One of the most important aspects of any relationship, for me, is trust. For me, it’s the foundation and reaffirmation of love and respect. Sure, good people lie, sometimes. “No, honey, of course that dress doesn’t make your ass look fat,” is not the same as lying about an affair or a criminal act or blowing your shared retirement savings at the dog track. There are harmless little lies, and it’s human nature to tell them – either out of a sense of self preservation or to preserve someone else’s happiness. and it doesn’t make anyone a horrible person – depending on the lie. But habitual liars, pathological liars – it’s like building that foundation and simultaneously taking a jackhammer to it.
At the same time, distrusting someone because “all people lie” isn’t a sign of love and respect, either.
I saw this video on a friend’s Facebook wall, this morning. There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about what Chris Crocker is saying, and I know many people who feel the same way. But while I agree that playing Keep Away with a phone may be an indication someone’s got something to hide, the distrust that drives another human being to think they need to see, or have a right to see, what’s on another adult’s phone – anyone’s phone, other than their own minor child’s – is enough to suggest that maybe the relationship is beyond salvaging – and may not be worth the effort.
Even if your loved one has proven himself or herself untrustworthy in the past, if you chose to stay with them, spying on them isn’t going to cement the cracks caused by that jackhammer. Either you love, respect, and value one another or you don’t. Spying on a spouse or lover is a sign of possessiveness bordering on obsession.
Another thing to consider here is that people use their phones for work. Friends confide in them. Refusing to allow a snooping partner access to your texts, calls, and emails is a sign of respect for those other people and the obligation to protect their confidential information, too. For a while, a few unwise companies had the nerve to ask prospective employees to turn over the passwords to their social media accounts. My advice, there, was the same as I would give to an untrusting lover or spouse – to say: “You expect me to protect and keep your confidences as I would my own; how, then, if I turn over my passwords to you, would you ever be able to trust me to do that?”
If trust is broken and can’t be healed, move on. If “healing” trust issues means engaging in NSA-level spying on a loved one, or behaving like a creepy, controlling stalker, it’s time to move on. Everybody will be happier for it.