Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Secrecy vs. Privacy
The one that broke the camel's back?
It was a year to the day after I'd found hard evidence of my husband's affair. I was feeling especially insecure that day. I was home alone - my 4 year old and 1 year old daughters were at a friend's house.
I wanted to check, as I'd done a thousand times before, my husband's email to see if he was still communicating with her. He'd long ago changed his password and refused to give it to me. He said it only made me more suspicious and that I read into everything. Maybe he was right.
He had been trying to convince me for months that the affair was over. I paid his cell phone bill, though, and I saw the multitude of times that she was contacted each day. I had his email password and I saw that she still flirted heavily or made suggestive comments.
Every time I approached him with these things, he would deny it, have an excuse or otherwise tell me that I was "reading into things".
The trust was long gone. How on earth could we gain it back?
Surely my having access to these things would prove that it was over. Instead they only proved, to me, that it was not. So he had his cell phone bill sent to his office. He changed his password. All in the name of "saving me grief."
That day, he was traveling with a co-worker. The memory of the day a year prior, when I'd found the evidence, was eating away at my already tired brain. I'd been going insane for 12 months. I couldn't stand it any longer.
I called him and asked for his password.
"Why?" he asked, irritated that I was going there again.
"Honey I just need to know. I'm feeling very sad today and I .... just need to know that we're ok."
"Well, I'm not going to give you my password. Just... no. I'm busy right now. Can't we talk about this later?"
I was stunned. He flat out refused. My heart couldn't take it so I said it. Maybe I was testing him. Maybe I wanted to see how serious he was. I asked him....
"Do you mean to tell me that your privacy is more important than our marriage?"
When he answered "yes" I thought my entire world was torn away from me. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I could hardly form the next sentence in my brain. I was hurt. I was angry. I was spinning like a destructive force. That's when I said, "Ok, then I can't do this anymore. I want a divorce."
His flippant response told me that he was so over it, "You do what you have to do." And he hung up the phone.
My ex-husband hid many things from me during our marriage. Silly little things like cigarettes when he tried to stop smoking. And major things like credit card bills that he owed when we initially moved in together.
Some of these things I needed to know about. Others, perhaps not.
Eventually these things were trips to strip clubs (which was ridiculous because he knew that I enjoyed strip clubs too) and money that he would withdraw to gamble on business trips to Vegas. Its not like I wouldn't find out about these things. We had a joint account and I paid all the bills. He would specifically choose not to tell me, allow me to find out on my own and then, when I would get angry, use it as justification to keep even more secrets.
The affair was one secret too many.
That was 3 1/2 years ago and it is still burned in my mind.
Now that I am in the early stages of a new relationship, I wonder...
What is private and what is secretive?
I don't doubt that Gentleman Jack would allow me to see every email that he receives. When he gets phone calls, he usually puts me on the phone or makes me say hello. He talks to everyone about me. I love that he naturally trusts me and naturally wants to earn my trust.
However in order to maintain a sense of self, each of us has things that we call "mine":
My blog: He knows about it and chooses not to read it. He finds it "weird" to read about himself in the third party. (occasionally I'll share a post.) He also wonders about these "readers" and what they think of me. Do they fantasize about me because I share so much sexually?
His Facebook page: Sort of like his own blog, if you will. He puts a lot of thought into his status updates and what is on his page. He has friends there that I know and MANY that I don't know. Is there a need for me to question the hottie who looks to me to be flirting with him on his FB page?
I know that the deceptions in my past will come back to haunt me at some point. I had difficulty trusting Soldier when he came home from Iraq too. I've had trouble believing in monogamous men.
Thankfully, I'm with someone who wants to prove to me that good men do exist.
But I so don't want to overstep my bounds...
What do you consider secrecy? And how is that different than privacy?