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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Making room for personal space

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Author Topic: Making room for personal space
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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In your romantic or sexual relationship, what things are off-limits when it comes to personal space, where you and a partner know (or have agreed) you need to ask each other before looking at/into them?

For instance where do you both stand on things like personal diaries, cell phone records, email, the backend of Facebook or MySpace, inside drawers or closets in your room, computer histories, postal mail, lockers or notebooks?

Have you actively made agreements around these kinds of things? If not, how do you figure which things are okay to look at without permission and which are not?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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treetops
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Interesting question. For us, we haven't specifically discussed this, but I wouldn't look through any of those things of his without asking. Similarly, I'd feel uncomfy if he looked through my things without asking (and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't). I've used his computer on occasion to go on the internet, but only with his permission, and I haven't looked at the site history and I don't think I would, either, except in as much as things pop up automatically when you're typing in the address bar. I wouldn't look through his files or anything.
I also, when using his computer, log him out and myself in when using social networking sites, so I don't really see his accounts (although I technically could if I thought it was OK, which I don't).

I know I am 'allowed' (for want of a better word!) access to a couple of his cupboards so I can e.g. get myself a towel when I'm staying at his, but I wouldn't go poking around otherwise. There is a drawer in his room that he specifically asked me not to look in (which is very mysterious! But obviously I'm not going to look) but I don't think I would have done anyway (except maybe by accident if looking for paper or something). I feel like we're both quite private people and that the default state for us is not to look without asking. I think I'll ask him, though, as it would be interesting to see if he does think the way I do about this.

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Britster
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We never talked about it actually, and the issue never came up. To be honest, it wouldn't occur to me to look through his phone, computer history, etc. anyways. I'm not even sure why I'd want to. Or why he would want to look through mine.
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celeste
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treetops, and Britster - that's really cool. I wish I could be like that!

I've had some trouble when it comes to this department. It's not that I don't trust him, but I'm just tempted, unfortunately. And I know he is too. I don't think it's a good thing, but I can't seem to control it. Going through phone messages is not a problem for us, we pretend like it is sometimes but we're just playing around.

Personal email, on the other hand is a whole new story. We had a mess about that once, and it's still going on though neither of us talk about it. I don't know what to do... where do we draw the line?

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Atonement
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I'm not in a relationship now, but when I was, that wasn't really an issue (I live at home, and he wasn't allowed in my room. He only saw it once after I'd redecorated.)

However, there are definitely things I wouldn't want anyone to see. My posts here, a box of notes I still have from high school,a couple old diaries, and the browsing history to some pretty nerdy fan fiction sites that I've never mentioned frequenting to anyone.

I've never minded anyone seeing my phone (most of my texts say "please bring home diet coke, ♥ mom")


However, If i was in a position where someone was around a lot, 'd probably get a safe and lock all these private things in it.

On a semi-related note, I briefly kind of dated a guy who left his apartment completely unlocked and let his friends come and go as they pleased without notice. This would have been a TOTAL deal-breaker for me. Not only do I need more privacy than that, but it's just not safe!

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Mortality
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I'd never go through most of the stuff Heather listed, and I'd feel kinda hurt if someone went through my things without asking. My phone history and everything online I need a password to access are private. My diary is private. There is absolutely no going through that for someone else. My files on my computer and stuff at my apartment are private unless I let you go rummaging through them.
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Unlucky Duckie
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quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
For instance where do you both stand on things like personal diaries, cell phone records, email, the backend of Facebook or MySpace, inside drawers or closets in your room, computer histories, postal mail, lockers or notebooks?

Have you actively made agreements around these kinds of things? If not, how do you figure which things are okay to look at without permission and which are not?

Hm, you know I'm not too good at drawing lines with friends, but boyfriends are another deal entirely [Smile]

I don't do much on social networking stuff, don't keep a diary, and have nothing to hide in my room or on my computer. My post mail and email are sacred though, as is my cellphone (though there's nothing damning on any of those either) but I see no feasable reason for anyone I'm acquainted with to do such a thing, so no, I never made any active (verbal) rules about privacy/personal space. I would feel betrayed if my bf went through my cellphone/email/post mail because I'd feel like he doesn't trust me/is being paranoid. Actually, I'd still feel betrayed even if he hack my FB since he'd know I hardly use it anyway. It's like 'What're you looking for?" Basically, if I feel he knows me well enough to be my boyfriend to begin with, he should know me well enough to know I wouldn't be cool with his snooping. I'm a pretty frank person; ask and I'll usually answer. I never have and never will snoop on anyone. Thankfully (to my knowledge, at least) I haven't had this problem with anyone [Cool]

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inconsequential
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My boyfriend and I don't have any specific rules on looking through each other's stuff. We're in a long-distance relationship, which reduces the snooping potential.

Personally, I wouldn't look through any of his stuff because I trust him and honestly don't want to know what he looks up on his computer in his spare time. I also wouldn't be offended if he looked through my e-mail or Facebook casually if I left it open. I am well aware that anything anywhere could become public, so I don't write something down if I don't want to risk having it recorded for all posterity.

That being said, I would be offended by him making a concerted effort to search through my belongings, but I just don't see it happening. I don't have any secrets from him and he knows that.

There are two things I hide when he comes to visit me, though. I have notebooks containing stories I wrote when I was younger and, well, they're terrible and too embarrassing to let him read but also too much of my childhood to let go of them. Maybe I'll let him read those someday...we'll see. I am also trying to pick up a bit of his native language. I don't want him to find out until I've at least gained some basic competency, though. [Big Grin]

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