What constitutes cheating? This is a response often heard in reaction to an accusation of cheating and infidelity.
While social media has created immediate accessibility to people it has also brought new definitions and conversations of what constitutes infidelity in the modern relationship. This new modern relationship is fraught with the technological advancement of location tracking, cell-phone monitoring apps, social media and instant gratification for communication. Not to mention the tweeting, private Facebook messaging, selfies and instagram following new to relationships in the last decade.
Never before has a couple needed to have clear lines of communication open with regards to privacy and boundaries.
Take a look below at the most common points for negotiation that come up with regards to the modern relationship.
As the seriousness of the relationship heats up here are some conversations to have with your partner considering boundaries. Before bringing them up to your partner think them through in your own mind to get an understanding of your feelings so you can come to the conversation ready to negotiate.
Points to consider when having a conversation with your partner about boundaries, social media and infidelity:
Do I trust my partner?
If this is an area of struggle for you I suggest you work through with a professional or come up with strategies for developing trust with your partner. Managing your partners integrity by having access to their private email and private social media accounts is not trust, it’s monitoring.
Being in charge of monitoring your partners behavior will only add to your anxiety and stress in the long run. It also creates the notion that you can somehow monitor your partner’s integrity, that simply isn’t true!
What boundaries do we have for opposite sex friends?
This can be different for every couple but the most important point is to be able to have clear communication around it.
Points for discussion:
Do we go out with opposite sex friends [OSF] that our partner’s not met once we’ve made the decision to be monogamous?
Do we introduce our OSF to our partner if they are important friendships?
Once we’ve decided to be monogamous am I able to make new OSF friendships without inviting them to be friends of the both of us?
While these issues may seem trivial these are paramount issues discussed in couples counseling when issues of infidelity arise. Keep in mind there is no right answer, it is what you agree on together that becomes the new boundary.
What constitutes a boundary violation?
This is a complex issue in a newly defined relationship. While we are entitled to privacy and our own thoughts a good litmus test to ask yourself is:
Is the exchange of communication I’m having with this person one that I would be comfortable with my partner reading?
Does this communication contain flirtatious and sexual content?
Do I have a clear understanding of the boundary in my relationship with regards to flirting.
Is this exchange and exchange of intimacy that is typically reserved for my current partner?
In essence a text isn’t just a text, nor an email just an email if you and your partner don’t share the same boundaries.
Having worked with couples to define boundaries regarding everything from full open marriages, to those that don’t allow for opposite sex friends, the fundamental issue between couples is that they understand the parameters of their own relationship. Learning early on what works for you as a couple and being clear about it upfront can go a long way to never hearing the words, “It was just a text”.