Romantic relationships are often accompanied by a lot of changes.

You have to figure out how to incorporate another person into your life, your communication skills go through a pretty intense boot camp and most importantly, you have to learn a whole new set of phone etiquette.

If your S.O.’s phone rings, but they’re in another room, do you answer it? If you see a message pop up and you know they’re waiting for a text, do you read it and convey the information?

While we might not be able to guide you in all the nuances of interacting with your S.O.’s mobile device, there’s one thing we know for certain—it’s never okay to go through your S.O.’s phone. Keep scrolling to see why.

It’s an Invasion of Privacy

First and foremost, going through your S.O.’s phone is a massive invasion of privacy. Although being in a romantic relationship gives you a very unique and close connection to the person you’re dating, it doesn’t mean you suddenly merge into one entity. You’re both still your own people who need to maintain your independence. If your S.O. chooses to share every detail with of their life with you, that’s awesome, but you’re not entitled to all their private happenings just because you’re dating them. Going through their phone shows that you don’t value their freedom or autonomy, which is definitely not the makings of a successful relationship and is sure to cause more problems down the line.

Dan and Sierra texting Jamey in Sierra Burgess Is a Loser

(Sierra Burgess Is a Loser via Netflix)


It’s Always a Matter of Trust

As much as you might claim that going through your S.O.’s phone isn’t an indication of how much you trust them, you’re wrong. It’s always a matter of trust. After all, if you had nothing to be afraid of why would you even think to flip through their private conversations? It might be that you don’t trust your S.O. or it might be that you’ve internalized trust issues that have nothing to do with your partner.

Whatever the case may be, going through your S.O.’s phone shows a real lack of confidence in your relationship. And if you’re having trust issues, going through their phone won’t fix the underlying problem. Instead of giving into the often-unfulfilling desire to violate their privacy, examine what’s making you so worried that you want to flip through their phone. It will be much healthier for your relationship in the long run.

It Blurs Boundaries in Your Relationship

All good relationships have boundaries—aka certain standards and expectations for your behavior in the relationship. For example, not cheating when you’re exclusively dating someone would be a pretty clear boundary. A less-clear boundary that all relationships negotiate differently is autonomy. Autonomy is basically the amount of independence and freedom you give your partner. Since you’re not your partner’s parent, ideally you should both be at liberty to make your own decisions in the relationship. Anything less than that can create some pretty controlling, manipulative and toxic partnerships.

But here’s the thing: Going through your S.O.’s phone blurs those boundaries. Once you’ve violated their independence in that way, who’s to stop them from demanding that you cancel your next girls night to stay home and watch Netflix? What’s keeping them from returning the behavior and going through private messages from your family? Once you open the door into that kind of controlling situation, you’re creating a space where toxic behaviors can grow unhinged. If you want autonomy and respect, you also have to give it in return, so don’t sacrifice your own freedom by going through your partner’s phone.

Zoey looking at her phone with a concerned expression on an episode of Freeform's Grown-ish

(Grown-ish via Freeform)


It Makes You Look Bad

No matter how your snooping might pan out, looking through your S.O.’s phone always makes you look bad. It indicates that you don’t care much about their feelings, suggests that you have insecurity and jealousy issues and shows that your communication skills are probably lacking. Most importantly, however, it proves that you’re not trustworthy. Whether you find something incriminating or not, you’ve now shown your partner that you can’t be trusted to respect their personal boundaries. They’ll constantly worry about leaving their phone in the same room as you and may even wonder what other aspects of their life you might be poking around in. In your effort to verify your trust with your partner, you’ve now ruined their ability to put their faith in you, which might just ruin your relationship.

It Feeds Your Paranoia

While we’re already covered the ways that snooping through your S.O.’s phone can be bad for your relationship and for the person you care about, it can also be really unhealthy on a personal level. Oftentimes, the desire to go through someone’s phone does stem from a feeling of insecurity or some deeply ingrained trust issues. Giving into that desire won’t make you feel better. In fact, it will only feed your paranoia.

Once you go through their phone once, you’ll want to keep doing it again and again. There’s a certain satisfaction to satiating your curiosities and knowing you can get away with it. Eventually, their phone won’t be enough, and you’ll be trying to hack into their computer or read their private journal. Giving into a desire to snoop will only reinforce your impulse to keep doing it, setting you down a very dark path, both personally and within your relationship. If no other reason sticks with you, don’t go through your S.O.’s phone simply because it’s bad for you, which should be reason enough.

Pretty Little Liars: Aria looking at her phone worried

(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)


On the hunt for more romantic advice? Click HERE for how to stop being jealous in a relationship.