Boundaries are defined differently in almost every relationship – sometimes even within the span of one lifetime. You may have had different boundaries between different partners in the past depending on where you were in your life, the state of your mental health, and the state of trust within your relationship. All of which are valid reasons. But the idea that monogamy is a widely-agreed upon concept is a misconception. Your boundaries can affect how you view social media, monogamy, and the relationship between those two. Defining boundaries in your relationship and keeping communication open is crucial to any healthy relationship.
In the age of pervasive social media, monogamy definitions be doubly difficult to grasp.
Even though monogamy has often been considered the default relationship orientation, there are many different relationship structures and ways people can choose to do their relationship(s). Here we’re considering monogamy and alternatives to monogamy, looking specifically at ways to navigate boundaries and social media.
Social Media, Monogamy, and Ethical Non-Monogamy
At some point during every romantic relationship, those involved have to decide if they want to practice monogamy or one of the many forms of ethical non-monogamy together. During this process, partners must figure out what the boundaries will be for both emotional and sexual engagement with others. This includes online interactions and social media use.
The first step is to understand what presence previous partners will have. While this might not fall neatly into your discussions about monogamy, polyamory, or other versions of commitment like open relationships, each deals with a very similar emotional landscape, especially regarding feelings of security or jealousy.
Talk about whether you or your partners are still in communication with previous partners, including on social media. Be clear about the context and the importance of those relationships.
Having this understanding together can prevent feelings of shock, betrayal, or insecurity later when someone sees their partner commenting on an ex’s pictures, for example.
Define what commitment means for your relationship. Whether you and your partner opt for monogamy or not, clearly express what that means to you. More specifically, what kind of interactions with others (including online interactions) would you consider a breach of the boundaries of your relationship?
Are you comfortable with seeing your partner do a little light flirting with someone else? Is sexting with another person okay as long as it never becomes physical? How do you feel about your partner keeping their dating profiles active and messaging people on those apps?
You won’t always know how you feel about something until it happens, so remember that this is less a one-time conversation and more an ongoing dialogue with your partner about your needs and comfort levels.
Take time to think about how you feel and what you need from a relationship, and consider how social media use affects those feelings. Then, be honest with your partner about your desires – this can be such an awesome opening experience for you both in other ways, as well!
In the end, like everything in a romantic or sexual relationship, how social media impacts your relationship comes down to communication.
When you and your partner know each other’s wants, needs, and expectations, you’ll have the tools you need for a happy, healthy relationship.
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