What Is Fexting In A Relationship?

First, we had texting as a means to basically chat casually or make plans. Then came sexting because, of course, it was just a matter of time before texts took a turn toward sex. Now we have "fexting," a term that means to fight over text, a term that was coined by none other than Dr. Jill Biden. According to an interview with Harper's Bazaar, the First Lady admitted that when it comes to having disagreements with Joe, the two usually take those rows to text — or rather "fext" — so as to keep their personal arguments out of the ears of the Secret Service. Sometimes the Secret Service doesn't need to hear about how Joe ate the last of the ice cream yet again. 


And, as she mentioned, "Joe said, 'You realize that's going to go down in history. There will be a record of that,'" of Jill's coining of the term fexting ... and here we are. But while fexting may be necessary for the Bidens in some cases, what about the rest of us who are free to roam around without the Secret Service listening to our every word? Exactly what is fexting in a relationship, and is it a good thing?

What is fexting?

As Dr. Jill Biden points out, fexting is essentially fighting over text. Whether it's because you're in a room full of people or you just don't want to look your partner in the eye after a long day of bickering, fexting can be a way to text your way through an argument and, ideally, getting your point across, and diffusing things before they get out of hand, which is something that could possibly happen if a certain issue isn't handled in the moment. Some things just can't wait. 


"Texts are often composed quickly and without too much thought — especially when we are angry or upset," hypnotherapist, psychotherapist, and NLP practitioner Hannah Martin tells Glamour. "And they are sent without any accompanying reference points to help the recipient interpret their sentiment. So, they can easily be misconstrued. We also risk sending a text written in haste that we regret later."

While sending a text in haste may end up being regrettable, so is speaking in haste mid-argument. If people are going to shoot from the hip when they're fighting, technology isn't going to change that. 

Is fexting ever a good idea?

Fexting can go in either direction. As anyone who's ever sent or received a text can attest to, a lot can be lost in translation. Even a text about where to meet up later or asking a partner to pick up something for dinner can go downhill if tone or inflection are misinterpreted. And, yes, even in a relationship with someone who knows you extremely well, these things happen, and suddenly asking your partner to bring home cashew milk can become an argument.


That being said, trying to actually fight over text can escalate in faster. If you're already on heated ground with your partner and tensions are high, the last thing you can expect to understand is tone via text without the necessary facial expressions to back it up. But, on the other hand, fexting can work for some, depending on your argument style, meaning the way in which you argue to eventually arrive at conflict resolution.

"While most relationship experts would advise steering fights away from the phone screen, fighting with our thumbs has a certain inevitability and may even confer a few advantages," psychiatrist Mimi Winsberg says to GQ. "Unlike an in-person fight, the other person's reply is clearly visible on the screen and does not float 'in one ear and out the other.'"


Like all communication in a relationship, fexting can work for some and not work for others. If you have rules and boundaries as to what's okay to fext and what needs to be done face-to-face, then that can be a beneficial way of broaching fexting and figuring out if it's right for your relationship.