For Wisdom In My Relationship With My Boyfriend
Why I Quit Stalking My Boyfriend Online — And Why You Should, Too
During the work day, there are a few internet-based guilty pleasures I indulge in: taking Buzzfeed quizzes, bidding on crop tops on eBay and low-key stalking my boyfriend's social media pages. I look at everything from recently added friends to previous Tweets I may have missed and Instagram s — the works.
Mostly, I stalk my boyfriend throughout the day to cure my boredom — but it also causes my imagination to run wild. If he gets a single from a Tumblr-famous comedic artist with a fondness for succulents and crystal grids, I'll immediately start creating fantasies in my head where he's planning to leave me for her. Is it healthy? No. Is it boring? Never.
I'm not alone in this behavior. One of my best friends knows her ex-fiancé's new girlfriend's social calendar better than her own as a result of constantly stalking her.
Recently, however, when she told me this, we both agreed to put an end to our nasty stalking habits.
For an entire month, we said no to any social media check-ups of any exes, current lovers, or current lovers' exes — and the results were game-changing.
I'm keeping up the social media cleanse – and here's why you should, too.
1) You're not fooling anyone.
It's easy to believe that a simple “clear search history” or a high-scoring password will keep your browsing activity between you and your god. Don't kid yourself, though: Your partner probably already knows what you're doing to begin with.
“Of course your partner will find out if you're doing this kind of stalking,” clinical psychologist and relationship expert Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., said in a phone interview.
Think of it this way: If your partner mentions a woman she went to college with, and you accidentally respond: “Oh! Jane with the weed tattoo on her ass? She just moved to Brooklyn, right?,” she'll figure out what's up.You may think you're hiding it well, but if you obsess over your partner's online activity, you're ly to start seeming paranoid and asking them ridiculous questions, leading them to figure out what's up.
If you let yourself get worked up over, say, him liking an ex's cat photo, they're going to catch on to your crazy — especially if the was just a reflexive reaction to seeing a cat while scrolling through Instagram during a long poop.
2) Suspicion is not sexy.
If you're anything me, you just don't have the acting chops to hide your surreptitiously obtained knowledge that the red plaid shirt he always wears was actually a gift from an ex-boyfriend, as discovered from a 2007 post.
When you ask your partner why they love that shirt so much, it won't exactly put them in the mood for a romantic night of lovemaking. It'll just make you seem, well, a little bit insane.
“Insecurity and jealousy are never associated with anything appealing or attractive. That's not how you want to present yourself to your partner,” Greenberg said. While hints of jealousy can be a cute way to signify your interest in someone, perfume, too much is just a disaster.
3) Trust matters
Sometimes, people do learn their partners are cheating on them by tracking their social media presence. In college, when things got a little weird in my relationship, I suspected that my boyfriend was stepping out on me with a blonde exchange student he'd just friended on — and I turned out to be right.
In retrospect, there were signs all over the place that my college relationship was off the tracks, the fact that he showed no sexual interest in me after a while and never answered his phone at night.
However, it's worth asking yourself why you're so suspicious of your partner in the first place.
Are you obsessively refreshing his Instagram feed because your gut is screaming that there's trouble in paradise? Or are you just a little bored and using social media stalking as one might use a Harry Potter Sorting Hat quiz?
Consider the importance of building trust in a relationship. When you stalk, “you give your partner the impression that you don't trust him or her,” Greenberg said. “Now who wants to be with somebody who is suspicious and doesn't trust you?”
4) Exes are exes for a reason
When our parents heard stories about their partner's high-school sweethearts, they were just that: stories. Millennials have the disadvantage of being able to flip through and find old photos, cute statuses, or the many mutual friends their partner's exes still share. These are electronic fossils of past relationships — and they should stay buried.
If your partner broke up with his ex, they probably weren't right for each other to begin with, meaning there's nothing to worry about. “People have exes for a reason,” Greenberg said.
The reality is that our partner's past relationships are ancient history, and they should stay that way. Otherwise, “you can convince yourself that the historic feelings are present feelings,” Greenberg warned. “Maybe they did have a good moment there, five years ago. Those feelings could be long gone, yet you convince yourself the fire is still burning when it's actually not.”
5) You're creating problems that don't exist.
Just as looking at photos of someone's ex can bring ancient history into the present, obsessively stalking your partner and searing for missteps probably won't uncover any problems. It can, however, create its own.
“If you're looking at somebody's , Instagram or Snapchat, and you start to get suspicious, you will create a problem,” Greenberg said. “The problem you create may eventually lead to the demise of the relationship, because you may start inventing fantasy stories. Then you can end up being mad at your partner and your partner doesn't know why.”
I honestly have no idea who my partner has followed, friended or favorited in the past month and counting — and our relationship has never been better.
By forcing myself to give up on embedding myself in my partner's online habits, I've had more time to enthrall myself with our relationship.Because the only one spending so much time thinking about the beautiful, raven-haired woman he works with who keeps liking his photos, it turns out, was me.
Being present and trusting in a relationship is extremely challenging. It's much easier (and more satisfying in the short-term) to embed oneself in their partner's social media interactions in an attempt to validate any little suspicion.
However, as Greenberg points out, “I don't think you need to have much of a social media relationship with your partner other than private exchanges between the two of you. You're supposed to really focus on being present in the relationship.
What are Some Tips for Communicating with my Boyfriend?
Perhaps the biggest tip for communicating with your boyfriend is to acknowledge that people, especially men and women, do not always express themselves in the same way.
Once you understands this, you can use certain techniques to improve the way you communicate: keep conversations simple and short, alert your boyfriend when you need to vent, use body language well and incorporate “I” statements into conversations.
Other tips include giving your boyfriend plenty of time to answer, trying to see through his eyes and using his unique traits and interests to make points clearer. Complimenting him also can improve the communication situation, because it can make him feel more needed and capable, prompting him to talk openly.
Acknowledge Communication Differences
Men and woman often have different ways of expressing themselves. Women tend to want to explore a range of different feelings and opinions.
They usually see communication as an effective way of preventing issues and planning what to do next. By contrast, discussing many opinions and feelings can be difficult for men, who typically prefer to keep things simple.
They sometimes do not see communicating as necessary unless there is already the need to take action or fix a problem.
Due to the way that most men communicate, it’s typically helpful to keep conversations short and rational, addressing just one or two feelings or ideas at a time. This requires you to narrow down exactly what you want to say before a discussion happens, but it usually keeps a guy’s attention.
Give a Heads Up Before Venting
Most men are good problem solvers because of the way their brains are “wired.” This can get his partner a fix, but it also can make a boyfriend respond to venting the wrong way.
He might think that you are giving him an issue to resolve, when really you just wants to get feelings off of your chest.
To put a boyfriend more at ease, it’s a good idea to start the conversation with an honest disclaimer, such as “I don’t expect anybody to have a solution, but just talking about it will make me feel better.”
Speak With the Body
Communicating well in a romantic or other relationship requires that you pay close attention to your body language.
Facial and other body gestures can pass on a huge amount of meaning during a conversation, so one way to manipulate a conversation well or avoid conflict with a boyfriend is to control your movements.
If you sit with your arms crossed, for example, this conveys an unwillingness to listen or hear the other person out. By contrast, leaning forward and smiling can show an interest in what your boyfriend is saying.
Use “I” Language
Even though body language can speak louder than the actual words a person says, your boyfriend still is going to listen to your actual speech.
Psychologists long have recommended using “I” statements such as “I think” or “I feel that…” while communicating, because such statements generally do not put the listener on the defensive.
Avoiding “you” statements therefore might improve the effectiveness of your talks.
Give Time for Response
There is a huge difference between monologue and dialogue. In monologue, just one person talks, meaning two-way communication doesn’t happen. Getting your boyfriend to open up in a meaningful way, therefore, means that you can’t do all the talking.
Give your boyfriend time to react to what you’ve said.
This can be challenging, because even though some people to take time to formulate a concise, simple and clear answer, others react emotionally to the brief periods of silence and sometimes feel the need to fill them with more talking.
See from His Point of View
One trick that sometimes boosts communication in a relationship is for one partner to put himself or herself in the other's shoes.
If the guy has been spending a lot of extra time with his friends, for example, you might try to think about what those friends provide in terms of fun, relaxation and self-expression.
You then can couple your understanding with “I” statements, such as “I know spending time with your friends lets you get rid of stress, but I feel …”
Take Advantage of the Unique
Even though men display some general characteristics that are pretty similar, each man, just each woman, is highly individual. Your boyfriend has his own dreams, philosophies, experiences, fears and preferences.
Incorporating these things into the communication approach can make him more responsive.
If your boyfriend is into video games, for instance, your might try using an analogy using a specific game to describe a situation, problem or feeling.
Many men are naturally competitive to some degree, so complimenting your boyfriend can boost his ego, making him feel comfortable and needed. That can make him more willing to talk openly and really listen attentively.
11 Undeniable Signs He’s In Love With You
He loves me … he loves me not … if only finding the answer were as simple as plucking petals off a flower. So what makes it so hard to determine if a man truly loves you?
A lot of us have ideas about what love should be, what it should look , and how it should feel. A lot of the time these ideas are plain wrong (we can thank romantic comedies for that). As a result, some of us might not recognize the real thing when it comes our way.
Maybe it’s because of these grand visions of love that have been implanted in our minds, but it could also be the result of being burned too many times in the past and having walls up when it comes to either giving love or being able to receive it.
The point is, love is a tricky thing. A guy can say he loves you and not truly mean it, and a guy can love you a lot but not be ready to say it.
Love, as beautiful as it is, can also be scary, and a lot of us keep our guard up until we’re sure he feels a certain way in order to keep from getting hurt. As the saying goes, before you fall in love, make sure there is someone there to catch you.
The trouble with this is that when you get caught up in trying to figure out if a man loves you, you can no longer be present in the relationship. Instead of connecting, you are stuck in your own worried thoughts, and those thoughts produce fears and insecurities that ultimately block you from getting the love you want.So how do you know if a man is truly in love with you? If he shows these 11 signs, then it’s pretty safe to say he is.
It isn’t a look of lust and desire (although he will feel that as well!). Instead, it’s marked by a certain level of awe, serenity, and inner calm. It’s a look reserved only for you.
It’s not only the way he looks at you; it’s the frequency. He can’t stop looking at you; whether you’re together or across the room from each other, his gaze will always be oriented toward you.
2. He wants to give to you
Real love is about giving, not taking. This is why parents typically love their children more than their children love them. You would think it would be the opposite.
From birth through our teenage years (and sometimes beyond!) kids take and parents give. Every parent (myself included!) will tell you that you never know real love until you have a child, and that’s because this kind of love is all about giving.
Nothing will knock the selfish you quite being completely responsible for tiny helpless people!
When you love someone, you want to give that person everything you have. This isn’t about material possessions. You want to give by being the best you can, you want to make them happy, to enhance their life, you want to do things for them that will make them happy.
Love isn’t merely a feeling; it’s a verb and it comes across in actions. The biggest action that indicates a man loves you is when he gives you all he can.
QUIZ: Does He Love Me?
3. He treats you a priority
Everyone is busy; we all have work or school or other commitments. When a man loves you, he will make spending time with you a priority. And if he really doesn’t have time, he’ll make sure to let you know when he will.
When a man loves you, you’re the most important person in his life and he makes sure to carve out a place in it for you. You’re not an afterthought or a backup plan. You are it for him.
4. He wants to immerse himself in your life
He wants to meet your family and all of your friends, and he really wants them to him. He makes an effort to get to know them and make a good impression. He wants to know all about your passions and hobbies and tries to connect to these areas of your life as much as possible.
At the same time, he also wants to immerse you in his life and for you to meet all of his people. He wants you to be best friends with everyone he’s close to and he wants the people in his life to love you the way he does.
More than that, he includes you in his bigger life plan. He doesn’t speak about the future vaguely; instead, he makes it clear that he envisions a future with you in it.
MORE: How Men Show Their Love
5. He really sees you
He notices things about you that others don’t (maybe he even sees things that you don’t!) He notices how you interact with others, how people feel in your presence, how your mind works, how you process emotions, how you express yourself. He pays attention to all the little details and he remembers them. He appreciates the full scope of who you are, the good and the bad.
He doesn’t just love you, he loves things about you.
Really loving people doesn’t mean you love the way they make you feel (although many people believe that’s what love is), it’s about loving them for who they are at their core. This sort of love has nothing to do with how good that person makes you feel about yourself.
That’s not to say someone you love can’t or won’t make you feel good about yourself, but you can’t truly love people only because they make you feel good.That’s a very selfish kind of love, a love that feeds your need to feel good in the moment, not a life-changing, deep love.
When someone really sees you, he sees not just everything you are but everything you want to be, and he’ll let you know when you’re falling short.
The catch? This may actually make you feel bad about yourself.
If you’re being a jerk to strangers, treating a friend poorly, or not living up to your obligations somehow, someone who loves you will let you know.
It may not feel good, but it’s a sign that he really sees you, all of you, and cares about you. (I go into greater depth on this in my article on what no one tells you about being in a good relationship.)
6. Your happiness is as important to him as his own
Your happiness may be even more important! When you love someone, really love someone, their happiness is your happiness. This is especially true for men who need to feel they can make a woman happy.
If you tell him that something makes you unhappy and he keeps doing it, this is not a sign that he’s in love with you. A man who loves you will avoid doing things that make you unhappy and will learn the things will make you happy, and he’ll make an effort to do those things.
7. He misses you when you’re apart
Men typically fall in love in a woman’s absence, not her presence.
A man can shower you with all the love in the world while he’s with you because it’s nice to be with someone else and to connect and be affectionate, but what is he when he’s not with you? Does he miss you? Does he make an effort to reach out? Or does he disappear for days on end and then tell you he’s sorry, he’s just been “super swamped?”
When you love someone, you yearn for their presence and miss them when they’re gone.
It doesn’t mean you are constantly thinking about them every waking minute, because that would be an unhealthy obsession, not love, but the thought of them always lingers in the background.
Things remind you of them, something happens and you want to tell them, you just feel a constant connection even when you’re apart.
When a man is in love with you, he’ll be in touch. He’ll send you funny things he finds online or links to articles he thinks you’d , or he’ll tell you about something funny that happened to him that he thought you’d appreciate. You don’t ever wonder what black hole he’s fallen into. He’s just there, and you dont doubt he’ll stay there.
I remember very early in my relationship with my husband I knew he really cared about me because he would always keep me in the loop, even when it wasn’t necessary. For instance, before our third date, I texted him to confirm the time and he didn’t respond for about 45 minutes and when he did he apologized for the delay and said he was out with friends and not checking his phone.I don’t consider 45 minutes to be that significant of a time lag and didn’t need the explanation, but it made me feel cared for and it showed me that he considered me someone important and didn’t want me to think that something else was more important. He would do considerate things that constantly, and that’s how I knew he loved me long before he even said it.
When a guy loves you, he won’t ever leave you hanging. He’ll keep you informed about what he’s up to, not because he has to, but because he wants to.
9. He’s there for you even when it’s inconvenient
Being in love is easy when everything is going great and it’s all smooth sailing, but what happens when you hit a rough patch, or when you need him? How does he respond when there is a problem, when he needs to be there for you even if there are other things he would rather be doing?
Love is other-focused; it’s not about one’s own needs and desires, it’s about factoring in someone else.
When a man loves you, nothing will be more important than being there for you when you need him. It may not always be his ideal scenario, but he’ll step up and be there.
10. He doesn’t give up
He puts his all into the relationship and really commits to making it work. When you love someone, you don’t quit without a fight.
I remember at the beginning of my relationship with my husband, a lot of my deep-seated relationship fears started bubbling to the surface. I had been blindsided by breakups in the past; I’d had men tell me they loved me and then they left me. It’s hard to just forget such things and wipe the slate clean.
Even though this relationship was totally different from anything else I’d ever experienced, those fears lingered.
I remember one conversation where I brought this up to him, and he told me that if this relationship didn’t last, it would be a mutual parting and we would both see it coming.
He wasn’t going to just leave; he was going to put in everything he had. He did and so did I, and fortunately it all worked out!
MORE: 10 Signs He’s a Keeper
If a man says he loves you but doesn’t want to try anymore, or gives up because he thinks it’s too hard, then it probably wasn’t true love. You don’t give up on love unless you have put everything you have into making it work, and it was just impossible (and this is something that both people will usually be able to clearly recognize).
There are obviously times where someone can truly love you, but because you’re just not right for each other, or maybe because you aren’t willing to put in the necessary effort, that he will walk away even though he loves you, but only after giving it his all.Similar to what I said in my article about how to know if a guy s you, when a guy loves you, you just know. It’s obvious to you and to everyone around you. You’ll have a feeling of peace and calm and just knowing.
When someone truly loves you, his behavior and way of being with you won’t arouse feelings of insecurity/fear/anxiety/worry in you (as long as you yourself are emotionally healthy. If you’re prone to having those feelings no matter what, then they are probably generated within you).
Check in with yourself and see where it’s coming from. Usually, when we feel uneasy, the rug is going to be pulled out from under us, it’s because the relationship isn’t standing on a stable ground because the guy isn’t sure of how he feels. When someone loves you, he shows it and you just know it, even before he says it.
I hope after reading this article you’re totally clear on the signs a man is in love with you.
But before you go, I need to tell you that there’s a crucial period in your relationship that will determine if you and he end up together, or if the relationship falls apart. At some point, he will start to back off.
He may lose interest, he may pull away, he may suddenly need space. Do you know how to handle it when he does this? If not, be sure to read this: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This…
The next problem you may run into is when he gets to the point where he asks himself: Is this the woman I want to commit to for the long-term? The fate of your relationship lies in the answer to that question. Do you know how men decide if a woman is girlfriend, or even wife, material? The type of woman that a man wants to commit himself to? If not you need to read this next: The #1 Things Men Desire in a Woman
These Are the Biggest Signs He’s In Love With You:
- The way he looks at you.
- He wants to give to you.
- He treats you a priority.
- He wants to immerse himself in your life.
- He really sees you.
- Your happiness is as important to him as his own.
- He misses you when you’re apart.
- He keeps you in the loop.
- He’s there for you even when it’s inconvenient.
- He doesn’t give up.
- You don’t worry how he feels—you just know.
Why is my boyfriend keeping our relationship a secret??
When you are in a dating relationship all kinds of questions come up, especially at the beginning. I get asked a lot of questions about this and so today I have some new relationship advice to offer.
The Start of a Dating Relationship
The start of a dating relationship can be a wild time as you are both just trying to figure out all the details. Things :
- How/when do you tell other people about your relationship?
- When are you going to make time for each other?
- Falling hard for someone really quickly
Let’s Start off with Amy who asks the first question:
I’ve been seeing a guy for about a month now. Neither of us has told anyone about the relationship I sort of want to, but he does not.
Why does my boyfriend feel the need to keep our relationship a secret? Should I be worried?
Anytime there is secrecy involved in a relationship, there’s a cause for worry.
DAWSON: Some people to keep a relationship private when they’re not sure where it’s going. Still, others want to keep a relationship secret because they are also involved with another person, or not completely over their previous relationship. I’m not sure what the exact situation is with your boyfriend, but he may be using you, or he may even be worried about being embarrassed.
Either way, his secrecy should give you concern. Someone who truly cares about you should be proud to tell other people about you.
Secrecy in Relationships is Cause for Concern
Anytime there is secrecy involved in a relationship there’s a cause for worry. Relationships should be about joy, happiness, and love…not secrecy.
If I were you, I would tell him how much you’re enjoying your relationship with him, but how difficult it is to not be able to talk about it with those who are closest to you.
Ask him if you could tell your best friend about the relationship, and see how he reacts.On the other hand, maybe it’s okay to not to push your secret boyfriend to immediately “define” your relationship. Some people feel they have to tell the world when they are dating someone. This can be frightening to guys who are often afraid of calling something a relationship before they are really sure what it is.
Time and communication are going to be your two best friends in this situation. In the end, if he really cares about you, he’ll want the world to know.
8 Signs Your Dating Relationship Is Unhealthy
Tasha brings us the next new relationship question:
What should you do when you fall hard for someone and in a really short time?
What you’re dealing with is a lot of fantasy and not a lot of reality.
DAWSON: What you’re experiencing happens to a lot of people. It’s called infatuation. Infatuation is the emotional feeling of romantic love. It feels love. It acts love. But it does not pass an important test: the test of time.
There is nothing wrong with being infatuated, most relationships start there. But you just can’t build a lasting relationship with looks alone. You are probably feeling a great deal of attraction, even though you don’t know much about him. I would be very cautious if I were you because you’re dealing with a lot of emotion and fantasy, and not a lot of reality.
You’re most ly living off of the thoughts about “how great it would be to have this person love me and care for me” and the emotional high when he begins to show signs he really cares for you.
Over time, you’ll find a whole lot more of who he really is, not what you dream he is.
While it’s difficult to do, you need to slow down your emotions. It’s a very confusing time, and you might be tempted to say or do things you will later regret. Get to know him as a friend, and let him get to know you.
In this situation, time is one of your best friends, because over time, you’ll find a whole lot more of who he really is, not what you dream he is. You will be able to make a better decision about whether or not to get more involved with him at that point. In this case, let your head tell you how to act, as opposed to your emotions.
I hear from a lot of people who are struggling with a broken-heart. Some of my most read blogs are about getting over a broken-heart. Not every broken-heart is avoidable, but the two questions I was asked above point to ways to protect yourself. Don’t jump in too fast and beware of secrets.
Relationship decisions are a big deal. That’s why I am asked so many questions about them. So I would always encourage you to pray to God about any relationship you are entering, especially if you have some concerns. Ask God if this is what he really desires for you.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
God wants the best for you. So ask him to help you make the best decisions with your relationships.
Photo Credit: Kristina Flour