The things we don't share with our partners

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Photo: Getty images

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!”

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“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.

 

8 comments

  • Great article. I think there are always some things you want to keep private, so long as it isn't anything major and both parties trust each other enough on that and are in agreement that it's ok then it shouldn't matter.

    I'm pretty sure my wife knows my FB and email passwords, it doesn't really matter though as we run two different types of browsers on our shared computer so we are both always logged in and she can look at it at any time. I don't look at hers and I don't think she looks at mine but it wouldn't matter if she did as I don't have anything to hide from her.

    For our finances most of the bank accounts are in joint names although some are just in mine or hers as that's the way they were opened. Investments are mostly in my name as they were started before she came along. My biggest worry with the finances is that if something happens to me (get hit by a bus etc) she doesn't actually know much about them despite my efforts to try to get her to pay more interest or at least know what we own and where. I wonder how many other couples are in a similar situation where one person almost exclusively looks after the finances and the other person just isn't interested.

    Commenter
    Hurrow
    Date and time
    May 07, 2013, 11:13AM
    • I totally agree with what you're saying Pip.

      Especially insightful to me is the line: "And there is a difference between privacy, secrets and lying."

      I sometimes encounter trouble on the home front because I don't think the missus sees things that way...she is more black and white - secrets equal lying. Oh well...maybe I'll send her a link to this opinion piece. And she can then see my comment...haha...I mean, oops! D'oh!

      Commenter
      Pax
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      May 07, 2013, 11:33AM
      • I'd rather share a password than a toothbrush!

        Commenter
        soooooooooooooo
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        May 07, 2013, 11:36AM
        • But if you're "friends" on Facebook you can see each other's pages anyway. Although you can't see the private messages, I guess. My husband and I know each other's passwords and we're both fine with it. I've never actually bothered to look at any of his conversations. He's welcome to look at mine (I doubt he ever has) because I have nothing to hide. He even told me his phone password, but again I've never looked at any of his phone messages even though his phone is always lying around. My phone has no password and he's welcome to look if he likes.

          Commenter
          MO4
          Date and time
          May 07, 2013, 12:15PM
          • My wife of 23 years and I have separate bank accounts but we each contribute to bills and mortgage in agreed amounts. Neither of us would want pooled accounts.

            Too much snooping into my privacy would be a violation that could be a deal breaker.

            I would warn people who go snooping into their partner's things that the act of snooping may be viewed worse that anything they might find. If trust is so low that you feel you have to snoop call it quits now.

            Commenter
            Xenon6
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            May 07, 2013, 1:45PM
            • I'm always in the mood to listen to Wilco!!

              Commenter
              Dave
              Location
              Melb
              Date and time
              May 07, 2013, 3:07PM
              • Joint facebook pages....UGH.

                Commenter
                Jen
                Date and time
                May 07, 2013, 3:22PM
                • The KFC analogy aside - quite distracting - sharing and merging are not the same. You don't have to confide every dark secret from your childhood or innermost thoughts. Nor do you share your sexual history - that is not honesty, it's the past, leave it there. Bury it. You want resentment? Familiarity breeds contempt. That might well refer to going to the loo in front of your partner. Who needs that? I am quite prudish about things like that, but open about nudity (good and bad, as that episode of Seinfeld brought to our attention), but like to poo in privacy, as does my hubby, and kids. Some things are not meant to be shared.

                  Commenter
                  jb
                  Location
                  gc
                  Date and time
                  May 07, 2013, 5:06PM
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