Friday, September 21, 2018

Instagram Access Denied: Prioritizing Privacy in Relationships

Based on the title of this post, you're probably expecting a list of reasons why you shouldn't give your significant other the password to your phone. Well, this is not what you think it is.

Remember that friend I talked about last week who advised me not to lower my standards on what I wanted in a man? Well, that friend had some more great advice. It can be summarized in a quote I’ve seen floating around social media for several months now: “I am not accessible to everyone, and that is my power.” I’m not sure who coined that phrase, but it’s definitely a mantra to live by. My friend not only told me not to settle based on looks, she also said that even after I choose someone to date exclusively, I am under no obligation to make it “Facebook official”...and she provided concrete evidence to support her reasoning.

Image source: Ambition Magazine

See, my friend and her boyfriend are a fairly new item. She’s a very private person to begin with, so only her closest friends and family know that she’s dating. She said that all her friends are already asking her when she’s going to move into his place, and they raise an eyebrow when she tells them she’s not posting him on her Instagram. This, of course, seemed against the grain to me, too, especially in the digital age where everyone uses Instagram to display their highlight reels. Naturally, I wondered, So...he’s not a highlight? Still, I listened.

She explained that she doesn’t believe in shacking up because it would be an unnecessary temptation for her flesh. She said, “I love Jesus, but I’m human. If I’m attracted to a guy and I move in with him, that’s too close for comfort.” I agree 100% , but it was the next thing she said that really piqued my interest. She said that until engagement, she had no plans to post her boyfriend on social media because, in her words, “Until he puts a ring on it, he has no right to access that part of my life.” That really resonated with me, mostly because I’d never thought about it like that. I’ve always heard the saying, “A private life is a happy life,” but this was next level. As if she was reading my mind, she answered the question I had earlier. She explained, “It’s not that he’s not a highlight in my life, it’s just that people on social media love to be in your business. Besides, what if they say, ‘Oh, y’all are so cute together?’ What if they tell us we’re ‘relationship goals’? I might, consciously or subconsciously, start to idolize him. Then, what if the relationship goes downhill? What if he’s the best boyfriend ever on Instagram, but behind closed doors, he’s disrespecting me? I don’t want to feel obligated to stay with him to keep up appearances if it’s not what it looks like.” 

I was floored. This had never crossed my mind before, mostly because I’ve never been in a relationship, but also because before this conversation, I looked forward to the day I’d be able to post cute pictures of myself and my boyfriend on social media (I’m a hopeless romantic and a millennial. Don’t judge me!). Anyway, I was struck by the validity of her statements. She said that in her mind, being featured on her Instagram is a husband privilege...and we all know what the church says about giving husband privileges to boyfriends. She closed with this, “Honey, men are hunters. We as women need to let them hunt! If they don’t have anything to chase after or look forward to, there’s no point. Make them work.” When she finished, I wanted to take up an offering. What a word!

Later that day, I met her boyfriend. Not only is he about the Father’s business, but he pursues her with intentionality and treats her like she’s a treasure. Her method must be working, because that’s Proverbs 18:22. Our conversation left me so inspired. I’ve often said I’ll be married and pregnant and nobody will know until we post the baby pictures. It used to be a running joke, but I might be taking it a little more seriously now. *takes notes*

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