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How to Not Let Your Phones Ruin Your Relationship

It’s an unfortunate truth that in this day and age, a phone could make or break a relationship. With social media being such a huge part of our lives, it’s become as easy as a tap or swipe for someone to live an entirely separate life outside of their own. It becomes easier to hide certain aspects of who you are, to embellish things you want people to know, and to figuratively (and literally) delete people from your life. Unfortunately, it has also created a lot of problems in relationships. From dating apps to fingerprint locks, to “sexting”… secrets can be easily kept in the security of a phone.

If you’re in a new relationship, don’t fall into this never-ending cycle of letting social media dictate your happiness.  If you and your partner want to make it work, here are some ways to ensure that you’re not letting a phone get in the way of that.

1. Talk about Exes

This is an important first step in any committed relationship, but especially when social media is involved. If you or your partner has an ex that they still follow on social media, or that they still have their number saved in their phone, it is important that you get that out in the open. Show them their profile ahead of time so they don’t feel the need to snoop around and find it themselves. If you had a bad break up and you blocked them, tell them why they’re blocked and not to worry. If the break up was mutual and you remain civil with each other, make sure your partner knows so when your ex “likes” your photo, they know it doesn’t mean you’re hiding something.

Having open communication about your past is crucial for any relationship to work. Airing out all the baggage and being honest so your partner doesn’t feel like they’re caught off guard is a good way to avoid the “social media stalking” phase of the relationship. That’s where things can get ugly. Talking to each other about an ex, no matter how crazy they are, is always better than hiding them.

2. Don’t Jump To Conclusions

Going back to step number one, communication can solve pretty much anything. However, there will always be unexpected speed bumps thrown your way no matter how open your relationship is. If a number pops up on your boyfriend’s phone that you don’t know and isn’t saved in his contacts, it’s so easy to expect the worst. Well, stop! Don’t freak out and start an argument over something you aren’t sure about. Ask him who the number is. If it’s someone from his past trying to reconnect, that doesn’t mean he initiated the conversation and it could have been just as a shock to him as it was to you.

If you and your partner agree to tell each other when someone out of the ordinary texts them or if someone is flirting with them via social media, there isn’t any reason for it to become a fight. Don’t be so quick to put the blame on your boyfriend or girlfriend because that just proves to them there is no trust. If you’re asking questions and being honest, you’re not jeopardizing your relationship and you’re building a much stronger bond.

3. Set Some Ground Rules

When you get into a new relationship, you can’t expect your boyfriend to immediately unfollow any girl he’s talked to in the past. You can’t freak out if still get’s Snapchats from his girlfriends from high school. If things like this bother you, it is important to tell him. Guys aren’t dumb, but they certainly aren’t mind readers. If “liking” photos on Instagram seems unfaithful to you, you have to let him know you don’t want him double tapping girl’s photos on Instagram. To him, he’s just doing the same things he’s been doing it could be totally innocent in his eyes. He’ll now be aware of what he does on social media and know what you find okay or not okay.

This could also be said for using your phone at inappropriate times. If you don’t like it when he’s in his own world on his phone while you’re out to dinner, have that conversation. Set some specific times where you both are completely present with each other. This way, the phone doesn’t control your relationship. When you set ground rules like this, it lets him know how his actions are seen from your perspective.

4. Share Passcodes

While this may seem strange to our parents or to someone who doesn’t have social media, it can be a great way to ease the mind and any tension between you and your partner’s relationship with your phones. Passcodes, locks and fingerprint scans are crucial for the safety of your information. It is unrealistic to ask your partner to get rid of their passcode on their phone. If you lost your phone at the mall, would you want some stranger having access to your photos, bank apps, and texts? Of course not. So telling your boyfriend or girlfriend they’re not allowed to lock their phone is ridiculous.

However, it is also not crazy for you to feel uneasy if your partner won’t tell you their phone lock. Don’t ever let them call you crazy or psycho for feeling that way. If you want to send yourself a picture you took on their camera yesterday or copy down their Mom’s number to wish her a happy birthday, it is perfectly normal to ask “hey what’s your passcode? I want to send myself something.” If they won’t tell you… something is off and they are probably hiding something. Expressing to your partner that it would make you feel better if you were at least aware of their lock code so you know they trust you and that you can trust them isn’t unreasonable to ask. In fact, every couple should be trusting enough to share passcodes.

5. Be Mutually Respectful of Personal Space

In the end, you want to trust your partner. If you’re not comfortable with them using their phone when you’re not around, there are some other issues that need to be dealt with. When you’ve established trust, ground rules, and communication, the last step is respecting their privacy. Couples become extremely close and spend a majority of their time engulfed in each other’s lives. While this is the natural progression of a committed relationship, it is important to give each other some space to breathe.

Odds are, every girl can relate to this: there are most likely texts on your phone right now with your closest girlfriends that are so embarrassing or personal that you would die if anyone read them. Everyone is entitled to their own private conversations. Your partner is not entitled to read everything you say to your friends. You’re not automatically given the right to go through all your boyfriend’s DMs from 2012. There are always things in our lives and on our phones that we are allowed to keep for ourselves. Once you’ve come to terms with the balance that is real life and social media, you’ll be so much happier not only in your relationship but in your mind and soul as well.