Informational Privacy

Reverie

Active member
I have no pressing issue related to this question, but I have been pondering it casually because I don't really know where I come down on it.

How do you guys feel about information transmission and privacy issues between partners?

I, like many women I know, have the kind of relationship with my BFF where we tell each other almost everything. I have a very few deep, dark secrets that I haven't shared with her, but other than that, she gets the full report about everything, including what happens between me and my partners: everything from sex acts to what my partners' genitals look like, to sexual health stuff, to the nice and mean things we may have said to one another...I've had at least one friend that I've had that relationship with my entire sexual life (before my current BFF, it was a middle school friend that I stayed close with through high school). It's quite "Sex and the City."

And it's not just sex, either. We know every little detail about what is happening in the lives of our other friends, if it is tangential to the story we may be telling. I know about her other best friends' struggle with pill addiction, her friends' abortions, etc. We have screenshotted or straight up copy/pasted bits of our conversations with other people. We used to be judgmental toward people sometimes, but we are working to have a different perspective there. But I can't imagine that the flow of non-value-judged information will stop.

When I met my now-fiancé, he and I became best friends very quickly. We were platonic right at first, but it grew into a poly relationship. When we met, we were in relationships with other people, but we did not immediately share those sexual details like I do with my BFF, despite being best friends. Over time, though, and as we've gotten closer and closer, I do tend to want to tell him EVERYTHING. He now knows things about me that even my BFF does not.

But that makes it kind of weird for poly, if I wanted to eventually talk to him the way I talk to my BFF—giving crazy amounts of detail about all the people in my life. My instinct is to WANT that eventually, as long as we can get to a place where metamour-relationship-details don't make us jealous.

But...is it fair to the other people involved? Is there a difference between telling my BFF everything, like I have since I was 17, and telling my partner the same level of detail? Is it ethically wrong for my BFF and I to have been telling each other all of that in the first place?

I can't imagine that it is all that different to now tell two people where before I'd only be telling one, especially if I know that the buck stops with both of those people. I'm close enough to both of them to know that they would never pass something that *I* told them in confidence to a random other person. Like, I feel that it would naturally stop in a couple of degrees, because beyond that, no one even cares.

If Oona's other friend Melanie has an abortion, and Oona mentions it to me and to her boyfriend Toby, I am probably not going to mention it to my fiancé Rider. If Oona tries a certain kind of sex with Toby that Rider and I have, and Oona tells me about it, I will probably mention it to Rider, but it doesn't make sense for Rider to tell his other partners. It's kind of like the relationship nature of BFF and very close partners have a freedom of information flow that just seems natural. Like there are some situations that get a free pass from keeping one's mouth shut unless specifically instructed to. But when the information is related to a metamour, would or should that be different? Should we not discuss when, for example, we have an evening with a male partner (we are both bi) where the partner has an erectile issue? Or when a female partner is bleeding and so things don't go anywhere?

Do you guys kind of see where I am going with this? Opinions? I have not really come down anywhere yet, and I am really only considering this in great detail for the first time. I'd love to see what everyone else thinks.
 

PurpleSun

New member
I always get consent first...

It's just not my place to tell someone else's secrets, even to a BFF. Granted, I have no BFF at the moment, sooo..... it's moot for me. that might change once I find one.
 

Superfly

New member
I seek consent from my partners before divulging information. For example, my husband is uncomfortable with sharing specifics, even with my BFF, but previous partners have been fine with it. In turn, I expect the same from my partners, but I really don't have any qualms about it personally. A part of the consent seeking would be specifying who I would be sharing information with; I could, for example, understand a partner being uncomfortable wit me sharing sex related stories with another partner, but be fine if it were a platonic friend.
 

Inyourendo

New member
My partners hear everything, I don't accept secrets unless they agree it's okay to share with them. If it's not okay I just tell them not to tell me.

My partners know I share everything with my best friends and they pretty much tell me everything as well.
 
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PinkPig

Well-known member
Once upon a time, I conducted my relationships that way. I'd even let my BFF or my partner read my texts. Now, I'm much more cognizant and respectful of other people's right to privacy. I will still share things if they're deeply affecting me (as in the issue directly affects me), or if I have consent to share. Otherwise, I don't share. If it could be considered gossip, I try to refrain from divulging the info. That said, it's a process and sometimes I backslide, but in general, that's how I conduct my relationships now.
 

nycindie

Active member
I confide some intimate information to my closest friends, but leave out details that I think the sharing of which would not be appreciated by the subject of the discussion. I use my own preferences as a guideline, because I like to have my privacy respected and don't want to be talked about like that. And there is a lot I don't share with others because I don't think it's necessary or seems gossipy -- I hate gossip of any kind. I do generally get consent from people if I think I might want to mention something about them to someone else. If I want to talk about really down and dirty sexual details, about their bodies or the fucking, whatever, I would probably leave out the identity of who I'm talking about.
 

AutumnLeaves

New member
I think it's fair as long as you're up front that that is what you're going to do. I talk to my partners about everything, but I also make it very clear up front with new interests that I do that. The price of admission into a relationship with me is that intimate level of friendness... because without that strong sense of connection, my sex drive just doesn't work and I don't have any attraction. I also have a hard time filtering myself. Words pop into my head and out my mouth in the same instant, and I only later stop to think about how people might perceive them and whether someone would have wanted me to say it.

That said, if someone says they want me to keep something private, I will try very hard to do so. If something sensitive crops like, like something I wouldn't want someone to say about me to others, (my threshhold on this is pretty high, but it exists), I'll try to keep it to myself. And I sort of determine how much I need to filter some issues with some people. Complaining to Purr about how Guitarist has failed to do X around the house is a recipe for triangulation that it's just best to avoid if possible.
 

KC43

New member
I overshare. I know I do this, and I make it clear to my partners that I do it. Hubby is fully aware that I might talk about him to any other partner. When I have another partner, once he appears to be someone I'm going to continue spending time with, I usually tell him flat out that I sometimes talk too much and ask if he's comfortable with me talking to him about Hubby, and to Hubby about him. If he's not, I'm capable of keeping my mouth shut.

So far, the only person who's asked me to keep anything at all from Hubby is Boots, because he has a kink he prefers not to share with the general public. And that was the *only* thing he asked me to keep to myself. None of the guys has ever asked me not to talk about Hubby.

I don't share intimate details anyway... unless I'm with a guy who enjoys hearing that (and again, I only share what I've gotten permission to share). But because my perception of others' behavior is sometimes filtered through my mental health issues, I need people to whom I can talk about each other. If I think a partner's behavior is a certain way or means a certain thing, I don't always dare to ask *them* for clarification, but I can ask my other partner to give me their perspective or a reality check.
 

Reverie

Active member
Thanks for the perspectives, everyone. As always, the range of viewpoints fascinates me. It's really cool to see how for pretty much every issue there is a really wide spectrum of responses.

I think that I would feel something missing if I were not able to share everything with anyone, but what I am pondering is whether it is fair to prevent my "feeling something missing" by paying for it in the currency of someone else's privacy. Kind of the way that I don't eat meat (with the exception of very occasional seafood) even though I like the way it tastes, because I don't believe it is fair for me to satisfy my tastebuds when the price of it is another creature's life.

This range of opinions is definitely something I will take into account as my thoughts about this topic evolve.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I guess for me it is a judgment call. It depends on who I'm telling, and on what I'm telling them. How sensitive the information is. It also depends on whether I can trust the person to let the secret go no further.

I'll tell my partner (Snowbunny) pretty much anything. If I'm inclined to. Or if she asks. Often I "keep a secret" from her just because it doesn't come up in a conversation with her.

Yes, my code of ethics is short and squishy.
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Ideally, I like to share things with my partners. I also like to hear things about their life. These are people that matter to me. I think wanting to share is natural. Unfortunately, Cat told me today that it seems weird to her that I want to share some details about who we see. That breaks my heart.
 

AutumnLeaves

New member
I think that I would feel something missing if I were not able to share everything with anyone, but what I am pondering is whether it is fair to prevent my "feeling something missing" by paying for it in the currency of someone else's privacy.

I don't view it this way. If I tell my partners that my default is to share everything with everyone, it's up to them to (1) decide whether they choose to share things with me, (2) ask me to keep them private if they want something kept private, and (3) tell me anything they don't want to hear about my other partners. I'm 100% okay if someone chooses not to tell me X or Y because they don't want another partner to know about it. And I absolutely WILL try to keep something very sensitive private, especially if I'm asked.

I feel that the default assumption is that "private things should be kept private." But another default assumption is that you aren't sleeping with anyone outside of your present partnership. And a third default assumption is that you can share everything with your spouse/long-term significant other. These things can kind of clash when you bring a third person (or a fourth, or more) into the picture.

I have a harder time imagining bring it up to partners who preexisted the relationship where you newly want to tell someone everything, which is what I think your situation is. But I'd at least want to give them a head's up, something like "hey I'm talking to Future Spouse a lot about a lot of private things, is there anything you wouldn't like me to say?" Then your partner can tell you whether they think their adult baby kink or your whole sex life or their tough relationship with their parents is something they don't want a metamour to know about, instead of being all on your shoulders to just figure it out on the basis of assumptions that might or might not apply.
 
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