Your Relationship Needs Social Media Boundaries

E.B. Johnson

Does your partner have access to your Facebook account? Has access to your profile become a major fight in your relationship? Our social media actually falls within the realms of personal space within our relationships. Think of it a bit like an old-school journal. Some parts of it you may be happy sharing publicly. You may read a chapter or two to your friends. But not everything on your social media is public. Some of it is private. And it deserves to stay that way. Every relationship needs boundaries, and that includes the limits of our social profiles. Is your partner demanding access to your socials? Don’t give in yet. It may be a line you’re not willing to cross.

They shouldn’t have access to your socials.

Let’s just rip the band aid off: Your partner shouldn’t have access to your social media channels. There’s no need for it. Your social media should be a private place. Your partner has a right to view the public side of it from a distance, but they don’t have a right to check it and control it whenever they feel like it. It’s like a journal. It’s a private space where you have private conversations and thoughts. And that’s okay. When you’re in the right relationship, the trust you hold in one another should hold, regardless.

Multi-layered manipulation

If you’re trapped in a controlling or toxic relationship, then social media can provide one of the few outlets in which you can communicate with the outside world (Bodenmann, Meuwly, Bradbury, Gmelch & Ledermann, 2010). It may also be the primary way you get help. Turning over that power to your partner makes it easier for them to control and manipulate you. They could throw messages and connections in your face. Or block you from getting messages, new contacts, and so much more.

Needing personal autonomy

At the core, each human being has the desire to be totally in charge of their own destiny. We want to get up when we want to get up, and we want to do what we want to do. What’s more, we want to feel like something in this world is authentically, and entirely, ours. And social media provides that for a generation of people who could not establish themselves economically on the career and real estate ladders.

Losing trust(worthiness)

There’s a lack of trust and trustworthiness that inherently comes with sharing your social media profiles with your partner (or granting access). If your partner asks for it, it proves that they don’t trust you, and are also probably not trustworthy themselves. (Why would they need your password? To check your profile and messages. Are they going to check when you’re sitting next to them? Probably not.) Is that behavior you’re willing to accept? Or do you want to deal with people who are secure in themselves.

Creating social walls

Whatever your partner’s intentions may be, they can cause serious social rifts when they get involved in your social media. Listen, we’re complex creatures. We have a lot of emotions and misunderstandings are easy. They are especially easy to fall prey to on social media, where context and intention often get lost in the flat delivery of black and white text. What’s worse, though, is that your partner may use your social media to intentionally isolate you from friends, family, coworkers, and loved ones.

Considering the bigger picture

There’s a bigger picture beneath having our social media profiles and giving our partners access to them. At the end of it all, this is a major red flag moment that signals major insecurity and hangups. A partner who desires access to your profiles is someone concerned about your activity on them. The ease with which you agree to give up that access? It’s a sign that you associate attachment with insecurity and control. None of this equals balance and happiness in the long run.

How to set boundaries in relationships.

If you can’t have private social media accounts in your relationship, you’ve got boundary issues. Sure, there are trust issues and insecurities. But those fears have been put into action by your inability to draw the line with your partner. You won’t build mutual happiness this way. You both need to be more secure in your partnership, and that’s only going to come with stronger boundaries.

1. Invest in people worth trusting

We talk a lot about boundaries and how to get people to respect them, but in that conversation, we don’t talk enough about selecting people that don’t have to be convinced. Not everyone is a project. Believe it or not, there are people out there who will respect your boundaries without question, including the ones you set up around your social media profiles like Facebook or Instagram.

Invest in people you trust and who trust you back. Boundaries get pushed, primarily, by those who have an issue with trustworthiness and respect. When you invest in people who honor you (and themselves) you can find that they are less likely to disrespect you and push you around.

Build better boundaries for yourself first by selecting more accepting and empathetic people to include in your life. It’s easy to put your foot down and stand up for yourself when you know you can rely on the person on the other side. When you realize they won’t abandon you, or punish you for protecting yourself, the complete puzzle puts itself together. Make it that much easier for yourself by only investing in people worth investing in moving forward.

2. Be clear on your needs

What matters most to you in a relationship? What about your life? You say that you want to be in a long-term partnership, but do you intend to compromise or identify mutually complementary experiences? Are you ready to stand up for yourself and communicate about the priorities you have in your life? It’s imperative that you are honest with yourself before moving forward with anyone else. Where are the boundaries set with you? Including social media use and connection.

Know what matters to you in your relationships and your life. Prioritizing needs is a great way to figure out where you’re at in the current moment. Are you feeling frustrated by your partner’s meddling? Why does that cross the line for you? Do you need more autonomy in your relationship?

There is always a deeper need or issue behind the upsets, frustrations, and hesitations that we have. When we are honest about what needs or desires aren’t being met, we can proactively work to meet them. So ask yourself, what do you really want out of a relationship? Do you want a partner who is on top of you 24/7? Someone who is controlling or otherwise overwhelming? Know what matters to you in terms of the respect and space you want in a partnership. Then you can communicate it honestly and without fear.

3. Communicate more honestly

There is no boundary setting in a relationship with honest conversation. Your partners need to know what you expect of them, but more than that, they need to know when they’ve crossed the line. You can’t expect someone to know what they don’t know. In order for your partnership to have the best chance of thriving, both of you need to sit down and place all your boundaries and needs out on the table. From there, you can figure out whether your paths align (or not).

Honest conversations are a must in boundary setting. Your partner needs to be told, in no uncertain terms, what you expect from them in terms of treatment or behavior. They can’t be expected to absorb all that information from thin air. Both of you must lay your desires and designs out on the table.

Have honest conversations about boundaries in your relationship. Where is the line getting crossed? Where are you struggling to set it? Sit your partner down and tell them how you’re feeling; describe your frustrations to them. Allow them to do the same. What boundaries affirm their comfort and stability n your relationship? What boundaries allow you both to be more fully who you are? Explore them over a series of conversations and check in regularly from time-to-time.

4. Don’t let little things snowball

Listen, a small request like a profile password may seem like nothing. But what happens when that request turns into a big fight? What happens when this demand to control your social media turns into a demand to control who you hang out with? Or who you talk to? We must address small transgressions when they occur, lest they turn into bigger problems. Things can snowball, and red flags and turn into five-alarm fires. Be cognizant and proactive in the first instance.

Don’t tolerate the little things and the small moments of dismissal and disrespect. These things need to be addressed. These brief moments escalate into big things when we don’t make a stand and protect the behaviors and experiences that are sacred to us.

If they talk down to you, put your foot down with them. Clarify that you’re not even going to accept the smallest dismissal of who you are and how you’re feeling. Your emotions are valid and they are important. They hold worth, as you do, and there’s a bigger message to be considered. If you’ve asked someone to address small dismissals and attacks, and they can’t, take it as a sign that major boundary lines won’t be respected later down the road…because they won’t. If they can’t respect the most basic elements of who you are, then they won’t respect the big things either.

Putting it all together…

Your partner doesn’t need access to your social media profiles. Sure, add them as a friend. Post to each other all day long if that makes you happy. There should be a line, however, with giving them your passwords and unfettered access to the intimate recesses of your social media profiles. To an extent, this should be a safe place for you to speak with friends and express yourself without the fear of someone looking over your shoulder. Establish boundaries. They don’t need access to your Facebook or any other profile.

Foremost, invest in people who are trustworthy and full of integrity. Boundaries are a lot easier to set and maintain when you don’t invest in people who want to push them right from the jump. Know what matters to you and refuse to settle for less than what you need. Have honest conversations about those needs, and stand up for yourself (speak up) when the line gets crossed. Create space in the relationships you build for both partners to explore where their lines naturally lie. Things change and our boundaries change too. Be flexible, honest, and open. Don’t tolerate minor infringements, because they add up to big disrespect later on down the road.

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Writer. Host. Certified coach. Host of the Practical Growth Pod. Master Practitioner NLP. Get all my books and resources at the link below.

Pelham, AL

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