Privacy is important when it comes to relationships, and everyone has boundaries. Whether that's the need to spend some time apart every now and then, or expecting privacy when it comes to technology and devices. But still, there's a difference between wanting some privacy when you talk to your mom on the phone, and being super protective and secretive about what you're doing on your phone all the time. That said, if your partner is super territorial over their phone, experts agree that might be more than a little suspicious.
It's worth mentioning that trust, in itself, can be hard to achieve. It doesn't usually blossom overnight, and once it's broken, it can be hard to get back. Of course you want to trust that everything your partner does on their phone is totally appropriate and not at all concerning. But if they've given you cause for concern, your feelings (as always) are worth exploring.
When it comes to one partner hiding their phone from another, it's not all black and white. A lot of it depends on how long the two of you have been together. "In the beginning of relationship, there is not expectancy of commitment yet," Dawn Maslar, love biologist, tells Elite Daily. "So hiding one's phone can be respectful. However, once a couple moves into a committed relationship, the expectancy is toward openness. At that point, hiding may indicate that he or she has something they don’t want the other to see because they might become upset."
At that point in the relationship, "The question becomes: Is this done out of fear or distrust?" Maslar says, of a partner hiding their phone. "In other words, is the other afraid of getting caught doing something wrong, or have they had issues in the past where another partner was overly jealous?" There are two sides to every story, and it's important not to automatically assume your partner is up to something sketchy if they're territorial over their phone.
However, Maslar says that jealousy is a normal part of the relationship progression. "The question is: Does trust overcome it?" Can you trust your partner that whatever they're doing is OK? If you continue to stress about it as time goes on, Maslar says it might be worth discussing.
"If you are the one that suspects an issue, you might want to have a conversation," she advises. "Instead of trying to 'catch' them, simply state, 'I noticed that you seem to be hiding your phone, am I reading that right?' At that point, they maybe either open up or make an excuse. In any event, the issue is out in the open. What happens next will usually either build trust or more suspicion."
Again, a partner being territorial over their phone doesn't always mean that they're hiding something, although that's certainly a possibility. "Someone could be completely innocent of any wrongdoing to the relationship, and at the same time and be receiving text messages from friends and family that they don’t necessarily want to share with their partner," John Keegan, dating coach, tells Elite Daily. "Some things are just private. However, sometimes something is actually going on."
As both Keegan and Maslar advise, the best thing to do in this situation is to talk it out with your partner. They may be hiding something, they might have trust issues from a previous relationship, or it might honestly be nothing! Maybe they're planning you a surprise party, for all you know. But the only way to know what's really going on is to discuss the issue at hand, openly and honestly.