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Navigating the Digital World When in a Committed Relationship


First off, full disclosure moment: I’ve been off of social media for 5 years. Not one click. OK, I guess my blog is social media, but you understand my point.

No TikkingToks

No Snapping Chats

No Books of Faces

No Grams of Insta

No Tubes of You


This choice was not some moral conquest where I stand from my holier than thou mountaintop and judge others. It was simply a choice due the amount of time I was allowing myself to get sucked into the noise and dark holes scrolling. My brain needed a break.

In 2017, started with the commitment of a week off of social media and never looked back.

One more item of transparency. To know all of me, you would know I’m more like Jennifer Lawrence’s character from Silver Linings Playbook than any other character I’ve viewed on the big screen. Her grit, her in your face manner of speech and overall poor boundaries was my young Jenny self; Jen in the making.

I love all parts of myself and embrace who I was as she is still authentically me. Because of these patterns of behavior, I became addicted to social media and although sober from alcohol and other unbecoming vices I had dipped too deeply into cyber space and I was losing myself in the process.

When I scrolled through, my body and mind had the same feeling as if I had just taken a shot. The slow burn was the scrolling. I was hooked. A thousand clicks were never enough and one was too many.


I had jumped off social media when Trump was first running for president. I found it to be too decisive and politically charged then. Although I've been grounded on planet earth, my imagination allows me to understand what cyber space must be like today.

With cyber space, up is down and down is up. What I mean by this is behavior that we would not do outside of a click, we are more likely to do online. Whether it’s bullying or basking, it’s easier to be someone we are not from behind a screen.


I am acquainted with the old adage, “I’m married but not blind.” Which basically means that, even as a married person, you can identify someone as nice looking. Granted this neutral notice may be harmless but when online deep diving into their social space it can cross the line into violation to any committed relationship.

I tend to be very tight with my boundaries. When my husband and I first got to know each other in 2001 we discussed boundaries. We talked about boundaries before they were popular.

My husband was much more conservative with them than I was and I often rolled my eyes (think Silver Linings) as I didn’t see the big deal with a harmless interaction with a male peer while in between classes. Yes, I had lunch with him. But I was powerless, he came and sat with me. What did soon-to-be-Hubs want me to do?

Turns out, he wanted me to set a verbal boundary. Ask this male peer to sit elsewhere. And if he didn’t move from the table, soon-to-be-Hubs requested that I should set a physical boundary and move away.

To say I felt controlled is an understatement.

Who did he think he was?

It’s my body.

I can choose.

I can sit with whoever the hell I wanted. Period.

Then he said something that still rings in my ears today, “Jen, if a woman sat at my table, would you want me to engage with her? Talk to her? Laugh with her?”

Hell to the no.

But that was different. 


How it was different I wasn’t able to quite put my finger on at that moment. But I was convinced at that time that it was. 

22 years later, we both now hold those boundaries.

I remember when I began doing marketing for One By One. Hubs and I adhered to the boundary that we don’t drive in vehicles or take rides from the opposite sex. As I dipped my feet into the business development world, I made my boundaries known far and wide.

I got criticism from more than one person. 

“Jen, that’s rigid. It’s work. It’s not a date.”

“Good luck making it in this world without ever being alone with a man.”

“Ummm… Jen, that’s not how it works.”

But would you believe that even though it’s “not” a date, it sure would feel close to one.


Being alone

Riding in a vehicle together

And screaming my boundaries from My mountaintop did work for me. Because I never shifted my standards not because my husband controlled me into them, but because I finally understood that me doing this allowed me to show him that our marriage was special and sacred to me. We honored one another and it showed in our conduct. 

Interestingly enough, the people I connected the most with in the space of marketing held the same boundaries that I did. They honored their committed relationships the same. So when I set my boundaries, it was an easy connection. Business was handled much more efficiently and effortlessly because we were on the same page.


Now to tackle online boundaries.

The same idea of physical boundaries: if you wouldn’t do it in the light, don’t do it in the dark.

Meaning, if you wouldn’t do something in the light of day (in person) then don’t do it in the dark (on the web late at night).

I work with many women whose marriages began to unravel due to an “innocent” online discussion. Through various communication platforms, things got sideways fast.

Leaning on or turning to anyone outside of your commuted relationship can quickly turn into an emotional affair. 

I also don’t believe that married people should turn to friends or loved ones in this way either.

When facing a relationship crisis, go for drive. Take a bath. Do your nails and watch a Disney movie. Do not call your sister, mom, best friend (or all three) to relationship trauma dump. It's not fair to the relationship or to them.

I don’t believe that women should dump things on their mothers. Once you leave the nest, it’s not appropriate for these relationships to con