In Dating, Don't Ignore the Privacy Clause

Privacy Please sign on a hotel door

Throughout all my dating experiences, there's one personal rule I can say I've tried to obey: respecting privacy & mystery. And this includes all sorts of things: asking too much more about the past than I can handle, reading personal papers and definitely checking cell phones. All forms of privacy are ones I've tried to respect, not because I'm not dying to know, but because if I need to do those things, then we don't have trust. And that's no way to start anything, let alone a relationship...

Anyway, it seems that not everyone shares these feelings, as evidenced by a recent chat I was having with my girl, Marisol..

To give you a little context, here's the snapshot on Marisol: she was in a serious relationship for several years with the guy she swore she'd marry. But, sensing something was wrong, she started poking through his phone... And found out he'd been in communication with another woman, one he's currently with now.

Fast forward two years later, where, while she's generally moved past the situation, the whole thing is still a sore subject... Reason for which he's only referred to as "Dumbass" in our conversations.

But I digress. Anyway, in chatting with her, she noted that her ex-boyfriend gave her a reason to wonder something was wrong. And, while she did ultimately find out he was cheating on her, did she need to resort to checking his phone?

In any case, thinking about her situation took me back to my own past. In all the time I was in questionable situations like Casanova or Jason, I always wondered what was up and what else they were getting into, mainly because they gave me reason to wonder. And, in both cases, I was right, although it never took me into their cell phones. Instead, I started to pay attention to random little signs to determine whether I could trust them, asking myself things like this:

    • Change in Behavior: Basically, if we're going from hot to cold or there's less enthusiasm as time progresses, then I know that things are going down.
    • Constant Scheduling Changes/Being Stood Up: Occasional changing of plans is one thing. Fickle and a complete flake is another. Anytime stand-ups or cancellations are common, I know that we're now talking about a change of heart... And one that should raise eyebrows
    • Less sharing: Is he saying less? Does he flip conversations or keep things short? Not willing to talk? Chances are, if he's not going through personal spells, then he's hiding something.

Once I answered these questions to myself in the affirmative, then I knew it was time for me to just come clean with him -- and with myself. If I couldn't trust him, then checking his phone would only make it worse, since not only can I not trust him, but then he can't trust me. 

So... Back to the question at hand... Is it ever OK to snoop into someone's stuff?

The RD Says: Well, I try to think of it like this: Would you want your partner to check your phone? Then show them the same courtesy. And level with them if you're having doubt.

Plus, privacy isn't always a bad thing, especially when you're trying to figure out where things are going. Get to know a person before uncovering their random idiosyncracies and flaws. I mean, do you want any potential mate know THAT much about you so soon? Where's the fun in that?

Then there are situations like Marisol's, and you can't help but wonder if there is a time when it IS OK...

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