It’s the long debated topic of the digital world – is it okay to read my partner’s messages? Take cover kids, this truth bomb is about to smack the phone right out of your hands.
Self sabotage mode
Now, I wouldn’t call myself the perfect girlfriend. My anxiety levels sky rocket when I find myself in a relationship. All of a sudden I’m catapulted into a pit of self consciousness, constantly swapping between ‘I’m Beyonce’ thoughts, and ‘WHY WOULD HE LIKE ME?” thoughts. It’s like I’ve got two personalities – the angel I like to think I am, and the devil I keep hidden deep beneath my innocent composure, who’s constantly scheming and plotting to sabotage my own relationship – even though, of course, that’s never what I want.
“I’m an independent black sheep who don’t need no ram.”
In my long history of relationships, I’ve started to recognise the common denominator. Me. Twice I’ve found myself trawling through a boyfriend’s Facebook messages in search of validation that yes, they are cheating on me.
But that isn’t the issue here. It’s not an issue to do with Facebook messages or a phone at all. It’s about faith and trust, and I didn’t hold any. So my stalking through messages is not a big deal at all – it’s the fact that I knew something was wrong in my relationship, and felt the need to verify it. THERE’S the issue.
When it’s okay
If you’re sitting in the car with your fiance, and their phone happens to go off while it’s in your hands – yes it’s okay to check it. You trust your fiance, you’re not actively looking for anything dubious, and it’s probably their mum anyway.
Also okay: if your fiance actually requests you check their phone.
HOWEVER – if you pick up any defensive behaviours or signs from your partner whenever you are near their phone, perhaps this is reason to be concerned. This is not a green flag to go snooping through your partner’s phone – it’s a warning sign. If you WANT to look for something, you’ll find it – whatever ‘it’ might be. And if you find yourself wanting to look, maybe the issue here is bigger than what’s hidden in the phone.
When it’s not okay
Say your fiance goes to the toilet and leaves their phone in plain view. This is not an invitation for you to read their messages.
Also not okay: If you ever find yourself with access to your partner’s phone, you should never actively seek out their group messages with their most trusted friends. We all need to vent somewhere, and I’d be very surprised if your fiance hasn’t complained once or twice about your annoying eating habits or the obscene amount of time you take to pluck one eyebrow. This is normal!
But if you’re scrolling and scrolling in search of whatever might have been said about you, this is no longer an issue about what’s in the group conversation, but an issue with your relationship as a whole. If neither of you feel allowed to vent out of fear the other may find out and be offended, this is a sign of an unhealthy relationship, and no longer an issue regarding the phone at all.
If you’re sitting here thinking ‘Well thanks, this didn’t help me at all, I’m going to go look through their phone anyway’ – I’m sorry I didn’t get through to you. I’m trying to warn you – the problem here is that you WANT to look through your fiance’s phone. You WANT to find something. You WANT to validate your distrust of your fiance.
This isn’t a problem regarding the messages on the phone. It’s a relationship problem.
You’re marrying this person. If your distrust of one another is rearing its ugly head so early on in what’s supposed to be ‘forever’, perhaps it’s best to consider enlisting a professional to guide you through pre-marital counselling and alleviate some of your worries. Alternatively, here’s a few ways to strengthen your relationship before marriage.