Creating Boundaries After An Affair: Technology and the Internet

Melvin Tillman, Melvin Tillman, MA

Posted by: Melvin Tillman
Melvin Tillman, MA
267-428-2612

It comes to no shock that we live in a technologically advanced world. However, it can be easy to ignore or be unaware of the impact that technology has on our romantic life. Just look at the Internet; it has radicalized how we communicate through email, social media, video chatting, and much, much more. Though this can be a great way for couples to stay connected, it can also make infidelity all the more difficult to overcome. Suddenly, it feels as though there are so many open doors between your partner and the “other person.”  Therefore, what do you do?  How do you create boundaries after an affair with technology and the Internet?

 

Close the Doors

 

Your partner has to stop all forms of communication with the other person.  This includes text messages, emails, phone calls, Facebook, and all other forms of social media.  By allowing all focus and energy from your partner to be directed to your relationship, closing the doors gives your relationship the best possible fighting chance. Closing the doors means no distractions from emails, or g-chats with someone they are emotionally connected to.   

Demanding that your partner cease complete communication with the other person could feel too domineering to some.  If you find yourself in that boat, ask yourself one question, “How do I know that my partner is done with the affair?” Healing is hard to accomplish when infidelity, or behaviors that were once associated with the infidelity, is still present. Asking your partner to close the doors also serves as a way to assess just how willing and motivated they are to let go of the affair, and give you what you need to move forward and heal. If they don’t, it’s a pretty good sign they aren’t ready, and that’s information you need. Fortunately, there are additional ways to assess your partner’s faithfulness.  

 

Gain Access to Your Partner’s Technology

 

This can be a difficult one.  Having free access to your partner’s phone, email, or Facebook account could really feel like a violation of privacy.  This wouldn’t be the best advice under typical circumstances; however, infidelity is a game-changer. Your partner broke your trust and sense of security. That betrayal was incredibly hurtful and damaging. It’s important to not minimize that pain, and it’s important to not let that pain be minimized by your partner. Therefore, a more transparent life might be a necessary ingredient to rebuild the relationship.  Here are some tips to help you meet that end.

 

  • Having your partner’s Facebook ID and password.
  • Requesting to see your partner’s text messages whenever you please.
  • Approving whom your partner messages on Facebook.
  • Receiving a daily check-in from your partner via text, phone, etc.
  • Prohibiting the use of Snapchat and other automatically deleting material.
  • Linking your partner’s email account to yours.
  • Asking your partner to keep their phone visible/ face up
  • Encouraging them to do the opposite of their old, trigger behaviors (e.g., not taking calls outside of the room)

 

It’s important to remember that having complete access to your partner’s technology is probably best if it’s only temporary.  This intervention should work similarly to a medical crutch: after it aides you in recovery, you discard it. Just remember: having access to your partner’s technology can be comforting as it rebuilds the relationship’s trust, but be careful not to depend on it forever. It will come at a time where you simply have to trust again, despite the risk of being hurt once more. Try coming back to this article in 30 days. After utilizing what you have learned, do you find the boundaries still useful?  Why or why not?  The answers that you come up with can help guide your decision on whether to ease back on the tech transparency. If you’re not ready to ease back on the transparency, and if you’re not ready to simply jump in and trust again in this relationship, then a bigger discussion about separation may be necessary.

 

Encountering Resistance

Despite your honest intentions, your partner may be resistant to disclose their email, Facebook, and social media passwords. Some people are simply more private than others, so their pushback could be understandable. However, receiving a lot of resistance to your new boundaries could be a red flag.  It’s possible that your partner isn’t ready to give up their affair.  If that’s the case, you have to decide whether you’re fine being in that type of relationship.  Overall, be on the lookout for resistance, while also taking into account your partner’s personality.

 

Being cheated on is never easy, especially in the 21st century. With so many forms of communication, the ability to keep secrets feels uncomfortably high. Creating technological boundaries after an affair can be beneficial. After-all, you were hurt and want to heal from the betrayal. It’s not asking for too much to have your partner end communication with the other person, or to ask for access to his electronics temporarily. Technology changes the way affairs work, and affairs often change the way a relationship trying to recover works. Therefore, it’s only normal to change the boundaries following the infidelity. If you’re struggling to implement these boundaries on your own, help is available.