Healthy boundaries are a well-known staple in any successful relationship, romantic or otherwise.
Yet, when love and romance shift into an undefined emotional space, boundaries can become blurred. They can even become an issue.
We all have the right to our personal privacy. With that said, we also all have our own unique perspectives when it comes to boundaries, privacy, and elements of that nature. While some believe that couples should share everything, keeping absolutely no secrets, others opt for a different approach to trust and personal privacy altogether.
Consider these thoughts if personal privacy is compromising trust in your own relationship.
Consider the Motivation (and Personal History)
The term “personal privacy” could take on many meanings. It might refer to login credentials, personal self-care routine, or even calorie count. Each person defines this in their own individual way just as they reflect it in their lives.
Whatever personal privacy means to you, it’s important to do what you can to help your partner understand your perspective. Plus, it’s vital to understand theirs as well.
When you feel that there is an imbalance pertaining to personal privacy, consider the motivation behind it all. Furthermore, consider the history that helped to form the mindset in the first place.
For example, why does your partner feel that trust is compromised when you don’t want to trade passwords or share every personal interaction you have? Or, why do you feel as though you can’t trust your partner if they don’t want you to interrupt their shower or walk in on them while they’re using the toilet?
History plays a part in why we behave the way we do. Consider your partner’s personal history. Try to imagine that there may be another reason for their boundary-setting. Keeping an open mind about these things will help to motivate a mutual understanding.
Define Agreed-Upon Personal Boundaries
When one partner closes the personal privacy door on the other partner, it can feel insulting. It can feel almost as though they’re closing the door on a facet of intimacy. And this is undoubtedly a feeling that motivates distrust.
A healthy way to restore balance is to communicate with your partner what boundaries you both will need. Furthermore, it’s essential that you also establish what intimate connections you both need to feel fulfilled and close to one another.
Depending on your partner’s personality, they may need more space than you do. Or, perhaps it’s the other way around. No matter, it’s beneficial to help your partner understand that giving you a certain amount of personal privacy helps you to function—and helps you to be a better partner as well.
When you feel as though personal privacy is interrupting the bridge of trust, make it a point to share with your partner how you feel. Work together to establish those agreed-upon intimate connections and thrive at those moments. Also, respect the boundaries that you both have set.
Reach Out to Your Partner
Whenever trust feels unstable, it’s a natural tendency to withdraw to a certain extent. After all, it’s in our human nature to protect ourselves—emotionally, physically, and mentally.
For this reason, it’s vital to find ways to connect that help to increase intimacy. If sharing your passwords helps you to feel close to your partner, then do it. But, consider that your partner might not feel the same way. For them, that might not feel intimate at all.
For many, it’s nearly instinctive to jump to conclusions such as accusing your partner of infidelity when they don’t have the same level of personal privacy that you do. As you can probably imagine, this kind of jumping to conclusions can be problematic.
Rather than cheating or betrayal, distrust created by personal privacy is often simply a miscommunication or an imbalance of intimate connections. This is not to say that all partners unwilling to share personal information are innocent. Infidelity has undoubtedly breached personal privacy in some relationships.
More often than not, however, reaching out to your partner when trust feels compromised leads to a positive resolution.
Take the first step…
If you’re ready to take a step toward increasing communication and closeness in your relationships, I would like to help. Please contact me by phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT