In your ideal relationship, do you hope you and your partner will tell each other everything?
Chances are, yeah...you do.
In talking with other men and women, I have noticed the trend that many have begun to believe that intimacy means we should be able to tell our partners anything and that we have a right to know everything about their behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. "Where did you go? Who did you see? What are you thinking right now?"
We feel entitled to know all these things immediately and constantly.
The result is that a lot of us confuse being close to someone with something more dangerous... relationship surveillance. In fact, that desire to know every detail about your partner's life provides a false sense of security.
We think, "If we were truly close, then they'd tell me everything." What actually happens is that you have all this info about your partner, but that does not necessarily give you true insight into him or her. Small things ( liking someone's post, friending, responding or not responding to a picture) can take on a much bigger, unintended meaning. We are bombarded with these surveillance options through social media, and we don't know what is important or not important anymore. That has made many of us afraid of letting our partner have any privacy. When we're afraid of letting things be personal to our partner, we get the urge to snoop, usually on their phones.
When you get that itch, first consider how you would feel if he or she read your texts or diary or rifled through your bag. It's remarkable how well we can justify doing it to others. If I do it to you, it's because you acted weird today. If you do it to me, you're a creep.
Ask yourself...What am I looking to find, and if I find it, what then?
Whenever you go looking, you're going to find something that you're not happy with, whether it is a serious issue or not. The bottom line is that snooping doesn't work! It doesn't give you what you really want and deserve to have... the feeling that your partner is loyal, that he/she isn't going to hurt you, that they value you.
Snooping doesn't give you the trust and security you're looking for. It only fuels your fears.
Say you get the urge to snoop because your partner is being distant or you think they are emailing with an ex or liking other man/woman's pictures on FB. If you say to them, "I know you've been doing such and such," they are going to be pissed off about the snooping, and your conversation is going to be about that and not about your concerns. Take a moment to think; is your suspicion coming from what you know about their behavior or what you know about yourself and how YOU really act and what YOU are really doing?? Could it have to do with your background (past traumas of being cheated on you or your father cheated on your mother, for instance)?
So many of us would rather find our partner guilty than talk about our concerns and anxieties. It's easier for us to say, "You can't be trusted," than, "I struggle with trusting you."
The thing is, conversations like this are happening only when the shit hits the fan — and that's the problem. Talking about boundaries within your relationship should be normal from the very start and throughout. It's important to discuss things like, "What are we going to do with our online dating accounts now that we're partners? Who are the friends we see together and the friends we see alone? What are the boundaries around our exes?" This will not cause issues, and if even it might not solve all of them, at least there is dialogue and you are exploring it together. The more you have these talks, the less you'll feel the need to find out answers by snooping.
Don't assume, don't jump to conclusions, and don't live in a space of now that we have picked a partner we shouldn't/won't have any interest in anybody else anymore. This idea that all your desires, thoughts, and fantasies are going to be geared only to your partner for the next 20-30 years can lead to stress. Thoughts about other people are normal.
Fire needs air and so does a relationship for it to breathe and thrive. We all need experiences of our own, unique to ourselves. It would help so many relationships to accept that there are things about our partner that we don't know and that, in fact, not knowing your partner's every waking, sleeping move and thought is what will preserve the mystery, curiosity, and interest for years to come.
Thanks for reading.
Live. Well. Now.