Thursday, March 27, 2014

There Is A Difference Between Secrecy And Privacy

Dear Tazi:

I have been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half now, and he is always keeping secrets from me!  "Joe" always goes out and doesn't tell me where he is going.  If I find out where he went it is because I asked, not because he told me.  I never know who he is texting or Facebooking on his phone - when I try to see he blocks the phone and tells me to cut it out, that I am invading his privacy.  I feel like Joe has two sides to his life; one that he shares with me and one that he does not.  I want to be part of his entire life, not just the parts he allows me to see.

Yesterday all [heck] broke loose and I am ready to end the relationship over his attitude.  Joe and I were hanging out when he got up to use the bathroom.  He left his phone behind, so I decided to check his text messages to see what he is hiding from me, but his phone was locked with a security code!  I see no reason why he has this feature, and I told him so when he got back.  Rather than give me an answer he demanded to know why I was trying to use his phone when I had mine with me.

I told Joe that I did not like that he keeps so many secrets from me and demanded that he let me see his call and text history.  He told me that he was not keeping secrets but that his phone history was a private matter and that I need to learn to trust him.  I told him to stop turning the issue into something that was my fault; that he is the one keeping secrets.  I gave him an ultimatum: his secrets or me.  He just stared at me, so I walked out before he responded.  Now I am wondering if I should call to demand his answer.


Dear Boyfriendless?:

There is a big difference between secrecy and privacy.  Secrecy is accompanied by feelings of guilt; fear that someone will find out what you are doing; and overly defensive behavior.  Privacy is a matter of respect for another's personal life.  For example, Joe should not have to tell you where he is at every moment of the day; nor should he have to tell you who he has been texting and what has been said.  If he is texting directly in front of you and ignoring you to have a text conversation with another this is rude, but it is still a private conversation.  If I were you I would worry if he left the room to talk or text; since he is doing it in front of you he is not keeping the conversation a secret, just private.

The fact that Joe is willing to tell you where he went after you discover that he went out tells me that he is not keeping secrets from you; rather, it sounds like you are insecure in your relationship.  Have boyfriends past cheated on you?  Has Joe ever done anything (within reason) to make you question his fidelity?  Joe could make more of an effort to make you feel like a part of his life, but trust me when I tell you that most of what he does when he is not with you would probably bore you to tears.  Do you really want to hear about his trip to the store to buy milk?  Or his text conversation with his best friend that consists of one word answers?

You were wrong to try and sneak a peek into Joe's call and text history; this is an invasion of privacy.  As for the security code on his phone, has it occurred to you that maybe Joe keeps sensitive personal information in there - like credit card numbers and other financial information?  Nowadays, a phone is a mini-computer; Joe is wise to keep a digital lock on it.

I think you should call Joe and apologize for issuing such an unreasonable ultimatum.  Explain to him that his behavior makes you feel insecure, and ask him to meet you halfway - you can work on your insecurities and he can work on opening up to you.  Relationships are about compromise; it is time the two of you start.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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