Since 2009, Spill has provided a safe space online for students to share their struggles and receive peer support. This means that students can write about absolutely anything they want to vent about. And not only are spills about romantic relationships in the top 5 most frequently written about categories, but they also encompass more than 50% of the spill content generated by college students.
It’s not that people are writing about things like what to wear on a first date, or how and when to make the first move or how to figure out whether your crush likes you or not. Not to diminish those things, but some of the things people write about go much deeper than that – they relate to things like:
-deciding whether or not to pursue or remain in a long distance relationship
– whether to stay in a relationship for the summer
-how to manage an intercultural relationship
-how to move on from a break up
-and more…the list goes on.
In today’s digitally focused world, it’s not all that surprising then that some people are confused about what’s okay and what’s not okay in the online space regarding romantic relationships. What if someone’s partner views pornography or goes into chat rooms, or look at photos of other people, spillers ask? These types of issues aren’t necessarily new.
Things like the wandering eye, being overly flirtatious with others, and jealousy have been around forever, but it seems as though now it’s easier for our partners to be secretive about some of their habits. And perhaps this is what makes it difficult for so many people: to feel like they’re being kept in the dark and wonder if that makes certain situations wrong or unacceptable in the relationship.
These things can be confusing. After all, people wonder, is emotional cheating acceptable? And what does emotional cheating account for? If your partner isn’t physically hooking up with someone else, what’s acceptable, and what’s not?
Before you go ahead and break up with that person, you might want to ask yourself some questions to get to the bottom of it. Every couple is unique, and it’s a matter of figuring out what you are comfortable with, and sharing that with your partner. Try asking yourself some of the following questions to help you figure out what’s right and not right for you:
Do your partner’s actions make you uncomfortable?
Have you been able to communicate enough that you feel understood by your partner?
Do you feel safe to express your thoughts and feelings with your partner?
Will you be able to trust your partner again?
Would it make you happy to stay with your partner? To leave your partner? To take a break from your partner?
How has your partner responded to you sharing your thoughts and feelings?
What has your partner learned from this experience, and what have you learned from this?
Above all, be true to yourself.
Best of luck if you are ever faced with a situation like this! And if you do have thoughts or opinions to share, please feel free to share your experiences and insights in the comments section below.
College girl and computer photo available from Shutterstock.