May 21, 2015

Secrets vs Privacy

I remember discussing an acquaintance with my mother, who had recently had a life event and was slowly telling a few people about it.  (Sorry, I know the lack of detail is frustrating.)  She mentioned that a certain fellow knew about and said, "So that means [his wife] knows, too."

And I paused.  Why would that be the case?  My mom elaborated, "Your spouse is the one person you tell everything to.  It's a safe bet that if one knows something, the other one does, too."

Now, I don't know if I would agree that that's the case with every couple, or even with most.  I guess I don't know.  I had never really thought about it in context with Ryan and myself.  Did I know things he didn't know?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I really didn't.  I mean, obviously in the 23 years before I met him I've gained knowledge and experiences and it would be impossible to compare notes on every event in your entire life.  And there are plenty of things he's not interested in - primarily friend gossip.  (Oh, and blog stuff.  But he hears about that, anyway.)  But I certainly don't hesitate to share when it's relevant.

And I started wondering about privacy.  Do I need to start giving my friends a disclaimer, "Hey, my boyfriend/fiancee/almost-husband has the login information to my brain."  Do they expect me to not tell him things?

I know a few people who aren't an open book with their spouses.  One such individual prefers to keep her passwords private, reasoning that, "My friends might tell me something private and not want [her spouse] to see it."

When I've told my friends sensitive things, I don't know that I ever gave any thought to the possibility that their spouses might see it.  Thinking on it now, I don't know that I'd mind, but it helps that I know their spouses and that I'm not a terribly private person to begin with.  And my days of nefarious activities are well behind me.

One last aspect, before I wrap up this unnecessarily long contemplation, is my own past experience.  The 2 people I dated who demanded privacy were both hiding things from me.  And I, myself, have only ever desired privacy when I have things to hide.  But is it too harsh to jump to the conclusion that other people are more likely to want privacy when their actions are inappropriate?  Or do some people just like space regardless of positive or negative intent?

Even after mulling it over, I'm still a little stumped on where the boundary is.  Secrets vs privacy: what do you guys think?

Do you and your spouse/significant other tell each other everything?  Or do you prefer a little more privacy?  What do you think the difference is between hiding things from someone and maintaining privacy?

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  1. I try my best to be as open with my partner as possible. It's difficult sometimes, because there are some things i feel he just doesn't understand. But unless i try, I'll never know. I think it's really important to have open communication.

    1. I would tend to agree with you. I think people have a tendency to assume the worst, so keeping secrets can easily blow up into a much bigger deal than the actual "secret" would have been had it been shared.

      I've also read a fair amount of relationship books, and they always put the most emphasis on communication. That, to me, is an indication that unless you have a really good reason, you probably shouldn't be keeping things from each other. I was really curious to see if anyone would come up with a good reason I hadn't thought of.

  2. Interesting! I tend to assume that if I tell a good friend something in confidence, she's going to tell her husband, and I'm okay with that. I tell Jordan everything, but I'm really good at keeping secrets if someone asks! But again, I usually still tell Jordan (unless someone specially asks me not to, which I don't think has ever happened). I would probably think that if someone really had a secret to keep, unless it was about a surprise party or something, it would tend to be something bad. Otherwise, what's the big deal with your significant other knowing about it?

  3. I assume whoever I am talking to will tell their significant other. I always specify if I don't want anyone else to know.

  4. I don't know, we don't really have secrets or privacy. We only use my laptop, we use each other's phones, so it's not like anything is secret or has a password. When it comes to friend stuff, I don't tell him everything because he absolutely does not care about that thing Jen said to Kelly to make her so mad. I guess if it was something bigger, like Kelly talking about getting a divorce, I'd tell him. But no, no actively hiding anything.
    And I agree with Holly, I assume anything I tell Kelly, she tells her husband. (I dunno who Kelly is, I just picked a name.)

  5. I dont really have any secrets from my husband per se. Usually most things I know or talk about with friends he ends up hearing at some point or I share them right away. Either way, I would say it is safe to say that most things you tell your friend you should realize that their spouse will probably hear to. I will say, I feel like Chris generally doesnt share as much information with me about his friends as I probably do about mine. Mainly because I share every day things with if I have a dr appointment or whatnot to where he usually doesnt share that stuff with me and when he brings up that he needs to go get a prescription or something I am like went to the dr? Haha.

  6. i remember once, i told my best friend not to tell anyone something - and she told her husband who said something to me, and mentioned it to other people who said something to me. i was mortified. i confronted her and said wtf and she was like well we are the same person, so you need to know that if you want to tell me something. so then down the line a year or two, she asked me something and i said i couldn't tell her. she acted all hurt and asked why, and i told her that i didn't want her husband to know. nothing against her, but there are certain things i don't want everyone to know.
    anyway. does that mean i don't tell my husband every little thing as well? i mean, if it's big yeah i tell him. but if someone tells me something that i know my husband wouldn't care about, why should i break that person's confidence just to gossip? you know?

  7. This is something I wonder about all the time, too. I usually tell my husband everything, unless it's something especially "girly" that I know a girlfriend would not want me to share with him. I think most of my friends, however, assume that I will tell Brian most things they tell me, but if they told me not to tell anyone, I wouldn't tell him unless I was worried about their safety and needed advice on how to help, maybe?


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