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It doesn't matter whether you're married for 50 years or hooked up last night, but unless you've never had a partner and plan to carry on that way for the rest of your life, chances are you're going to have to share some things – even if it's just a bed.
Naturally, the more you like someone, the more you're willing to share with them.
It starts simply enough:
“Wanna share this pen? No problem!”
“Oh you forgot your toothbrush, use mine! (hey, if you've just spent the night pashing them, what's the diff?)”
“Here, wear my socks!”
“Share a shower? Don't mind if I do!”
“Emergency contraception? Please, let me pay half at least. This is my responsibility too.”
“Of course you can borrow my car! I'll need it tomorrow, but we'll sort something out!”
Next thing you know, you're saying…
“This is OUR dog.”
“How about you sell your car and we share the Ford Fiesta?”
“Hey, how about closing your bank account and merging all your assets with mine?”
“How about whatever you own on this planet, I now own too?”
Then you start saying:
“Well, she's YOUR mother.”
“Get out of MY house.”
“What's the difference if I use your razor on my legs?”
“Get over to YOUR side of the bed (or couch).”
“That's MY iPhone charger, get your own. They were MY friends first.” My husband and I are pretty diplomatic when it comes to sharing. We share a three-seater couch. (We often have to play leg-Tetris to make that happen.) We share an extremely uncomfortable bed. (Sometimes we'll switch sides if one of us really wants to sleep next to the window.) We share the iPad and most of our DVD collection. (Except Downton Abbey and Mona Lisa Smile, oh they're mine.)
There's a couple of things I will never, ever share with The Mister.
One is a Facebook page. The other? My passwords.
But you're married! I hear the naysayers shriek.
OK, take a deep breath. I have a confession to make.
The thing is, I have never gone out of my way to rifle through a bloke's belongings while he ducks out to pick up milk, it's always just been a stumbled-upon, opportunistic peek.
It's like eating KFC, it feels pretty good at the time but then you just end up with a downward-spiralling case of self-loathing.
This isn't really about secrets, per se. It's about privacy. And, just because The Mister and I are married, doesn't mean we've suddenly thrown our privacy to the wind now that our signatures are on the same marriage certificate.
I don't want to know EVERYTHING about him – not in one go anyway. I will, however, expect that over the years, more and more little titbits and never-told-before stories will occasionally slide out. Which is why I love him. There is still so much to know.
And there is a difference between privacy, secrets and lying. Big differences. But in this case, my privacy is still something that's mine and I control who gets in on it or not. The Mister gets in on it big time – but he still asks if it's OK to hop in the shower with me.
We do not have a shared Facebook page. And we never will. If The Mister has is Facebook page open, I now just log out for him and carry on.
About three years ago I looked a little further than I should've. Like I said, nothing good comes of things like this. As it turned out, I had a very bad (over)reaction to a very straight-forward conversation he had with his ex-girlfriend. I since learnt that she almost died from a meningococcal-like condition and he cared enough to see how she was holding up. Especially since she was alone in a London hospital.
Nowadays, I couldn't care less if he messaged her or any other guy or girl to say hello or share the latest YouTube goat video with. Hey, I do it all the time. We're clearly in a much better place than we were a few years back when we were still sussing each other out and figuring out boundaries.
Sharing money is like sharing a shower or listening to Wilco. Sometimes you're into it, sometimes you're not in the mood. Do I still have that secret little bank account on the side if I ever need to run away to Rio? Yes I do and have absolutely no dramas in saying so.
My partner has no access to it, but he knows it's there. I think he garners some relief that I have a small stash tucked away – which I have fished into whenever we've been in a bind. So it's not really a secret. But it gives me a sense of securing myself if I would ever need to.
Like my Grandma Joanie says 'it's better to have and not need, than to need and not have'. She's a smart lady. That saying especially goes for those moments when you think 'hmmm, should I take a jumper?'
I guess this is a roundabout way of saying that just because you're married, or de facto, or have a boyfriend or girlfriend, it doesn't always mean you're suddenly one entity. One person plus one person equals two people. If you became one entity you would be this weird 150-kilo four-armed, two-headed beast.
Your privacy isn't something you should be compelled to 'give up', rather something that you can share with someone – but only on your terms. And only if you want to.
This story first appeared on Wry Bride, republished with permission.