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Boyfriend is so private about his phone that its making me paranoid!

Tagged as: Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (25 October 2011) 6 Answers - (Newest, 27 October 2011)
A female United States age 22-25, anonymous writes:

My boyfriend is private with his phone. He brings it in the bathroom with him when he takes a shower, has it in his pocket or on his desk when we're together. He rarely answers his texts around me. He does answer his calls though because they're mostly friends. He used to keep it on airplane mode, but now it's just on silent. He doesn't tell me who he talks to when I'm not around. Sometimes he'll tell me who he talks to, but sometimes he'll get mad because he thinks I don't trust him. I had a huge problem with trust from my past relationship, and I admittedly have brought it into this one, but his being private doesn't help!

He doesn't ever ask me who I talk to, he doesn't accuse me of anything. As far as I know, he's never cheated on me. Every time I bring up his privacy with his phone, he gets frustrated. When we first started dating, I went through his phone and I told him I did, and he got mad at me. Then when he calmed down, he explained to me that he's not hiding anything but he does like to keep his conversations private because his friends (guys) confide in him with their secrets and feelings. He doesn't want me going through his phone because of this. But that was a long time ago, and since then, he doesn't talk to those friends as much because they're all in the military now.

It just bothers me that he never answers his texts around me, and he'll look at his phone when he leaves the room or when he's on the other side of the room. He does get mad at me when I do text, so I don't know if he just has a belief that our time together is just for us or what. But it's been a year! I'd think he could answer his texts around me, you know?

I promised him I would never go through his phone again, and I've stayed true to that promise. Although I have to admit, I probably would be very tempted to if I knew his password and he left it around me. Then again, if he was hiding something, it'd be easy for him to delete before I got to his house...

Now, I don't know if I'm just being paranoid and suspicious or if I have a legitimate reason to not feel comfortable about this. What do you guys think? :(

View related questions: cheated on me, military, text

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (27 October 2011):

I am guessing that he used to leave his phone around and use it when you were in the room.

But then you broke that by stepping over the line.

Now to him it isn't about the phone as a communications device at all. It is about the phone as a symbol.

As long as you obsess about the phone then his behaviour won't change, because from his point of view you are still attempting to cross the boundary. Because you've managed to obsess about this your a year, he is still guarding his phone. And now maybe it's a habit and will continue for the rest of his life.

Let's be blunt. Obsession and lack of trust both break relationships. If you don't back off and simply leave his phone out of your mind then you'll end up sucking all the joy from your relationship. And that will motivate him to seek happiness elsewhere.

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A female reader, chocoholicforever United States +, writes (25 October 2011):

he's not making you paranoid, you are making yourself. If you're paranoid about this, you still will find and search for something else to be paranoid about even if he did let you see his phone. It will never end. imagine if he allowed you access to his phone. you'd be reading every text in between the lines, checking up on every contact to make sure they are who he says they are.

everyone has a right to privacy. Even if you're in a relationship. even if you're married. if you're choosing to be in a relationship with him and he hasn't done anything wrong (and wanting some privacy is not wrong), then you owe it to him to respect his boundaries. Your insecurity is understandable given your previous experience, but you should learn how to control and reduce your anxiety, and not make it your current boyfriend's job to give up his rights inappropriately because of your issues that have nothing to do with him. And chances are even if he did, it won't make you feel much better or for long anyway because you would still be creating anxious thoughts within yourself, that would not have changed.

it would be entirely different if you found out he has cheated on you. But he hasn't, and unless he has, you don't have a right to "preemptively" check up on him as if he has. You're treating him as if he's guilty until proven innocent. That's not a good way to relate to your partner because it drives you behave in annoying (at best) ways like pestering him and nagging him, which only serve to bring out negative emotions from him towards you, or at worst it creates resentment and lack of trust on both sides. the more you push him to give up his privacy, the more he will want to push back against you, which will further upset you more and you will want to push more and so on. or if he gives in to you just to make you leave him alone, he likely will be feeling resentful, and it's hard to feel close to someone that you resent. if he feels resentful he may start to withdraw, which will then make you even more paranoid...

so stop pestering him to give up his privacy against his will, instead respect his boundaries and his right to autonomy and try to find ways to calm yourself when you start to feel paranoid.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (25 October 2011):

you're way out of line here. You had no right to go through his phone that one time, do you realize you probably destroyed his trust in you? No wonder he guards his phone from you now, it's your own doing.

Look, you need to respect your bf's privacy. You don't own him. if you're afraid that he's talking to other women, well, he has a right to make his own choices, even if it's choices that hurt you.

would you feel comfortable if you knew the only reason he's not talking or texting other women is because he knows you're going to check his phone? of course that's not what you want, but this is what you're setting yourself up for at best. At worst, you're setting yourself up for a relationship built on mistrust and paranoia.

you need to learn to relax and let go and let your bf do whatever he wants. You don't have a right to control someone or demand they give up their privacy to you just because you're in a relationship with them.

If it turns out that he's talking or texting other women inappropriately, well then you need to know the truth of how your relationship really is. You don't want to create a relationship based on false security because you're invading his privacy and checking up on him and that's the only thing keeping him faithful, do you? What would be next - trying to invade his thoughts and preventing him from even thinking about other women (if there was a machine invented that would allow you to)?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (25 October 2011):

I'd also take that as a suspicion, simply because if he didn't have anything to hide, why would he be so protective and secretive about it. I don't want to fuel the fire, but that's how I'd feel also, so you can feel somewhat justified. Have you tried doing the same with him? Answering all phone calls or texts in another room. There is one thing true of most cheaters, and that is that they believe you are cheating as well, and he might start to see the issue you have with him and his cell-phone habits. It's not that big of a problem, but I can see how it could irritate someone. Be careful you truly do trust this 'new' partner of yours, or you may find holding on to the past will ruin your present and/or future relationships.

Best of luck!~

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A female reader, katiekate United States +, writes (25 October 2011):

katiekate agony auntSounds kinda fishy to me. Wanting privacy is one thing, but it sounds like he is taking it to a whole other level. I don't blame you for being suspicious. If he had nothing to hide, why be so secretive?

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A female reader, Dorothy Dix Australia +, writes (25 October 2011):

Hi there. It could well be that he protects his mobile around you, because he still thinks you will go through his messages and call listings, so isn't quite trusting you as yet.

It does take time to build up trust in someone again. It's certainly not an overnight thing, by any means.

And like you said, he might see it as being rude to be in someone's company and be either talking on his mobile or texting on it - when he is with you. He probably does that with his friends, as well as when he's with family.

That is common curtesy. And good manners.

A clue here is the fact he gets upset if you text your friends when you are with him. It's an exclusion of sorts. When you text your friends, you are excluding him from the conversation. This can be considered rude by many people, and it's obvious that that's how he feels about it also. So keep that in mind.

I'd say that's what the secrecy is about with him. It's unintentional, and more about considering your feelings.

I don't believe he's hiding anything from you, it's more that he's committing his time to you and saving answering his texts for when you are not there. So you are not being excluded from conversation.

As as you believe and he says he has never cheated on you, you can probably take that as him telling you the truth.

And as a consequence, you almost certainly have nothing to worry about.

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