Privacy issues

So, my boyfriend and I have very different ideas of privacy in a relationship. I believe that everything should be put out there. Him, not so much. We often have issues with me going through his phone and facebook. The thing is, I’ve found things on there that aren’t okay. I found him flirting with another girl. Serious flirting. Borderline cheating. Because of this, I feel that I should have the right to go through his things. He broke my trust, and that, I think, gives me a pretty good reason to snoop. That was a while ago, so trust has, for the most part, been re-established. Now, I just like seeing what he’s talking about. At this point, it’s not even about trust anymore. I’m just honestly curious. He refuses to believe that though. He freaks anytime I even hold his phone, which just makes me paranoid. I usually end up looking anyway, and nothing’s there, which makes me wonder why he’s freaking. I’ve always been completely open with him and have nothing to hide. He has full access to my accounts/phone if he would ever want it, and I just wish he would give me the same courtesy, especially considering past incidences. Advice?

21 thoughts on “Privacy issues

  1. MargieCharles says:

    [Honestly, I would be super pissed if I were your boyfriend.

    I was once in a relationship where the guy demanded access to all of my personal things. He wanted full access to my phone, my computer, my email, and any social networking sites. And I gave it to him, because he made me feel like I was keeping secrets if I didn’t. It was horribly unhealthy, and a bad relationship. Now it’s just ingrained in me to get antsy when people go through my things. I hate when people go through my phone or my computer, and I think it’s because I remember the nightmare that was my over-possessive, snooping boyfriend.

    Either you trust your boyfriend or you don’t. And it sounds like you don’t. He may have made some mistakes in the past, but if you want to continue this relationship you HAVE to get over them. It’s perfectly all right if you decide that you can’t get over them, but living in this relationship where you force your boyfriend to give into your no-boundaries rules is not going to work. You need to learn to trust your boyfriend in healthy ways, and not base your trust upon an absence of incriminating evidence when you’re snooping.

  2. Dennis Hong says:

    [Ugh, this is a tough one. While I do understand on some level why you want access to his phone and Facebook, I honestly believe that certain things really do need to be kept private. I’ve *never* shared a password with a girlfriend. I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea, and it has nothing to do with me wanting to hide stuff from her.

    If your underlying issue is trust, to be blunt, I don’t think gaining access to his personal stuff is necessarily going to help. I know that you say you’re just curious, but… can I ask why? Why does it matter?

    I dunno. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy, but I’m inclined to side with your boyfriend here. I think you two need to work on your trust issues in other ways. But, to me, accessing his Facebook and phone are only band-aid solutions. They do nothing to fix the actual issue between you both.

    Did you ever watch Friends? Because if you did, then I just thought of a perfect storyline. Remember when Ross said Rachel’s name at the altar, and Emily ended up getting insanely jealous (and rightfully so)? Remember the question that he ended up confronting her with? It went something like this:

    “Look, you’re never going to be able to know where I am or what I’m doing 24 hours a day. So, you have to ask yourself, can you trust me?”

    I think that says it all. You’ll never be able to truly gain access to every part of his private life. So, can you trust him?

  3. Metacognition says:

    [I’ll be honest with you, finding out you were right doesn’t justify your actions beforehand. I’ve had women cheat on me in the past and I had to go to some crazy extremes to find out, but that doesn’t make my actions right. Doesn’t matter if you found naked pictures of other girls on his phone, if he didn’t want you looking through it, then YOU broke his trust as much as he was breaking yours.

    I’m not excusing him, by the way. If he wanted to be in a relationship with you and him seriously flirting with other women wasn’t something you were okay with, then he shouldn’t have been doing it.

    I don’t think you’ll like hearing it, but it sounds like you’ve got some serious trust issues yourself. As I’ve said before and as Dennis said earlier, you’ll never know every detail about the other person and their life. You know he’s not the type of guy that opens up about everything and you’ll have to accept that. You’re not accepting that if you feel the need to check up on him and what he’s been doing via his phone, even out of curiosity.
    Sorry, not trying to be mean about it.

  4. Kier says:

    [“Borderline cheating. Because of this, I feel that I should have the right to go through his things.”

    If you really trust him 100% this wouldn’t be your justification. You say you’ve found inappropriate things, but now when you look there’s nothing there. If that’s the case, don’t you think that he’s learned from his previous mistake?

    You say it’s been a while since then. How long? A week? A month? A year? Depending on the time frame, that drastically changes the situation.

    To those that said she should break up with him, I read this more as a problem she was having in an otherwise healthy relationship. It didn’t really seem like ending things was even a consideration she was making: she just wanted to fix the problem. If it was just flirting and not cheating, and he doesn’t do it anymore, that shouldn’t necessarily be the death knell for your relationship.

    Talk to him and instead of insisting that you be allowed to look through his things, ask him why he doesn’t want you to. I he won’t answer, it’s probably because he’s hiding something. If he tells you he isn’t hiding anything but it’s just a matter of personal space, I’d take him at his word, especially if he hasn’t done anything wrong since the first incident. Or maybe he sees it as you still not trusting him since the first incident. That’s also a possibility.

  5. Missy says:

    [These sound like unhealthy boundaries, to me. I know, because I’ve been there. Why did you start going through his phone and facebook account in the first place? Have you had trust issues in past relationships? I’ve gotta tell you, without trust, you’ve got nothing. I know you say that trust has been built back up, but make sure that you are behind that statement 100% or it will continue being an issue.

  6. Laurel says:

    [I understand completely what you mean about the curiosity thing. I have my boyfriend’s facebook password (which he gave me) and I like to read his facebook occasionally. It’s not because I don’t trust him. It’s just that I’m curious. He has access to my facebook as well. Same deal with our phones. We keep our email accounts private, which I am fine with (and prefer) because those are the boundaries we’re both happy with.

    I think there are two issues going on with you and your bf. First, you have naturally different boundaries about openness/privacy. This doesn’t mean either of you is “wrong” about how much to share, just that you are comfortable with different levels. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, if it weren’t for issue #2, which is that you don’t trust him. You sensed something was up the first time, and you found (inappropriate levels of) flirting. Now you mention that he freaks out when you touch his phone. Is it really *only* innocent curiosity that makes you want to read his private stuff? If it is, you should be able to openly ask him. But given how you’ve said he responds, I really think you might be better off just starting over with someone who 1) has boundaries closer to your own and, 2) hasn’t already broken your trust.

  7. theattack says:

    [This is what I hear you saying: You have two different ideas of privacy. You feel you have the right to look at his stuff.

    My thoughts: Why is your desire to look at his stuff more important than his desire to keep a separate space? There isn’t a right or wrong level of privacy in a relationship, so I’m sure you could agree that without the previous breach of your trust, you wouldn’t have more of a right to your way than he does.

    So about the trust: If your trust had truly been built back, you wouldn’t be using his “almost cheating” incident to justify defaulting to your privacy preferences. I think you should reevaluate if you truly do trust him 100% now. Do you think you can ever completely trust him? Sorry, but I’m just not convinced that you aren’t looking for something on some level.

  8. DavidIsGreat says:

    [Yeah, you kinda don’t have the right to go thru anything if he doesn’t want you to. You should have the same right too.

    That being said, he might be hiding something or he might be hiding nothing. My wife goes thru my stuff because of probably the same inexplicable reasons you do. I let her because that’s our relationship and my decision. I don’t feel like I’ve got anything to hide but I don’t want to have my files rifled thru all the same. So I have nothing to hide, and I do. She trusts me but still wants to look feeling that if I didn’t, I’m hiding something. So she trusts me, and she doesn’t.

    Does this make sense? We’re both hypocritical, sure. We both trust and at the same time don’t. That sounds like your situation a little.

    You Either need to get him to share it because he says it’s okay, or need to trust him if he won’t. There are more options like snooping but then you are the one who isn’t trustworthy.


  9. Solstice says:

    [Did he break your trust and that led you to snoop? Or did you snoop and uncover those things? Either way, it’s not good. I had friends who had similar trust issues and were always looking through each other’s phones and emails. It didn’t end well.

    I wouldn’t share my passwords with a boyfriend, and possibly not even my husband, because some things should be kept private. But with my current boyfriend, I also have felt no desire to look through his phone or emails. But he’s not the flirty type, and doesn’t have any close girl friends that he hangs out with. If he did, then maybe I would have the urge to do that. However, I feel that to make a relationship truly work, you both need to trust each other and not be snooping around. Nothing good can come of it.

  10. Maracuya says:

    [Sounds like you looked through his phone initially because you sensed something was up, and found proof. Do you still feel like you need to look though his stuff out of ‘curiosity’? I myself am more of an open type of person, but even so I don’t share password to my personal email and facebook. Even if you are, I think you have to respect your boyfriends boundaries. If I were him I would interpret checking his phone and facebook all the time as not trusting him.

  11. EricaSwagger says:

    [This isn’t that tough. You’ve said some really crazy, borderline pathetic things.

    Mainly this chunk: “We often have issues with me going through his phone and facebook. The thing is, I’ve found things on there that aren’t okay. I found him flirting with another girl. Serious flirting. Borderline cheating. Because of this, I feel that I should have the right to go through his things.”

    Um, wow. You never EVER have the “right” to go through someone else’s stuff. (Unless you’re a cop with a search warrant.) Obviously, a lot of people do it, and if they don’t find anything, that’s the end of the snooping. But you DID find something, and not only did it bother you, you continue to snoop and look for stuff. Your boyfriend has every right to be annoyed that you are constantly snooping through his stuff. It’s rude and disrespectful to him and to your relationship. If he asked you not to snoop, either you trust him and don’t snoop, or you don’t trust him, and you break up. Clearly this relationship is doomed. There is no trust. You think that he’s betraying your trust by not letting you look at his personal conversations, but really you’re betraying his by not believing him and not respecting him, etc.

    If you really can’t go without looking into your boyfriend’s private life, you need to get over him and move on. I suspect he’ll eventually get sick of you anyway for freaking out when he doesn’t let you hold his phone.

    And hey. If he doesn’t want you looking through his stuff, maybe there’s a good reason to move on. Maybe he IS cheating on you. Who knows… He could be having a second relationship and just deleting all the texts before he gets home to you.

    Either way. Get out of this relationship because it’s not good for anybody involved.

  12. resullins says:

    [Ahhh… this is a toughie, I’ve been there, done that.

    A. Yes, there should be no secrets between couples.
    B. You’ll NEVER truly know if there are secrets without looking for them.
    C. If you find them, there really is no course of action that’s going to get desirable results.

    If you find the things you’re looking for, you may feel justified, but it’s only going to make you want to look more. I completely understand where you are.

    And honestly, my guess as to why he freaks out is because he IS doing something you don’t like, but is trying to cover his tracks. But he still has the guilty conscious.

    Wait for a long time without doing ANYTHING. Don’t touch his phone, don’t talk about it, don’t even be alone in the same room with it. The longer the better. And then look. If you find something, GET OUT. If you don’t, trust that he has changed and leave it alone forever.

  13. Emily Rose says:

    [I do trust him. I’ve been trying to explain my curiosity, and I find that I keep deleting the explanation halfway through. I really don’t know. I just like knowing what he’s up to.

  14. Bonita says:

    [I know EXACTLY what you are going through. And in case you were wondering: you ARE NOT crazy! The over-protectiveness of the phone begets the obsessive curiosity about its contents. I had this issue with my ex-husband. From the gate he was always super crazy protective of his phone, which was odd to me because I had never seen anyone act that way. I am more open than most, but honestly anyone could go through my phone and I wouldn’t bat an eyelash. After ex’s affair number 2 I would actively snoop, but he was a master of hiding everything anyways.

    I believe that if you suspect something sketchy is going on with him, you are probably right. But you should know that the phone obsession doesn’t transfer. No one I have dated since has had to suffer the wrath of my obsessive curiosity.

  15. Mark says:

    [I dont know you so i can only base it on what you’ve told me. But it seems like you do still have trust issues with him. If all you wanted to do was know what he was talking about out of curiosity, you’d just ask him, and if he doesn’t want you on his stuff you’d respect that. Why would you cause so much conflict if it was just curiosity?

  16. LMcMack says:

    [Everyone is entitled to privacy. And if you violate the trust of that privacy, be prepared to find things you wish you hadn’t.

  17. ebees says:

    [I’m not doing anything wrong but I still definitely don’t want my boyfriend going through my private conversations and computer history. My relationships with other people are separate from my relationship with him. My friends might tell me secrets that he isn’t automatically privy to. We might joke about something that would offend him because he doesn’t understand. I also don’t necessarily want him to look at my browser history and see that I spent the better part of an hour Facebook stalking his ex-girlfriend or the title of every porn I’ve ever clicked on. This isn’t because I’m actively hiding things, but I prefer some things to remain my own, and that’s my right. You don’t have a “right” to snoop, but you do have a right to be in a relationship with mutual trust that is respectful of each other’s boundaries–boundaries of exclusivity AND privacy. If you can’t have that in this relationship, it probably doesn’t have staying power.

    Also, if he knows you’re snooping, I’m sure he’s deleting everything of interest anyway. If an innocent-seeming inbox is the only reason for your renewed trust, I’d rethink that.

  18. Viv says:

    [I will say…I don’t know what you mean by “borderline cheating.” Mostly because cheating has to be defined by the people in the relationship. But could it be possible that you both had not had the conversation yet and therefore did not have the same definition of how far flirting could go before it was cheating or borderline cheating or unacceptable? And if that’s the case, can you really say that he “screwed up”?

    The thing is, from his perspective, he might be feeling like because he crossed a line before he knew about you, which by the way, you found out about by violating his privacy in the first place, he can’t trust YOU to keep out of his stuff. Maybe you’re right and it’s not about your lack of trust in him anymore…but the fact is, you’re still nosy–hey, I get it. I’m nosy too. 😀 And it’s possible that he might not be hiding anything, but rather just protecting his bubble because he feels like you’re not giving him space.

    OR you could be right and he’s hiding something. In either case, it’s something you two have to talk out and work through. If it’s the first scenario, you will have to work out a balance between your desire to know everything that’s happening around you and his desire for some private space. If it’s the second…well, talking it out might help you get some kind of vibe or gut feeling to support or not support your suspicions, which will help you decide whether you can or can’t trust him.

  19. Dave Jag says:

    [I’m all about total honesty with your partner, but I wouldn’t expect a partner to share passwords and such with me until we were extremely serious, as in engaged (with a ring & a date) or married. Once your relationship reaches that level, the two of you literally agree to become one (in the legal AND spiritual sense) and you begin to own stuff together and only worry only about your collective privacy.

    For example, my wife has all my passwords & PIN numbers simply because if anything should happen to me, she would need them. One adjustment we DID have to make was to get rid of our personal Facebook pages and just share one account. Facebook is quite destructive for reasons I’m SURE we’ll discuss in a future post, but I suggest the same for all married couples.

  20. Rachyl says:

    [A couple of weeks ago, my (then) best friend (who we will now refer to as “stupid”) took my phone so that he could get some #s of people to try and plan a surprise party for my birthday. What stupid got was a smack in the face from texts he read, pics he saw and my hand going across it when I finally retrieved my phone. After that, I would lock down my cell whenever we planned on meeting up. When stupid saw this, the rude and disgusting comments would come out. “Hiding your lingerie pics from me but will send them out to everyone else?” (uuuhhhh…. yah! you’re not my bf so why would I give those to anyone else?) “oh? did you just send out a text in search of a booty call for tonight?” (no…. I just replied to my son about how much I love and miss him but thanks for putting the idea in my head!) I know that stupid was trying to do something nice for my 30th by getting all my close friends together but trust was broken when stupid went past searching for numbers and dove deeper into the rabbit hole. Besides, stupid has my bfs’ # so why couldn’t stupid call my bf to work stuff out instead of being shady?

    Long story short, If you want to know what is going on, ask them to show you instead of being all shady. “I would of never of known about _____ if I didn’t break their trust and went snooping around on their computer/facebook/cell/whatever.” is what I hear in the end, no matter how hard you try to justify it. If you really have a bad feeling in your gut, confront them FACE TO FACE and sometimes without warning is best (this is so they don’t start deleting naughty pics ahead of time if they are doing something wrong but then why are you still with them?).

    Flirting on facebook is now equivalent to flirting in a bar; as long as you know your boundaries and respect your partner when they’re not around, it’s just a fun ego boost which may actually help your current relationship. “Their flirting behind my back on FB!” Well, I’m sure you have flirted with someone in person when your Signify wasn’t around. Like I said, it’s all about boundaries and respect. I have been on both sides of this arrangement and what I have learned is that some things NEED to be private (such as bathroom time) and assuming is DEFINITELY going to make an ass out of you more than me. Just COMMUNICATE and respect their choice in the end.

  21. Kelly says:

    [If you’ve discovered things you don’t like you have the right to break up with him. You can request anything else you want, passwords, access to his phone, etc but you can’t make him comply. If you want a bf who allows that then you’ll obviously have to find someone new.

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