Should You Monitor Your Boyfriend’s Online Activities?
|Sam Stieler • 9/04/12|
If your boyfriend spends a lot of his time online, you’re welcome to feel a little worried. The Internet provides tons of opportunities for activities that could threaten your relationship, and the fact that he’d rather spend a whole lot of his time online instead of with you or with others he cares about may be a big warning sign about what sort of man he is.
Not every online activity is cause for concern, but there are a few points you need to keep in mind when determining whether your boyfriend is acting inappropriately on the Internet or not.
Context matters: Where is he going?
If you’re concerned about your boyfriend’s online activities, there’s a good chance you’re worried he’s engaging in, or at least looking for, relationships with other women. How seriously you take these concerns depends a lot on where he’s spending his time online.
If he’s hanging out on a lot of message boards dedicated to obscure, male-dominated, extremely-geeky interests, then you probably shouldn’t worry. DIY video game system forums aren’t known for fostering affairs.
If he’s spending a truly inordinate amount of time on social networking sites, then you have greater cause for concern. While Facebook and its cousins aren’t devoted to matchmaking, lots of people meet or deepen their connections using these sites.
Finally, if he’s spending a lot of time on a mixed-use social networking website with a dating emphasis, like OKCupid, then you’re justified in asking him some serious questions.
“As long as your boyfriend’s habits aren’t threatening your
relationship, then let your boyfriend do whatever he wants.”
Is online flirting inappropriate?
Some people will disagree that there’s something wrong with your boyfriend spending time meeting people on a website like OKCupid. These people will argue that there’s nothing wrong with a little harmless flirting.
And overall, I agree — there really isn’t anything wrong with sharing a little verbal fun with other attractive women when you’re in a relationship.
The thing is, I define “a little harmless flirting” as randomly meeting someone you feel a connection with and verbally playing with that connection for a short period of time.
Actively putting yourself in a position to meet new, attractive single people so you can seek a connection with them in a space where they’re looking to meet other singles is not “a little harmless flirting.”
The porn question.
Aside from cheating fears, the second big concern women feel about their boyfriend’s online activities revolves around pornography. Should you worry about your boyfriend’s porn consumption?
If your boyfriend spends a lot of time watching porn (hours a day), or if his porn use interferes with his work or social life, then you should worry. If your boyfriend watches illegal pornography, then you should worry, and you should probably alert the authorities.
Otherwise, you don’t have a lot to worry about if your boyfriend likes porn. Most women’s boyfriends like porn. It’s normal, it’s natural, and you might find you like porn too if you open your mind to it and watch it with him.
If your boyfriend’s into porn that depicts certain healthy sex acts the two of you don’t share, and if you’re interested in those acts, rather than worrying about the implications of his erotic hard wiring, use his pornographic interests as a jumping off point for exploring new avenues in your sex life.
Overall, as long as your boyfriend’s Internet habits aren’t actively threatening your relationship, and as long as his habits aren’t actively interfering with your ability to share a happy, healthy social life, then you really should let your boyfriend do whatever he wants online without scrutiny.