Privacy

Mohegan

New member
So this seems to be the hot debate on several threads lately. Karma and I had a long talk about it the other night as well.

Can someone explain why privacy is such a huge issue? I'm an open book. I have nothing to hide. I have no issue with Karma reading my e-mail or messages, nor do I have issue with people doing a backround check on me. I also don't care if Karma discusses me with other partners, as long as he fills me in on what was said.

I feel like I have nothing to hide so why should it be an issue?

Random person reading my mail-okay that's an issue. But not those I love and care about.

I am hoping someone can explain it to me. I feel that if someone has an issue with privacy then they have something to hide.

May not be the case, but I have no experience outside of that...which is why I am asking. I want to understand the otherside of it.
 

SNeacail

New member
I'm pretty back and forth on this issue.

Background checks don't really bother me, but maybe because growing up my dad had to get regular security clearances, which ment SERIOUS indepth, pretty invasive checks (including interviewing neighbors and friends). If you want to be a sports coach you have to be fingerprinted and have a background check done. I work in the finance industry and that requires a background check and fingerprints on file with the company and the goverment regulatory agency. The background checks the everyday person can do are so minor compared to what I have already gone through, it doesn't even phase me.

However, I don't like people using my computer, reading my e-mails or even seeing my favorites tab for websites. That just agitates me, don't touch my shit :rolleyes:. I have checked my husbands texts and e-mails on occassion, usually when the phone is beeping away and he is asleep (one or two I don't bother, 5+ I get worried it is urgent so I check). This is how I found evidence that he was getting ready to cheat and had been having an online affairs. I don't feel right looking at his stuff, it feels like snooping. I don't even like looking at my kids stuff, but that is my JOB as a parent.
 

idealist

Member
my two cents

I so agree. I also do not feel that I have anything to hide. I am completely anonymous here, but if someone really wanted to find my blog on here, they could. I occasionally mention to people that I participate on this forum and as much as I might like someone to say "I found your blog and it's interesting".....no on has ever felt the need to find it (until my ex lesbian partner -I'm calling her Brenda now- came here and started boo-hooing about how I used her name....OMG!!)

I think some of it is about insecurity and some paranoia. Maybe fear. There is such a prevalent idea that if you are not living your life a specific certain "acceptable" way- then......what??? you'll be persecuted???? burned as a witch???? I don't really know!!!

And the interesting thing is that she has chosen a very simple life- with not much to lose. I get that..... but what good does it do if the fear of losing everything is still so overwhelming.

Interesting topic. When I start worrying about my privacy- I have to remind myself....."nobody cares!!!" they are too busy worrying about their own life!!!
 

Mohegan

New member
Maybe that's it...being an Army brat (mom and dad) as well as working in childcare I was always getting checked, interviewed, whatever. So maybe it just became part of me, I have nothing to hide so go ahead and check al you want. Hmmm something to think about.

I've even told Karma if he ever feels the desire, he can read my journal. Now that's not something I would share with everyone, but my husband? Yeah, no reason not to. I share everything with him and there's nothing I would write there that I wouldn't share with him anyway.

And I can even see where constant snooping is an issue.

But on the otherside of it, there wouldn't be snooping if the permission were there.

Karma had huge issue with me even using his phone while Cricket was hidden from me. Now we have a "Hey I'm gonna read your mail" agreement. I don't snoop, but I don't ask permission either. I let him know I am doing it. Keeping the honest, honest?

I just don't get where the otherside comes from.
 

Karma

New member
Even before Cricket came along, I had privacy issues. I think this comes primarily from the fact that I had NO privacy growing up - I wasn't allowed to lock or even close my bedroom door often, my mother would randomly pick up the upstairs phon ereciever when I was talking, ect. Now, I just don't like people getting into my private affairs and my stuff. It tooka long while for me to be comfortable with Mo reading my emails and using my phone even after I came clean with everything. Honestly it still bugs me at moments, but that is my problem, not hers - I don't have anything to hide from her, but it's a knee-jerk reaction. I still do my best to stay "off the grid" publically as much as I can, and the idea of a background search just pisses me off... unless you have a damn good reason, get the hell out of my past, it's none of your nosy business! I understand if I'm going to be watching your kids or something like that, but that's really the only time I'm OK with it. My prospective employer at a minimum wage crap-job does not need to know about my personal life.
 

Mohegan

New member
But what about someone you are dating babe. You meet random chick on OKC and you know nothing about her other than what has been said over a computer. No desire to see if she is really who she says she is?

Maybe I'm too paranoid. But I'm not going to take some random persons word for it.
 

Karma

New member
No, I'm not going to background check my prospective dating pool! :) Creepy much?
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
I view privacy as a basic need that people have to differing degrees. I am a private person, and get irked if somebody uses my computer, phone or what not. But that has more to do with my past than with anything else.

I see privacy as a way to control how much of our inner thoughts and experiences are available and accessible to others. People in institutions come up with myriad ways to keep even the illusion of some privacy intact, which is why I think it has to be a basic need of some sort.

As to privacy in relationships? Some people are fine peeing with the bathroom door open, whereas others get uncomfortable even if somebody else does it, and would never do so themselves. Some people are obviously fine with their spice reading their e-mail/texts. I wouldn't be. I am curious as to why someone would feel the need to. Does it always come from past issues with trust and betrayal? You who do go through your spice's correspondance, why bother?
 

Mohegan

New member
Does it always come from past issues with trust and betrayal? You who do go through your spice's correspondance, why bother?


Good question.

For me, in some ways it most definitaly comes from past trust issues. But it also comes from the fact that I am a curious person who likes to have the WHOLE story with ALL the details. Karma doesn't. As I learned with some of the fights between Cricket and I, Karma fails at relaying what was really said or meant. I hadn't quite realised it until then.

Reading e-mails or IM's allows me to get the whole conversation, not just his take on it. Several times he's relayed something to me, and later reading the conversation, I realised how off base he was. But had I only taken what he said, I would have never caught it and never been able to say "Hey I think you took what they said the wrong way, I'm taking it this way..." and saved an argument.


As for the phone, I don't listen to his messages unless the phone has rang and rang and rang and I am worried that something is wrong. At that point I will see who called and listen to the message so that I can go wake him up or interupt his shower to tell him something important.

I did check calls when I was suspicious of the affairs and for a period after I found out. But anymore I really don't care and I trust him more.

I have an overall lack of trust in people until I get to know them. I've seen too many people hurt and been hurt to much myself to just jump into something without knowing who I am jumping into it with.

For the most part I will google someone, or check arrest histories. Nothing too major. Nothing that isn't easily accessed public knowledge. I'm not looking to find out how much they make or all about their family. I just wanna make sure I'm not going out with someone with a nasty, repetitive history.
 

Kommander

New member
The main reason I became polyamorous is this: I am an adult, and I exclusively date other adults. Adults are able to make their own decisions, and run their lives as they see fit.

Invasion of privacy to me comes off as disrespectful and controlling; and as though I'm being treated like a child.

In general, I'm a fairly open person. If someone wants to know something about me, I'll probably tell them. If I don't, there's probably a reason for it and I'll explain what it is. If that explanation isn't enough, they can try to convince me. Doing it against my will, however, I can't tolerate.
 

Tonberry

New member
Privacy is the equivalent of nudity to a lot of people. The idea of wearing clothes vs walking around naked. The comparison won't help you understand if you also prefer walking around naked though :p

I'm not a private person at all. I'm honest, open, and tell people everything. As a result, it hurts me even moreso if someone goes behind my back to check my emails or do a background check on me, or otherwise proves that they don't trust me. On the other hand I don't have a problem with for instance giving my boyfriend my email's password so he can check it for me because he's using the computer, or something like that, I won't really think twice about it. But if I learned that before I gave him my password he went onto my computer and used the fact my password is pre-entered to check my emails thinking I'd never know about it...
Well then he's going behind my back and keeping things from me.

To be it's the same difference as between my boyfriend having other partners and I know about it (poly) or my boyfriend having other partners behind my back (cheating). The problem isn't with the other partners, it's with the lying, and it's even more hurtful when I am someone who would have been fine with it, that someone would still try to go behind my back for it instead of just asking me directly.

So, I don't feel strongly about these things because I protect and value my privacy immensely. I feel strongly about it because I don't withhold information, so if you insist on taking it while I'm not looking instead of asking for it or taking it in front of me when it's obvious I can see you and could stop you if I cared, I'll be hurt in a major way.

EDIT: going back to the nudity example from the beginning, imagine I don't typically wear clothes and walk around all day and my boyfriend can see me naked whenever he wants. If he set up cameras to watch me take a shower instead of just joining me, or if he took picture secretly instead of asking for them or doing it openly, I'd think that guy has something wrong with him. That's exactly how I feel about things like background checks or reading my email.
 
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GroundedSpirit

New member
.........
Can someone explain why privacy is such a huge issue?

Hey Mohegan,

Well one common thing, but certainly not the only, is the power/control element.
The more anyone knows about you, the more potential control/power they have over you. Think blackmail although there's much more potential in much more subtle things than that.
But depending on someones life - professional, social, political etc, you really develop a "need' for feeling security of privacy. And there is variation even within relationships on how much we trust a person's wisdom and good judgement. No matter how much we 'love' them !
This is often more a concern if we are networking or in relationship a lot with people who live by your model of open book / nothing to hide. In general, people like that develop patterns of .........yapping....about anything and everything that has conversational value. There's times we just don't want or can't tolerate our private lives flown like a flag.

Make sense ?

GS
 

rory

New member
The main reason I became polyamorous is this: I am an adult, and I exclusively date other adults. Adults are able to make their own decisions, and run their lives as they see fit.

Invasion of privacy to me comes off as disrespectful and controlling; and as though I'm being treated like a child.

In general, I'm a fairly open person. If someone wants to know something about me, I'll probably tell them. If I don't, there's probably a reason for it and I'll explain what it is. If that explanation isn't enough, they can try to convince me. Doing it against my will, however, I can't tolerate.
I agree with this post.

I'm not a private person at all. I'm honest, open, and tell people everything. As a result, it hurts me even moreso if someone goes behind my back to check my emails or do a background check on me, or otherwise proves that they don't trust me.
And this.

Privacy is a huge issue for me, even though I have nothing to hide. Invading one's privacy just shows lack of trust and respect, and it's not something I want in my relationships. I'm really open about my life and thoughts, all you have to do to know pretty much anything about me is to ask.

To people who don't understand that a person needs privacy from their partner, do you understand that not every friend of your partner's may want to share everything with you? If I write a personal e-mail to my friend, I expect it only to be seen by her, not her partner. And if my friend writes me, it is my responsibility to protect her privacy. It is none of my partner's business. That's propably why I take invasion of privacy quite seriously, it doesn't only disrespect me but also my relationships with other people and their right to privacy.
 

opalescent

Active member
Privacy as space to think

To people who don't understand that a person needs privacy from their partner, do you understand that not every friend of your partner's may want to share everything with you?

Rory, I thought this was spot on.

Also, privacy is critical to me because having it allows me the space I desperately need to think things through, to mull my feelings over. It takes time for me to figure out what's going in my head. Privacy is not just the absence of snooping - I also consider privacy to be a physical and mental space in a relationship for people to think about stuff and hopefully grow. If I don't have that space, then I have great difficulty first realizing and then understanding what I'm feeling and thinking.

Some people just *know* what they are thinking or feeling most of the time. I have friends who may have less need for privacy because they communicate whatever is going on in their heads at the time it occurs to them. It seems many poly folks use this model too - and there is nothing wrong with that. I admire my friends who can do this.

But I just don't work that way. At least at first, I need space to consider, to think. And that is usually a solitary process. After a while, I do bounce things off lovers and friends but I start internally and work outwards, rather than the other way 'round.
 

Minxxa

New member
Interesting.

I'm an open book. My hubs knows the passwords to all of my stuff (I only have three password variations, so he could get into anything anytime.) I doubt that he's ever looked, but it wouldn't matter to me if he did. I tell him everything anyway.

Hubs needs his privacy, which I was always respectful of-- until the whole dishonesty, trust violations, lying thing came into the picture. And then that privacy became an issue to me because by respecting his privacy I allowed the space for him to lie to me.

I can totally see where Mohegan is coming from.. in that after that trust has been broken having the ability to see whatever you feel you need to for a while can really speed the healing process. Because your partner has then understood how much they've damaged the relationship and trust, and is willing to work through the process of showing you everything so that you can trust they are telling you the truth, and you can get to trusting them again much faster. I see that as more of a temporary process, though, hopefully getting to the point where it's no longer necessary.

I didn't have that open book with hubs, and we've gotten to a good place, but it took YEARS because I didn't trust him again after that, not fully. I didn't think he was lying all of the time or even a LOT, but because I had no way to know either way I got to the point where every single thing he said I took "with a grain of salt", as in-- could be the truth, maybe not, whatever. I can't tell you how much that destroys intimacy and caring for your partner when nothing they say to you really matters anymore. We've moved past it, but it was much harder and took a lot of time.

I DO understand the feeling that when he has a partner, she might not want everything she says passed on to me, and vice versa. That's dealing with a third person's privacy and that can get sticky, especially when there are so many people involved, what if that person tells you something that your partner really SHOULD know? I've never been there, so I don't know, but it does seem that you have to really consider each case individually.

Sometimes I think I need a separate private side of myself. I'm just not sure I am capable of that.
 

AutumnalTone

New member
Can someone explain why privacy is such a huge issue? I'm an open book. I have nothing to hide.

It has nothing to do with having anything to hide. It has everything to do with violation of others and respect for individual choice.

Intimacy is the solo act of a person to share with another person some information or behavior that would not be shared with most (or all) other people. Intimacy relies wholly on personal choice to do the sharing. Indeed, in those instances where a coerced or forced version of intimacy occurs, the person forcing/coercing the issue makes a victim of the other. The most extreme example, of course, involves rape--forced sexual intimacy. Other examples include blackmail and the like.

Note that those instances are all deemed criminal. Now, why is it that when somebody forces intimacy in the form of snooping through a partner's private materials that it suddenly becomes acceptable? The partner still had no choice in the matter and the perp did nothing more than force an intimacy that wasn't freely shared.

I don't find a moral difference between the two. If you snoop, you violate the other person's inherent right of control over how, when, and with whom they choose to be intimate. There is *nothing* that gives a person any right or moral authority to do that to another competent adult.

I respect other people, so I've no interest in forcing any intimacy. I also expect the same respect for my right to share as I choose. As I wouldn't want to share any intimacy that wasn't freely given, I have no interest in being involved in any fashion with somebody given to forcing intimacy on me or others.

Homey don't play them games.
 

nycindie

Active member
My ex and I used all the same passwords for his emails and mine, shared bank accounts, etc., and never hid anything from each other. However, we never went into each other's stuff without asking first. After 10+ years, I still don't know what's in his box of stuff that's still in my closet. Even with my permission, he would not go into my handbag to get something. I never once looked through his wallet or drawers. We chose to trust each other and respect each other's privacy. We lived here in my tiny apartment, and had to give each other space or it would feel like we had no autonomy. For a long time, he would get up earlier than I did and meditate in the living room. Once I had a job that I had to get up earlier for, and he felt that was a real invasion when he didn't have his mornings to himself anymore.

Truth is, I've never been a snooper in any relationship. I think I'm a good judge of character, and if I get burned, it's more because I wasn't observant enough in our communications. People need privacy. I guess some need more than others, but that is one reason why I see no appeal in a poly tribe all cohabiting - I like alone time and space to be myself, without people feeling like they can just insinuate themselves inside my boundaries without permission.

Maybe my living in a large city also has something to do with it. Personal space means a lot when you're always surrounded by other people. I admit, though, it would be harder not to want to snoop if I were burned by cheating or theft. Still, I couldn't go snooping without feeling guilty about it or like I was crossing a line that is there for a reason.

As for the background check issue, I don't know - that seems a bit different to me. I am still getting used to online dating and the whole thing still scares me to some extent. On one hand, I understand why women would want some sense of security but I don't know that a background check can really filter out potential serial killers. And it's usually all public information. But on the other hand, there are other ways to feel secure. Hopefully by the time I've learned someone's full name, I've gotten a sense of him. Burnsy and I have been communicating for a month now and he still does not know my last name. We've got this great connection going, but of course I've googled him, and I will still meet him in a public place (before I bring him home and have my way with him).

Maybe the guys who balk at background checks perhaps cannot relate to how much safety is such a big issue for women all the time. I was recently contacted by a guy on OKC who lives about an hour outside of the city and he complained that women in the city never want to go where he is to meet. There is no way, until I get to know someone, that I will travel out of my local area to meet them. Guys seem to forget how much safety is an everyday issue for women, and meeting people online is such a gamble that it is only common sense not to venture out of familiar territory until there is a sense of knowing that person and feeling secure. Hell, I won't even go to Brooklyn until I know and trust someone. Like I said in the other thread, a woman I used to work with told me she background checks every potential date she meets. I've never done it, don't know if I could, but I understand it.
 
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Mohegan

New member
I really appreciate everyones responses. I think I need to clarify what I am not understanding. Because it's not about snooping or going behind someones back. If I were to check into a potential date history, I would ask/tell them. I check with Karma before reading his e-mail.

I understand why you would be upset if someone were snooping. It would upset me.

I guess where I am confused is with in a marriage or a close relationship why is the need for privacy there? I have some sort of mind block there that I am just not getting the need to keep things private from your spouse or long term partner.

As for would the other people in the e-mails want me reading or knowing their info. All I can say there is that all of our friends know that we share everything and if they don't want it shared, they need to say something. Mostly b/c we are friends with so many of the same people, it's just easier to relay it to eachother than that person having to go through it twice. And alot of the time we bounce ideas of how to help said friend off of eachother.

Other partners? I obviously get that certain parts of the relationship may not be shared with me. No big deal. That is Karma respecting their relationship.
 

Derbylicious

New member
I guess where I am confused is with in a marriage or a close relationship why is the need for privacy there? I have some sort of mind block there that I am just not getting the need to keep things private from your spouse or long term partner.

For me I share pretty much everything about myself with my partners. However if someone has told me something and hasn't expressly consented to having another party know then it isn't for me to share. That would be why I wouldn't be comfortable with having my emails and texts read. I don't like it when my stuff gets shared with people without my consent so it's important to me that I don't share other people's stuff without their consent.
 

Karma

New member
Also, privacy is critical to me because having it allows me the space I desperately need to think things through, to mull my feelings over. It takes time for me to figure out what's going in my head. Privacy is not just the absence of snooping - I also consider privacy to be a physical and mental space in a relationship for people to think about stuff and hopefully grow. If I don't have that space, then I have great difficulty first realizing and then understanding what I'm feeling and thinking.

This. Exactly this.
 
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