Trust and Boundaries in Your Relationship

couple fights has conflict woman stealing boyfriend phone while he feeling angry trying to get back
by Vance Larson

Cell Hell. The relationship killer. This subject seems to be a common issue that my clients come to me for. I have written about this many times, but it just seems to be an issue that will not die.

I get asked at least once a week if it’s okay if your spouse goes through your cell phone? That’s a loaded question. And while everyone deserves their privacy, personally I think if you’re in a committed relationship it should not be a problem. Every relationship is working with a different skill set. However, trust is the cornerstone of every successful relationship. I have spent countless hours listening to men (and women) saying they don’t want their spouse going through their phone. That some things should remain private. I completely agree. However, at the same time, I have never had anyone in my office (with a clean conscience) saying that was a problem.

I am not suggesting that everyone who wants their privacy is doing something inappropriate. Again, I can only reference my long term marriage and this issue has never come up. I totally understand if you’re in a new relationship. But I think the lines get blurred when we’re not forthcoming. I have had clients say that they haven’t done anything wrong by keeping their old boyfriend/girlfriends on their phone. And I agree to provide you and your spouse have this agreement. The trouble begins when they don’t disclose that they are doing this. It’s called a lie by omission. The amount of couples that I have seen for this very reason is staggering. I have seen marriages end for this very reason.

I can recall a client talking to me when I was providing some EAP work for a local business. The client often met with, sent text and spoke with this very attractive lady and swore he wasn’t doing anything wrong. It’s not for me to say it was or if he wasn’t. My question to him was why come to me about it in the first place? After several discussions, he said that his home life was terrible. And while I get he was looking for validation, I could not provide it. From that point on he stopped working with me.

There comes a time when we have to be honest with ourselves. I don’t think there will ever be a clear cut answer if your spouse should be going through your phone. I will say this though. If you or your spouse feels the need to go through each others phone, you’re already in trouble. Be it lack of communication, trust or self-worth, there is something happening on a much deeper level.

However, for the purpose of this very issue, if you’re entering a new relationship, having a conversation about boundaries, in the beginning, can save you countless headaches in the future. You can always revisit that conversation should you take your relationship to the next level and become exclusive. The quality of your relationship is directly related to the quality of your communication.

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