Tips To Set Social Media Boundaries In Your Relationship

It's no surprise that social media has become a powerful element in relationships, especially given its prevalence in modern life. While it makes it so convenient to keep in touch with friends and family, it can also be tough to draw the line — or to know when enough is actually enough. Being caught up in social media, it's easy to lose track of time and forget to interact with the real world. You need to take into account how your social media use can affect those closest to you, too — and none more so than your partner.

Setting up boundaries can bring a bunch of benefits for both parties. For starters, having a firm grasp on dos and don'ts when it comes to social media can avoid a lot of miscommunication. Think of it like a game of tennis — without clear lines, you and your partner would constantly argue whether the ball was in or out. Boundaries just might be the best way to find a sweet spot between spending time on the phone and connecting with your significant other. And we all know how important balance is when it comes to happy, healthy relationships.

Bottom line: While there are significant advantages to using social media in romantic relationships, it is wise to remain mindful of the risks involved. A bit of precaution will go a long way in safeguarding your relationships.

Identify what boundaries you need

It's important that you and your partner establish certain limits each of you requires for your online interactions. Sometimes misunderstandings, envy, and other bad feelings can destroy a relationship if these limits aren't there.

The refusal to discuss sensitive topics, such as passwords and private messages, is a typical boundary in relationships. This makes sense — it's for the safety of confidential information and the confidence of business associates. Another standard rule is to not interact with or follow an ex-partner on any social networking site. This might help put to rest any lingering feelings or emotions that could otherwise cause friction or jealousy. Limits on how often and when each partner may use their own devices to access social media can also help many relationships. Behavioral expert, Tracy Crossley, agrees by saying overuse "stands in the way of emotional intimacy" in an interview with Well+Good.

Ultimately, figuring out what kind of social media limits you and your spouse need is an important aspect of maintaining a successful relationship. If two people can talk with each other and figure out what the other is saying, they can avoid all sorts of arguments and build trust and respect for each other.

Talk to your partner

The next step, after deciding on social media limits for you and your partner, is to talk to each other about it. Setting healthy limits that work for both parties requires open and honest communication.

It's critical to avoid controversy right off the bat by starting the conversation on an amicable one. Discuss your worries and feelings regarding the impact of social media on your relationship openly with your spouse. A great tip is to express your emotions using "I" phrases to avoid assigning blame or making accusations. It's preferable to say something like, "I feel uneasy when you like your ex's photographs on Instagram" rather than just "You are always liking your ex's pictures on Instagram." It's a small change that makes a big difference.

You should also make an effort to understand your partner's feelings and point of view. Motivate them to share their perspectives on the pros and cons of social media and their ideas for setting appropriate limits. Just remember that setting limits is a two-way path — one on which both parties must be willing to give and take in order to reach a solution that works for everyone. Also, keep in mind that this is a continuous discussion that might change as your relationship develops. Boundaries should be discussed and adjusted as required, especially when new situations develop, like making new acquaintances or altering one's social media habits.

Understand each other's perspectives

Partners seeing eye to eye when it comes to placing limits on their social media use is important. But let's be real, everyone has their own comfort levels, expectations, and degrees of ease when scrolling. To better respect your partner's limits, you must hear them out and learn why they're important to them. If your spouse is insecure or envious of a specific group of people, they may not want you to follow them. By putting yourself in your partner's shoes, you may come up with a solution that pleases everyone.

You must also be truthful about your own limitations and points of view. It's important to maintain calm and respect while communicating any worries or expectations you have — about anything, but especially regarding social media use in the context of your relationship. Avoid hurt feelings and establish a harmonious relationship by always speaking your mind (respectfully, of course). Of course, social media use is a personal decision, and various people will have different ideas about how best to employ it. A solid relationship is all about respecting each other's space and views. Learn to see things from each other's points of view, and your relationships will be stronger than ever.

Define acceptable social media behavior

When you and your partner have had a chance to communicate and gain mutual understanding, it's time to set some ground rules for how each of you should behave on social media. This can  involve establishing rules for your social media usage and establishing limits for your account.

Get the conversation going by deciding how often you'll check in and what kinds of posts you'll make. You may, for instance, limit the hours of the day you check social media or resolve not to share any information that could be considered too personal (like your relationship issues).

Determining who you will follow and engage with is another crucial part of establishing boundaries on social media. For example, you and your partner may establish a pact to avoid having any further contact with coworkers, or anybody else who causes tension. Recognizing and honoring one another's emotional needs and working together to establish limits that everyone can live with peacefully and safely is essential.

The resolution of disagreements and conflicts that may occur from social media use should also be discussed. Will you unplug from social media long enough to have a serious conversation about this? The health of your relationship depends on your ability to communicate effectively.

Address red flags

It's still crucial to handle red flags when they appear. Of course, that's true not just for social media use, but life in general. What we mean by red flags, or flags of concern, are indicators of potentially harmful or improper actions that require immediate attention.

Relationship red flags might include improper online conduct including flirting with others or sending explicit messages, all kinds of micro-cheating, masking social media activity, or engaging in excessive social media use. Any of these warning signs should prompt you to have an honest conversation with your spouse. Communicate your worries and how this conduct is affecting your relationship openly and directly. Instead of pointing fingers or placing blame, try letting them know how their actions affect you.

Together, you must find a resolution that gets at the heart of the matter. This may entail doing things like taking a vacation from social media or professional counseling. It's important to remember that addressing warning signs in a timely and polite manner might help avert much bigger issues down the road. Putting off dealing with problems until they become insurmountable is never a good idea.

Keep checking In

Having a talk about social media limits with your partner isn't something you do once and then forget about. It's an ongoing process that requires regular check-ins. Your level of familiarity and expectations of one another's usage of social media may shift as your relationship matures. Therefore, have frank discussions with your significant other about your social media habits and the effects they may be having on your relationship as it goes on.

You can do your part in avoiding awkward situations by keeping an eye on your online limits on a regular basis. But that sounds like a game of online limbo. Feels like you're seeing how low your limits can go without causing any awkward situations, doesn't it? It's a delicate balance. However, it doesn't take much to get over this issue. With a bit of mindfulness, or perhaps a new conversation about the situation, you can keep yourself from stumbling into any uncomfortable moments.

We hate to sound like a broken record, but it is very meaningful to be open and honest about how you feel and what you need from your social media use, and that applies to these check-ins, too. If your partner's actions or words are making you feel unsafe or uneasy, it's extremely important that you express your concerns as soon as possible. It's also important to be flexible if you discover that your social media limitations are overly stringent and create undue strain on your relationship.

Prioritize real-life interactions

While it's true that social media may be a terrific tool to maintain communication with your spouse, nothing can replace face-to-face time. In-person interactions strengthen bonds between partners since they allow for more in-depth communication and understanding.

In order to value face-to-face communication, it's important to schedule regular offline time with friends, family, or a significant other. A couple might do this by going on a date, taking a stroll, or just hanging out at home. Psychotherapist, Ken Page (LCSW) tells Mindbodygreen that those simple moments are "often the moments when our loved one reveals something personal and intimate" to us. So, try to reduce your time spent on social media during this period. Focus on your companion and forget about checking your phone or going through your feed. You can both benefit from a deeper connection and more happiness in your relationship. 

It's also a good idea to limit the use of social media around mealtimes, during talks, and other times when people are together. You can better focus on your lover and avoid interruptions if you do this. Keep in mind that putting an emphasis on in-person communication does not imply abandoning social media. Instead, it involves striking a balance between that and real-world communication.