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Three Ways That Privacy Strengthens Relationships

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spy   With the release of the iPhone 5S, one of the new features that Android users will kick and scream that they had first yet no one really cares was unveiled was the fingerprint scanner. This device allows users to biometrically authenticate into their phones without using a password. All you need is a finger and you’re set. When the news broke officially, I joked on Twitter that girlfriends all over the country would start the following conversation:

Bae: “You got the new iPhone?”

Denarius: “Yes Bae. It’s awesome!”

Bae: “Nice! So, do you use that fingerprint thingy to unlock your phone?”

Denarius: “Yeah, all the time! So easy to use!”

Bae: “So when are you going to add me to the fingerprint list?” You don’t got nothing to hide right?!

Denarius: *looks around the room and tugs at his right ear* “Erra…Erra….Erra…. I would Bae, but too many fingerprints slows my phone up too much. I can only save one. Sorry! *Kisses Bae on forehead to initiate foreplay and divert attention*

In all seriousness, the battle over privacy vs. full disclosure in a relationship shouldn’t be looked at as a “zero-sum” reality. Whenever privacy and snooping are discussed, the usual defenses arise. Statements such as “you shouldn’t have anything to hide”, “Why don’t you tell me everything” and “I don’t trust someone who needs to keep things private” to me shows a lack of trust and slight immaturity. There is a difference between withholding information, and being private. I think too many people combine the terms into one huge category, and that’s wrong. I know that privacy does hold positive value in a relationship. Here are a few ways in which privacy strengthens relationships:

Privacy Strengthens Individuality and Builds Character

I have seen men and women get boo’d up and gradually lose their uniqueness. I won’t say they changed, because realistically we all evolve when placed in different life situations. If you’re going to change, become a better person. Don’t become generic. When you have a sense of privacy with your movements or life situations, it shows you have tact. If someone knew everything about you, wouldn’t you become boring? Keeping a certain mystique about you makes you more appealing and interesting. Now this doesn’t mean I condone being private about the 4 other girls who think they are #1, this just means knowing time and place. Some information is confidential and can’t be shared with your S/O. For example, if you work with sensitive information (government, law enforcement, auditor, etc.), you can’t share certain information by law. You don’t want to lose your job over pillow talk and even though you know you can “trust” your boo, you don’t want to take the chance. Trust me it happens often and more innocently than you imagine. You also aren’t obligated to tell your ___friend anything about your home boys’ personal life. It might be juicy gossip, but it’s not critical knowledge to prove any level of trust between you two. Which leads to my next point…

Privacy Builds Trust

We all know the friends who couldn’t keep a secret if their life was on the line. We also cherish the individuals who will take certain events to the grave. The difference between the two is values. Some people value information differently, and knowing this will help you become more aware of who should know what. You should assume that your significant other talks about you to their friends. It gets problematic when the entire friend base seems to know your likes, dislikes, work problems, ad that “other” thing you do betwixt the sheets. The outside world doesn’t have to know every aspect of your relationship. Family and friends are more than willing to offer their opinions or take sides in an argument. However, when you invite a plethora of people into your business, you invite division between you and your boo. You get the sense that you are on trial and the friends serve as “independent arbiters” on your case. No one wants that.

Privacy Helps Determine If Your Partner Doubts Your Fidelity

I’m adamant in declaring that any type of snooping is a deal breaker in a relationship with me. I haven’t gone through any woman’s personal items without permission and I expect the same respect to be given to me. You are not Eric Snowden, nor do you work for the NSA, so your boy/girlfriend’s information isn’t considered yours too. Passwords on phones, email, and other devices aren’t always a nefarious plot to keep all shady business dealings secretive. Security has multiple benefits. Some men and mostly women told me that if their S/O doesn’t give them passwords or free reign to peruse their email and phones, then they assume the worst. My immediate retort is “then why did you commit to someone who’s character was so shaky to you?” Demands for access from people like that show me insecurity and distrust. People have a right to their own privacy, and shouldn’t be forced, pressured, or guilted into giving that up as a “sign that they are 100% honest”. I don’t know how it is with married couples, so please enlighten me. For regular relationships, I think we ski down a slippery slalom when we equate relinquishing freedoms to a person’s trustworthiness The flip side of my stance is the looming spider sense known as woman’s intuition. I’m a believer in this gut feeling that women get when something’s wrong, but that can’t always be the determining factor on whether or not you snoop. Sometimes, you hit old as in the case with Ahyiana and her tale of spelunking through an ex’s text messages. Stories like these will justify many women’s (and men’s) position that detective work is key to your sanity. What if there’s nothing to find? What if you violated your significant others privacy only to realize your suspicion was unwarranted. How do you expect them to trust you and your character now after your paranoia caused you to invade their personal space? Privacy is not a four letter word. In a trusting relationship, it can help strengthen the bonds between two people. If I know I can trust you with anything, even the respect of my own privacy and personal space, then that will help me grow closer to you. Snooping is a double edged sword. To feel the urge to do so highlights bigger issues in a relationship. Realize that once you cross that threshold, there’s no turning back. You should also know your partner. If your partner values complete openness (a.k.a. sharing of all passwords and liberties), then you cannot complain once it becomes too much. You knew what it was before it was what it was!

StreetZ

How important is privacy in a relationship? What do you like to keep private? Is there a correlation between level of trust and level of privacy desired?

Comment(13)

  1. Im right there with you. You don’t need to know every little thing. The important stuff you will know. I don’t lock my phone but that doesn’t give the Mrs free reign to just look through it. Hell, if you ask to see something I’ll let you see it but I keep an eye on you and make sure you aren’t just being nosey.

  2. Privacy doesn't BUILD trust, it TESTS trust.

    Privacy often CAUSES your partner to doubt your fidelity, rather than being a test of whether your partner doubts your fidelity. Why would you want to test that anyway?

    Having your own identity and hobbies outside of your relationship builds character, but it's not required that you be private about your outside interests for that to be the case. Often, shared interests and hobbies STRENGTHEN the RELATIONSHIP.

    And the reason this list is only three things long is because privacy's benefits to a committed relationship are very limited.

    Fin.

    1. "Privacy often CAUSES your partner to doubt your fidelity, rather than being a test of whether your partner doubts your fidelity."

      Clearly there is a fundamental and philosophical difference between your line of reasoning and the author's (and mine since I agree with him). Doesn't make one person more "right" than the other…just means that I probably wouldn't be involved with a woman with your similar mindset and vice versa you with a man of my mindset.

    2. There was only three because I like for the comments section to build upon conversation. Plus I was tired from work and had a deadline. When you assume….

  3. +1

    Obviously, I can only speak for self, but I would never think about looking through another person's phone (significant other or otherwise) or their private things. I tend to try to treat people how I would like to be treated.

    Not sure why anyone would want to go through my phone, email, etc.. especially if I haven't gave that person any indication or reason of why I can not be trusted. Guilty till proven innocent anybody?
    Besides, there are things people keep on their phones that are private they do not want to have anyone else to have access to that is outside of anything relationship re-lated.

    I

  4. My phone isn't locked. My girlfriend uses my phone often (she's always water-damaging or losing a phone), and I have no idea if she went through my calls, texts, etc.

    I have nothing to hide, but I'd give a VERY hard side-eye to any woman that demanded access to my phone or asked for passwords. That is a sign of distrust, period. There is no other reason for it, other than going through my stuff when I'm not available.

  5. I'm with you fellas for the most part. I like a culture and air of openness with respect for privacy. Meaning, if there's a need…a real one…you have no problem showing me things and opening those areas of your life to me. But, when the need doesn't arise, I don't just sift through your things or pry just because. And I realize that secure phones are not just to keep me out, it keeps everyone out…especially if your phone is stolen. I don't take it personally.

    Now, if the need for transparency arises and you shut me out or refuse to reveal certain things, that's a problem.

  6. I'm all for Privacy and not goin thru my sh** without asking first because I don't do that to anyone. Never have and never will. I gotta back Streetz on this one. U may trust someone, but not 100% if you feel the need to snoop. The common sense reality is, if you feel something is askew then either it probably is, or your overthinking, over-analyzing, got waaaay too much time on your hands, and have serious trust issues. As the saying goes EVERYTHING that is done in the dark definitely comes to the light. I've never snooped, but Always found out what I needed to know, to do whatever I had to do.

  7. Difference I see with many married folks is, Both, (men and women) feel the ring, license, vows and contractual agreement feel that gives them the right as a spouse to snoop as they deem necessary- aka Angela & Marcus on Why Did I Get Married. Many married people also feel as a spouse they have the right and should know Everything about their spouse and their spouses are contractually bound to tell them Everything no matter what simply because "I'm your wife/husband." Something like, Spike Lee's character telling his wife about Wesley Snipe's characters affair because "Thats my wife I tell her Everything."
    I personally feel that even within the confines of a marriage, spouses do Not Need to know every little thing about each other at all times.

  8. Privacy is paramount in life period, especially in the smaller world we live in now. Most people today have too many trust issues and this presents a conundrum for privacy. If I'm not to be trusted off the cuff just because "I'm a man", then no thanks I'll pass. I've had an ex to snoop through my phone, and it wasn't pretty after that! The fact that she felt she needed to do it says that she never trusted me from the jump!

  9. I'll be honest and say that I have trust issues due to previous relationships in which guys (and in one case my supposed best friend) have done me real dirty. In these situations when I started to feel that something was wrong I would ask questions in an attempt to understand the new and unusual behaviour patterns that people that are up to no good often exhibit. They would immediately reply with " that's private", "you're being irrational", "don't be silly", "it's none of your business", "you don't have to know everything", "I'm not obligated to answer that question" etc. Eventually the truth comes out as it always does and somehow I end up being the one to blame, i.e "the fact that you didn't trust me pushed me to do this", even though the girl was already 6 months pregnant with his child when I started asking questions.

    In all this I've learned to trust MYSELF above everyone else. I have never been wrong. I have only ignored what my gut was screaming loud and clear in attempt to be the PERFECT girlfriend that didn't stress anybody out even if things seemed really wrong. In the process I've only hurt myself and acquired bona fide insecurities with regards to relationships. I have never ever snooped, but the truth has always been thrown in my face and in the end I up looking and feeling like a fool.

    I've since made the conscious decision to immediately cut off anybody that can't give me a straight answer to a question without putting it back on me. I'm not asking to see your phone, or your laptop, but if we can't have a conversation without you being elusive and acting hurt, I'm taking that as my cue to exit.

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