I’d probably have written this post, or one very similar to it, off my own back, given time, but I noticed in the press this week the story about the jury in the phone hacking trial being told about Chelsy Davis ‘blitzing Prince Harry with calls and texts’ while he was at Sandhurst. I also noticed that the Daily Mail removed the ‘jury told’ bit of the headline in their page header, thus presenting Chelsy’s actions as fact. Sigh.
Now I’ll admit, there’s a lot I don’t know about military training (unsurprisingly!). Apparently Harry was only able to field her calls after he’d finished training, which was “sometimes after 10pm.” This bit doesn’t seem that surprising to me – I can see that checking your phone isn’t that compatible with target practice and obstacle courses. Not, incompatible enough though, apparently, that Harry considered just turning his phone off. Instead “He keeps the phone on, but on silent – it buzzes and vibrates so frequently with new M [sic].” How fucking inconvenient that he should have to keep the phone on silent because of silly Chelsy – I mean, if it wasn’t for her he could have kept the sound on – it’s not like messages from other people who aren’t nutjob girlfriends cause the phone to buzz or vibrate.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I can’t help but feel that the story would never have made it out if the roles were reversed and it was Harry doing the bombarding. So I did a bit of an experiment. I googled ‘Should I text him first?’ Total results: 744,000,000. I changed it to ‘Should I text her first?’ Total results: 423,000,000. It seems pretty clear that most of the ‘rules’ around texting are being dished out to women, not to men.
The other reason it bothered me so much is because it’s a constant minefield in my life, too. I’m pretty clear on how often I’d like to see the boy in an ideal world, pretty clear on the fact that I like texts to end with a kiss. But we can’t reach a sensible position on communication because he can’t win – if he gets in touch it makes me stressed, and if he doesn’t get in touch it makes me stressed. The issues aren’t all to do with him – I’m terrible at contacting my friends too because I don’t want to seem needy. It’s not that I don’t care how they are, or that I don’t want to spend time with them, I’m just sure they have much better things to do, like spending time with their boyfriends or closer friends. And of course the irony is that it’s precisely that lack of self-confidence that makes me neediest of all.
I don’t blitz boys with texts, most of the time. Sometimes when I’m drunk, or when I’m angry – when it’s completely the wrong communication medium to use, in short – I’ll send two or three in quick succession without waiting for a response, but normally, I stick to just the one message, and, if I don’t hear from him first, I’ll wait two weeks before I send it. I’m no Chelsy Davis.
When he and I spoke about this, I couldn’t explain why I’m so cagey about communication. I don’t think he’d ever accuse me of texting him too often, and nor do I think I have to play hard to get – I’m pretty sure he’s not going to go off me because I asked twice in one week what he’s been up to. But having thought about it some more, the problem lies exactly there – the reason I don’t text is because I don’t want to know what he’s been doing, or, more accurately, who he’s been doing. When he texts me it’s extremely unlikely I’ll have been fucking someone else since the last time we spoke: the same can’t be said for him.
Of course, he’s not so heartless that he’d admit to this, or gloat about it – it’s just that knowing that it is something he does makes me nervous about otherwise innocuous lines like ‘I’ve got friends staying’ or ‘I’ve been away for the weekend.’ I’m sure he’d say I have to get over reading too much into what he says, and working myself up over stuff that I can’t be sure about, but I disagree. If you’re sleeping with someone and it’s exclusive, yes, the above is the kind of paranoid jealousy that will inevitably tear things apart. If you’re not exclusive, and a polygamous relationship isn’t your ideal, it’s not paranoid, just sad. And it’s why I won’t be becoming more proactive about communication any time soon.
I’m not going to go into the reasons here about why I’m still persisting with something that makes me unhappy, because that’s not the point of the post. The point is, you’re an intelligent woman, you can decide how often is too often. Personally, couples who text each other every day scare me a bit, because I can’t imagine someone being that massive a part of my life, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable if that’s what you want.
So here, in brief, is the point: text him first if you want to or wait for him to text if you’d rather. Because one thing is certain: even if both of you are waiting for the other person to move first, eventually one of you will get drunk and break the deadlock. That’s just how these things work.