Text messages sent by men are shorter and use more sarcasm and swearing than those sent by women, says a study from Sheffield Hallam University.
Men and women have developed identities for sending texts
But the messages get longer when men are writing to women, say researchers.
Women's text messages are more likely to show "support and affection", claims the research, led by Dr Simeon Yates.
"Both sexes have adapted the technology in slightly different ways in order to meet their own communication needs," says Dr Yates.
The analysis of text messages shows that people are developing their own "etiquette" in what is acceptable between mobile phone users.
Men were ready to swap short and more aggressive text messages, using "sarcasm, sexual humour and swearing". But they changed their text style when sending a message to women, writing longer and more substantial messages.
The researchers also found that people used text messaging to switch between "identities", such as men who were out with their friends preferring to send their partners text messages rather than talking to them.
"It has become common to text when you want to keep communication private, especially if you are in a group. An obvious example is that a man is more likely to text than phone his partner when he is out with friends or peers. This prevents him by losing face by switching from 'friend' mode to 'partner' mode in front of his peers," says Dr Yates.
There was also evidence of people being annoyed by the inconsiderate use of mobile phones - with loud ring-tones the biggest irritation.