19 April 2012
Relationship etiquette: checking up on your partner
It is natural in any relationship to sometimes want to know more information about someone than they are offering but is it ok to check up on them to discover it?
Some people are very open and reveal a lot about themselves straight away while others are more reserved and it can take years to really get to know them. This can be frustrating especially if it is accompanied by doubts or questions that you feel you need the answer to for your own peace of mind. If the questions are things like whether they are still in touch with their ex partner? What they got up to on the weekend away with their friends etc. It may be tempting to resort to other means to find out, but is this ok?
Trusting one another
In all relationships, not just romantic ones, trust is what makes them healthy and lasting. How easy we find it to trust others will depend very much on our past experiences. Some people approach new relationships completely trusting their partner until they are proved otherwise; others won’t trust anyone at all until that trust has been earned. Whatever your approach, how much you trust and how secure you are in yourself will have a huge impact on whether you will feel compelled to check up on your partner. Secure people, with lots of trust usually never feel the need to check up on their partners – it wouldn’t enter their head, maybe because they have never really had their trust broken.
If you have been hurt in the past you may justify checking up on your partner because you don’t want to be hurt in the same way again. The trouble is that by checking up on them you are actually breaking their trust and your actions could undermine the relationship – so by worrying that there is a problem you could end up creating one.
Building a case
Worrying that someone could be cheating on you, or that they don’t love you can prompt you to go looking for proof. The trouble is that you will probably find it; or rather you will find things that you interpret as proof. It is not a case of discounting your gut instinct. If you are normally a trusting person but you keep getting the feeling that something doesn’t add up you should take notice of that feeling. It is far better to confront someone directly than go behind their back. Tying to dig out information surreptitiously will mean that if you confront your partner with the evidence they can quite rightly accuse you of being dishonest too.
It is easier now than ever before to keep an eye on a partner’s activities through mobile phone messages and social media. Most of us keep up to date with each other in this way and there is no harm in it – we check each other’s face book statuses, read tweets and blogs and keep in touch via email and text message. Most people have nothing to hide and anything that is put on social networks is there because they are happy for everyone to see it. The line is crossed between honestly keeping in touch and dishonestly checking up when you start doing things that you know your partner wouldn’t be happy about, like logging onto their email or Facebook account without permission or checking their text messages when they are out of the room. If you feel uncomfortable about doing it, or suspect they would be angry if they found out, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it – you wouldn’t read someone’s diary so why would you read their private messages?
If you find yourself being drawn into this kind of behaviour with every relationship you embark on then it could be that you are suffering from low self-esteem. Until you tackle it your insecurity will stop any relationship from being able to flourish no matter how trustworthy the other person is.
Turn the tables
The other way to tell if you are doing something unacceptable is to ask yourself how you would feel if your partner did it to you. Would you feel it was an invasion of privacy? Would you prefer them to talk to you about any doubts or concerns they have? Just because we get into a relationship with someone doesn’t give them automatic access to all our private information. Over time people will reveal more but it is never ok to go snooping behind their back – if you are with someone you really don’t trust then maybe it is not the right relationship for you.