apps provide another tool for behavioral manifestations of feelings about our romantic partners.  They can certainly contribute to a positive environment in the relationship.  In our chaotic lives of perpetual time crunch, they may even help you stop to smell roses.  I have even suggested them to extremely busy clients whose partners feel neglected.

However, couples are very sensitive to authenticity when tools like these are used.  In other words, if you think your partner is using this to placate you, or if it is replacing more intimate forms of contact, it’s not only going to be useless, but probably counter-productive.  Another potential risk is that a partner could end up feeling smothered, if harangued into its use.

So, for those of you saying “No duh,” I feel like I need to point out that people are often so desperate in their desire to connect in their relationships that they start looking for any mechanism to help them do it.  I see people every day looking for the “magic wand,” to fix the relationship.  They think that if they just find the “right communication skill,” or “right words,” or “right love language,” then everything will be solved (and don’t get me started on your trying to tell me what “color,” your spouse needs to be in order to connect…that’s another post entirely).

There is nothing that specific or tangible that exists to fix a relationship.  The real wand is authenticity in emotional responsiveness.  If you already think your partner accepts you and will be there for you if you really need him or her, then apps can actually be a novel and fun way to connect.  Thumb kiss to your heart’s content.   However, if your relationship is distressed, the apps aren’t going to fix it, and can even be experienced paradoxically as mocking, if there is enough vitriol between you.

So, if the idea appeals to you and you at least kind of like your significant other, download away and you will likely enhance an already satisfactory relationship.  Just don’t expect it to fix a highly distressed one.

While the apps are also kind of cute, I still haven’t found any that can replace my husband’s simple texts throughout the day, sometimes filled with rebus images that I have to solve.  So far, nothing compares to getting a text that says, “You are my dream girl,” or “Ur my DG,” especially if he inserts a little emoticon sheep for “ewe,” instead of “You.”  Adorable.

But then, maybe I would receive that text more frequently if he was using “Romantimatic.”

In the meantime, if you see a good deal on one of Cupid’s original arrows, let me know, because I’m in the market.  When that shows up on an app, I’m in.

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