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S/O phone access--secrets in marriage


Moxie
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Someone on the phone thread said "there are no secrets, secrets end marriages".

 

My bff shares everything with her husband including personal health stuff I've told her about myself. As a result, I am very careful about what I share with her. And she has something going on in her life right now that she can't share with me because she doesn't want my DH to know and she assumes I share with him like she shares with her DH. I absolutely do not and I've told her that.

 

So, can we discuss privacy in marriage? DH and I have access to each other's phones. But I'm 100% ok with someone talking to me and asking me to not share it with DH. We are married not sharing a brain!

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I agree.  Unless it is knowledge that could negatively affect my husband, if my mom or brother or a friend shares something with me that does not affect my DH and they have asked me not to share with anyone I don't share.  Now I won't lie, either.  But yeah, I don't vomit out every single thing I have in my brain so that he can have it in his brain, too.  He wouldn't want it there anyway.  :)

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If someone shared something with me and asked me not to share it with my husband, I would absolutely honor that. However, typically I share everything with him. Depending on subject matter I might bring up a conversation I had had with a friend. I enjoy talking with him and I he's a safe, comfortable person for me to share things with. Also, he's trustworthy.

 

I assume that if I share something private with a friend there's a good chance they will share it with their husband. But if I was concerned about a husband of a friend knowing my secret, it's probably not something I would be sharing with anyone.

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I think there is a difference between my own secrets and the privacy of someone else. If a friend confides in me about something private, I do not​ need to share those details with my husband.

 

If it's affecting me and my thoughts/behaviour (or if it is something that has an impact on our interactions with that person/family), I'm likely to tell him that "(friend) is struggling in (area) and I'm concerned about that," but it doesn't mean he needs all the gory details. He would do the same.

 

Keeping my own secrets from him, though... I avoid that.

 

I know not everyone operates this way, however, which is why I don't confide deep things in friends about whose husbands I am not comfortable.

 

ETA: my default is to share everything with my husband - it is an unusual scenario for us to keep info quiet. (and eta grammar!)

Edited by indigoellen@gmail.com
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I think there is a difference between my own secrets and the privacy of someone else. If a friend confides in me about something private, I do not​ need to share those details with my husband.

 

If it's affecting me and my thoughts/behaviour (or if it is something that has an impact on our interactions with that person/family), I'm likely to tell him that "(friend) is struggling in (area) and I'm concerned about that," but it doesn't mean he needs all the gory details. He would do the same.

 

Keeping my own secrets from him, though... I avoid that.

 

I know not everyone operates this way, however, which is why I don't confide deep things in friends whose husbands about whom I am not comfortable.

 

ETA: my default is to share everything with my husband - it is an unusual scenario for us to keep info quiet.

This is a very good point.  

 

And yes, if something is happening that is affecting my mood or choices about what I am doing (maybe I need to go over and help my friend) then I do share some idea of what is happening with DH.  I don't give details if I have been asked not to but if he needed to know those details then I would feel it would be necessary to share those details.  My loyalty is to my husband first.  But he usually doesn't need nor care about the details of someone else's issues.

 

Now if a person asked me to LIE to DH, that's a different story.  Nope.  Not lying.  

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I think there's a big difference between secrets about my life and confidentiality about someone else's, like Ellen said. I hope this very open wife never wants a career in health, law, education... anything involving people or private information.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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DH gossips about his friends to me and I've asked him to stop. He's told me things that in no way are relevant to our relationship, like that a certain individual had gotten his college girlfriend pregnant and arranged for an abortion years ago. It wasn't DH asking for my advice on how he should respond to a current situation (which would be ok to do, as long as he didn't name names). It was pure gossip and just because I'm DH's wife does NOT mean that I need to know about things that are not even remotely my business.

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I think there's a big difference between secrets about my life and confidentiality about someone else's, like Ellen said. I hope this very open wife never wants a career in health, law, education... anything involving people or private information.

I agree. When I first opened this thread, I was thinking that dh and I don't keep secrets from each other. I mean, there's things I don't tell him, but I *would*, if he asked or if they became relevant - we don't deliberately keep things back from each other.

 

However, my dh is a pastor, and he is privy to *lots* of things that are none of my business. And he takes his promises of confidentiality seriously - he doesn't tell me anything that is explicitly or implicitly expected to remain between him and the person who told him. It never really occurred to me that "have no secrets between each other" would/should mean "tell other people's secrets that I am privy to". As pp said, if he needs to unload a little of *his* feelings and troubles wrt carrying the burden of others' problems, then he might tell me a bit with no names or specifics, but that's it. Just because I'm the pastor's wife doesn't mean I'm entitled to know what people have confided to their pastor, kwim?

 

Maybe it helps that the *fact* that dh is keeping other people's secrets is itself *not* a secret - I know that secrets exist and their general topic (stuff unnamed people confided to their pastor). I'd do the same wrt stuff my sister or someone wanted me to keep confidential: mention to dh that she told me stuff, but that she wanted it kept confidential (if needed, I'd keep the identity of the person secret as well - leave it as an unnamed person). Kind of a middle ground between "no secrets between spouses" and "keeping others' secrets safely" - and my dh would be sworn to secrecy wrt the fact that the secret even existed (just as I am wrt anything that he alludes to).

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I do not believe that privacy should end with marriage. Healthy relationships include boundaries; where exactly those fall may vary depending on the specific people and circumstances, but there must be some boundaries. 

 

There is a very wide range of possibilities between sneaking behind a spouse's back to hide affairs or secretly running up major debts and always telling spouse absolutely everything. As with so many things in life, both extremes are unhealthy, but the range of potentially healthy is quite broad.

 

One thing I have learned through living with a spouse with mental illness is that the rather standard marriage advice to keep marital issues between spouses, not turn to outside confidantes, etc. isn't always wise. I think that goes double for potentially abusive situations and in general I find the advice dangerous. There is just not a way to make a "rule" about what should or should not be a secret inside or outside a marriage, life is too complex for that.

Edited by maize
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I do not believe that privacy should end with marriage. Healthy relationships include boundaries; where exactly those fall may vary depending on the specific people and circumstances, but there must be some boundaries.

 

There is a vary wide range of possibilities between sneaking behind a spouse's back to hide affairs or secretly running up major debts and always telling spouse absolutely everything. As with so many things in life, both extremes are unhealthy, but the range of potentially healthy is quite broad.

 

One thing I have learned through living with a spouse with mental illness is that the rather standard marriage advice to keep marital issues between spouses, not turn to outside confidantes, etc. isn't always wise. I think that goes double for potentially abusive situations and in general I find the advice dangerous. There is just not a way to make a "rule" about what should or should not be a secret inside or outside a marriage, life is too complex for that.

Agreed.

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OMG my dh's brain would explode if I shared everything rattling around in my head. Important stuff? Yes. Random stuff that doesn't involve him or affect him? Nope. If it starts to affect my behavior or mood, then he'll notice and ask and I'll share.  Lie or avoid conversation? Nope. Not doing that either. 

 

There's a lot of quotable stuff in this thread but I'm focusing on this because it made me laugh.  True for my husband too.  He just doesn't want or need to know everything I'm thinking about.

 

There are OK secrets and there are bad secrets, right?  

 

My activities are not secret.  I don't give my husband a minute-by-minute detail of my movements outside the house, but if, say, I go out to lunch with a friend, I would tell him.  I probably wouldn't give him details of a conversation unless it was something I was meant to share with him or something innocent and of general interest. 

 

Likewise, my husband's activities are not secret.  If he is going to do something after work, he tells me.  Part of that is practical:  I'm expecting him for dinner.  So he might tell me he's going out for a beer with some of the guys from work, or whatever, and tell me what time to expect him.   I don't check to see that he is really out with who he told me he was with; that's where trust comes in. But I also know all the people he knows, so it's not like if I got suspicious I couldn't check on him.

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I do not believe that privacy should end with marriage. Healthy relationships include boundaries; where exactly those fall may vary depending on the specific people and circumstances, but there must be some boundaries. 

 

There is a vary wide range of possibilities between sneaking behind a spouse's back to hide affairs or secretly running up major debts and always telling spouse absolutely everything. As with so many things in life, both extremes are unhealthy, but the range of potentially healthy is quite broad.

 

One thing I have learned through living with a spouse with mental illness is that the rather standard marriage advice to keep marital issues between spouses, not turn to outside confidantes, etc. isn't always wise. I think that goes double for potentially abusive situations and in general I find the advice dangerous. There is just not a way to make a "rule" about what should or should not be a secret inside or outside a marriage, life is too complex for that.

 

this.  along with mental illness I'd add addiction.  My friend's daughter very tentatively broached the subject of issues with her marriage to her . . . and my friend shut her down because she felt serious issues should be between a husband and wife.  because my friend had (she's a widow) a very good marriage (i'd classify her husband as one of the finest men I have ever know.) - it didn't occur to her her own daughter might not.   her ex-son-in-law is an addict, and had made her daughter's life miserable as well as toxic and even abusive.  it was years before she finally threw him out.

 

My friend very deeply regrets having shut her down.  

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DH at one time set up his electronic planner to synch with mine so we would know each other's schedules in detail. I hated it. Dude, I have enough to worry about without all of your zillion and one things cluttering up my already full calendar. If there is something specific I really need to know, tell me. Otherwise, have your lunches and your meetings and whatever and I'll see you when you get home.

 

I also am fine with him sharing a funny story or mention someone else's issue if he needs to process something shared in confidence, wants some advice on how to deal with something or whatever but I seriously do not feel comfortable being inundated with a blow by blow of someone else's private issues told in confidence, especially someone I don't know and can't help.

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There's a lot of quotable stuff in this thread but I'm focusing on this because it made me laugh.  True for my husband too.  He just doesn't want or need to know everything I'm thinking about.

 

There are OK secrets and there are bad secrets, right?

 

My activities are not secret.  I don't give my husband a minute-by-minute detail of my movements outside the house, but if, say, I go out to lunch with a friend, I would tell him.  I probably wouldn't give him details of a conversation unless it was something I was meant to share with him or something innocent and of general interest. 

 

Likewise, my husband's activities are not secret.  If he is going to do something after work, he tells me.  Part of that is practical:  I'm expecting him for dinner.  So he might tell me he's going out for a beer with some of the guys from work, or whatever, and tell me what time to expect him.   I don't check to see that he is really out with who he told me he was with; that's where trust comes in. But I also know all the people he knows, so it's not like if I got suspicious I couldn't check on him.

 

I think there is a difference between privacy and secrets.  to me, secrets implies deliberately hiding something because the knowledge of it would change the dynamics in a relationship.  usually in a negative way.

 

again, delaying telling someone something, so keeping it 'secret' for a surprise or sharing at a more appropriate time - isn't quite the same either. 

 

and telling dh everything?  why?  my mil and 2sil are like that.  they talk because they can't be alone with their thoughts so they inflict them on everyone else.  there is no such thing as silence if they're around.  if you want the world to know something - you tell them.

 

eta: privacy is just - private.  like no mother, you don't need to know I'm cramping because I'm having my period.  you *especially*!!!! don't need to know while I'm waiting for you in your drs appointment so you can make loud comments about it so everyone in the waiting room will hear!!!!!!!   my last period before I got pg with dudeling.

Edited by gardenmom5
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I tell dh everything. My friends know this so they don't share if they don't want him to know.

 

He and I are pretty much together 24/7 since he works from home. The only time we're not is when he travels for work (every other month), but then we text often because we're so used to talking all day to one another.

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DH is an attorney, and it's happened more than once that my mom assumes I know about some family issue (nothing major, just grandparent estate planning, etc) because she's talked to him about it. He's very careful about client confidentiality even when it's my family members, unless they expressly tell him to share it with me. It can be a little weird, but I understand it.

 

If it's a friend issue, we generally share stuff like that because we talk to each other a lot. It's not gossipy, but more that if a friend is having a hard time I'd ask DH to pray for them and he would do the same. Sometimes a friend's situation might be the starting point for a discussion of how we would handle something if it came up for us. If a friend asked me not to tell DH something, I would respect that unless it amounted to lying to him.

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DH at one time set up his electronic planner to synch with mine so we would know each other's schedules in detail. I hated it. Dude, I have enough to worry about without all of your zillion and one things cluttering up my already full calendar. If there is something specific I really need to know, tell me. Otherwise, have your lunches and your meetings and whatever and I'll see you when you get home.

 

I also am fine with him sharing a funny story or mention someone else's issue if he needs to process something shared in confidence, wants some advice on how to deal with something or whatever but I seriously do not feel comfortable being inundated with a blow by blow of someone else's private issues told in confidence, especially someone I don't know and can't help.

 

some of the software gives mutliple calendar options.  then you can overlap calendars (or  not.) 

 

dh and I do 'sync' our schedules - but he works from home.   sometimes our schedules do affect the other person.

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I think there is a difference between privacy and secrets.  to me, secrets implies deliberately hiding something because the knowledge of it would change the dynamics in a relationship.  usually in a negative way.

 

again, delaying telling someone something, so keeping it 'secret' for a surprise or sharing at a more appropriate time - isn't quite the same either. 

 

and telling dh everything?  why?  my mil and 2sil are like that.  they talk because they can't be alone with their thoughts so they inflict them on everyone else.  there is no such thing as silence if they're around.  if you want the world to know something - you tell them.

 

 

Good point; that's a better way of putting it. 

 

I was going to edit my post but I'll stick my additional thought here.  My husband is a part-time pastor and his full-time job is with a Christian organization.  He knows things about people that it is not appropriate for me to know.  You might say he (along with other elders and pastor) keeps other people's secrets. But for that reason, he has a need for privacy because there may be discussion about confidential matters in his email.   Even if I could access his email, I wouldn't, because there could be things in there that I don't want to know about.   

 

ETA: for some reason I hadn't seen Forty-two's post about being a pastor's wife before I typed this.  I didn't need to say anything!  She expressed it perfectly for me. 

Edited by marbel
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In my mind there is a difference between secrets, privacy and confidentiality although I can't exactly define what it is.

 

I tend to think of "secrets" as something potentially harmful. That could be because it is overt (an affair, a spouse spending something) or more subtle (keeping something that you are concerned about from your spouse for a long time). I had an ex-boyfriend contact me a few years ago several times in a weird way. It wasn't anything overt but it was odd. That would be an example of something I think could potentially lead to being a harmful secret. 

 

Privacy is just being respectful. Most of our texts or emails aren't truly secretive, but I wouldn't read his without telling him out of respect. (Sometimes I accidentally read them because we share a computer and use the same email provider so I will sit down and pull up email and not realize it's his account. But then I tell him that I read a few messages.) I don't feel like I have to know everything he is thinking or doing. 

 

Confidentiality is being respectful of other people's secrets. I don't tell my friends secrets or issues to my dh and he doesn't want to know. I don't want to know his friends issues. It's a little trickier with our kids. At times one will be embarrassed about something they did wrong and ask me not to tell dh.I always reply that he needs to know because he is their Dad. But there have been other times that they've asked me not to tell him something out of embarrassment (think wetting their pants when they were little) and I said sure. At times one of them has confided in me something and I will ask them if it's ok to tell dh. I feel like that respects their privacy but also sends the message that it is normal to include him because he loves them. I would be ok if one of them told him something in confidence and they didn't tell me. When we have talked about puberty and sex with them we have said that they could choose to only talk to one of us if they had an issue and that we would keep it private if they asked. I can see things that the boys might want to only talk to dh about (and vice versa for my daughter eventually). But since I am a doctor there have been things they are worried about with their bodies and they have just talked to me. 

 

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this. along with mental illness I'd add addiction. My friend's daughter very tentatively broached the subject of issues with her marriage to her . . . and my friend shut her down because she felt serious issues should be between a husband and wife. because my friend had (she's a widow) a very good marriage (i'd classify her husband as one of the finest men I have ever know.) - it didn't occur to her her own daughter might not. her ex-son-in-law is an addict, and had made her daughter's life miserable as well as toxic and even abusive. it was years before she finally threw him out.

 

My friend very deeply regrets having shut her down.

That's so sad! And yes, being able to share issues with someone you trust is important.

 

Sometimes reaching out privately to a trusted confidant is absolutely important. Not every husband/wife relationship is a healthy one. Seeking outside guidance can be a lifesaver.

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some of the software gives mutliple calendar options. then you can overlap calendars (or not.)

 

dh and I do 'sync' our schedules - but he works from home. sometimes our schedules do affect the other person.

Makes sense. DH rarely works from home and he is frequently out of town. His schedule rarely affects the kids and I. It just was more fairly useless info to keep in my calendar. 😀

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DH is an attorney, and it's happened more than once that my mom assumes I know about some family issue (nothing major, just grandparent estate planning, etc) because she's talked to him about it. He's very careful about client confidentiality even when it's my family members, unless they expressly tell him to share it with me. It can be a little weird, but I understand it.

 

 

 

 

This has also happened in our house. I'm a pediatrician and some of my patients are friends or acquaintances. Because of HIPA I don't even mention that I saw them in the office, much less why. But often the person assumes I've told dh. Which can lead to some funny conversations for him.

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I tell dh everything. My friends know this so they don't share if they don't want him to know.

 

He and I are pretty much together 24/7 since he works from home. The only time we're not is when he travels for work (every other month), but then we text often because we're so used to talking all day to one another.

I think this is why I have so few women friends. Real friends need to know that their private info is private.

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Someone on the phone thread said "there are no secrets, secrets end marriages".

 

My bff shares everything with her husband including personal health stuff I've told her about myself. As a result, I am very careful about what I share with her. And she has something going on in her life right now that she can't share with me because she doesn't want my DH to know and she assumes I share with him like she shares with her DH. I absolutely do not and I've told her that.

 

So, can we discuss privacy in marriage? DH and I have access to each other's phones. But I'm 100% ok with someone talking to me and asking me to not share it with DH. We are married not sharing a brain!

Oh I am there with you. I would agree no secrets in marriage but third party secrets don't apply. I can think of several things share with me that I did not share with Dh. He has done the same with me because when the secret became common knowledge he told me he knew already. I have had to work on this because I vowed to be an open book with Dh but it isnt reasonable for that to include others secrets.

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DH is an attorney, and it's happened more than once that my mom assumes I know about some family issue (nothing major, just grandparent estate planning, etc) because she's talked to him about it. He's very careful about client confidentiality even when it's my family members, unless they expressly tell him to share it with me. It can be a little weird, but I understand it.

 

If it's a friend issue, we generally share stuff like that because we talk to each other a lot. It's not gossipy, but more that if a friend is having a hard time I'd ask DH to pray for them and he would do the same. Sometimes a friend's situation might be the starting point for a discussion of how we would handle something if it came up for us. If a friend asked me not to tell DH something, I would respect that unless it amounted to lying to him.

 

even for family stuff - I would imagine it can end up hard to remember what was heard in a 'client' meeting - and regular family get-together.

 

my fil was in a classified position in the pentagon. . . . they couldn't even talk about the weather at outside parties because they couldn't remember where they might have heard something.  sports was a safe subject.

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Good point; that's a better way of putting it. 

 

I was going to edit my post but I'll stick my additional thought here.  My husband is a part-time pastor and his full-time job is with a Christian organization.  He knows things about people that it is not appropriate for me to know.  You might say he (along with other elders and pastor) keeps other people's secrets. But for that reason, he has a need for privacy because there may be discussion about confidential matters in his email.   Even if I could access his email, I wouldn't, because there could be things in there that I don't want to know about.   

 

ETA: for some reason I hadn't seen Forty-two's post about being a pastor's wife before I typed this.  I didn't need to say anything!  She expressed it perfectly for me. 

 

well - he's in a position of confidentiality.   there are many jobs where that applies. (law, medicine, etc.)  it's not secrets.  it's part of the job duties.  

I know some minsters that have separate e-mails for social, business - and their ministering duties.  dh uses just one - and he has his own business so business and and family/friends stuff.  or even our family business contacts.

 

me - I have three. one for family/friends.  one for business stuff . . . and a junk one for extranea.

 

 

This has also happened in our house. I'm a pediatrician and some of my patients are friends or acquaintances. Because of HIPA I don't even mention that I saw them in the office, much less why. But often the person assumes I've told dh. Which can lead to some funny conversations for him.

 

well - they don't have any hipa requirements . . . . and I assume it's your patient's parents having conversations with your dh . . . . ;p

Edited by gardenmom5
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well - they don't have any hipa requirements . . . . and I assume it's your patient's parents having conversations with your dh . . . . ;p

 

Yes, technically the parents of patients. Although I think, like a lot of pediatricians, I kind of think of the parents as patients also. Sure, it's fine for them to tell dh whatever they want. It's just usually funny because they assume he already knows and will make references to things that he is then confused about. Sometimes he doesn't even know that the kids are patients at our office so he's been really confused. 

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Perhaps because we got married when we were older, but dh and I are pretty independent of each other.  We still love each other.  But we don't tend to give each other a run down of our days - simply because it would be boring for the most part.  And because by the time dh comes home, I'm often in a state of exhaustion.  I often don't know where he's gone if he's gone out on errands or whatever.  Cell phones make it easy to reach him if necessary.  I might ask later "where did you go?"  or he might ask me the same.  It's no secret that he or I took a car to Jiffy Lube or went grocery shopping.  I don't tell him every thought that pops into my head.  In fact, because of chronic pain there are a lot of thoughts etc. that I purposefully keep from him.  I purposefully do not tell him every time I'm in pain.  I just tell him the really bad times - or he will just ask me if it is a bad time because he can tell.  I can't avoid knowing about my pain but it is a hard burden for someone else to have to shoulder when there is nothing that they can do about it.  I'm also somewhat selective about what I tell him about the kids.  There are some things that he just doesn't understand particularly about our Aspie.  Their relationship is smoother if I don't tell him about every meltdown that is already over. 

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this.  along with mental illness I'd add addiction.  My friend's daughter very tentatively broached the subject of issues with her marriage to her . . . and my friend shut her down because she felt serious issues should be between a husband and wife.  because my friend had (she's a widow) a very good marriage (i'd classify her husband as one of the finest men I have ever know.) - it didn't occur to her her own daughter might not.   her ex-son-in-law is an addict, and had made her daughter's life miserable as well as toxic and even abusive.  it was years before she finally threw him out.

 

My friend very deeply regrets having shut her down.  

 

 

You know, I may have had an epiphany while reading this.

 

I suspect that the old problem of misinterpreting correlation as causation may play a role here. Person A is in a solid marriage between two healthy people and never encounters a problem that cannot be resolved between spouses. Maybe Person A is a marriage researcher and finds from survey data that the people in the happiest marriages always resolve their problems between themselves alone. Person A determines that keeping problems between spouses is what makes a happy marriage, neglecting the possibility that people in marriages with more serious problems--with a spouse who is abusive, or who has a mental illness, or an addiction--are not in fact able to resolve these problems just between themselves and the spouse.

Edited by maize
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I can't remember who said that on that other thread, but that person is absolutely wrong. I've kept secrets, and DH and I have been married 23 years and are still going strong. I'm not talking about secrets that are extraordinarily damaging or life altering, I'm talking about things that are trivial in the course our lifetimes or that don't directly affect DH and I...how much I piss away on shoes, the fact that I hire a gardener to do my weeding when DH thinks I weed the garden myself, gossip with my mom, things a best friend might tell me in confidence, etc.... I don't feel the least bit guilty about my secrets because I think married people deserve to have some privacy, and to say they end a marriage is very simplistic, and in my case, flat out wrong. I expect that DH has a few of his own secrets that he keeps from me, and I don't have any problem with that. We do not open each other's mail, read others snail nail, open each other's phones, or go into each other's wallet or purse without asking first -that's just common decency. This will probably give a lot of people on this thread a stroke, but I also think it's perfectly OK to discuss marital problems outside your marriage. I think this is especially true if you have a thorny problem to solve and you're not making headway; sometimes an outside person can have a different perspective and give you new approaches to the problem. It's a heck of a lot cheaper and quicker than hiring a counselor and going through tons of rigmarole for a problem that a friend can offer a fresh perspective on. DH doesn't agree with me on that, but this is how I have always approached problems in my life and it's worked for me.

Edited by reefgazer
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I can't remember who said that on that thread, but that person is absolutely wrong. I've kept secrets and DH and I have been married 23 years and still going strong. I'm not talking about secrets that are extraordinarily damaging or life altering, I'm talking about things that are trivial in the course our lifetimes or that don't directly affect DH and I...how much I piss away on shoes, the. fact that I hire a gardener to do my weeding when DH thinks I weed the garden myself, gossip with my mom, things a best friend might tell me in confidence, etc.... I don't feel the least bit guilty about my secrets because I think married people deserve to have some privacy, and to say they end a marriage is very simplistic, and in my case, flat out wrong. I expect that DH has a few of his own secrets that he keeps for me, and I don't have any problem with that. We do not open each other's mail, read others snail nail, open each others phones, or go into each other's wallet or purse without asking first -that's just common decency. DH and I seem to be like Jean in that we got married later and had independent lives and so trivial secrets that keep things running smoothly aren't really that life altering for us.

 

yes.  . . my friend's mother loved to buy loose gemstones.  (she'd get deals at pawn shops.  she had a very high powered loop.)

she left some on her side table wrapped in a tissue.  my friend's father was cleaning up - and . . . threw away the tissue.  her health was pretty bad, but she was asking about them.  he chose to not tell her as it would have just upset her too much when her health was already very bad and approaching needing hospice.

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I think this is why I have so few women friends. Real friends need to know that their private info is private.

 

The thing is I don't share really private or personal information with friends. I keep that stuff between dh and myself and I definitely don't complain about dh to them. That's just something I've never done and am not comfortable doing. Most of the people I am friends with feel the same way so it's never actually been an issue.

 

Honestly, the only personal thing dh or I have to vent about or share relates to our oldest and none of our friends can help us with that because they have zero understanding of what we're going through. So, dh and I just vent and talk with one another and with a therapist that we see together regarding oldest. 

 

I have one close childhood friend of almost 30 years and we talk a lot but our spouses are also good friends and we have zero issues sharing with one another and knowing that information is known to all four of us, but again I share nothing with her that I don't share with dh already or that I wouldn't want her spouse to know.  

 

I don't think my way is the only right way to do things but I also definitely don't feel it's wrong. People are just different. 

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We don't really have any personal secrets in our marriage, very open communication. But that does not mean we are at liberty to share the secrets others have entrusted us with unless there is a compelling need, like someone's safety.

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I agree.  Unless it is knowledge that could negatively affect my husband, if my mom or brother or a friend shares something with me that does not affect my DH and they have asked me not to share with anyone I don't share.  Now I won't lie, either.  But yeah, I don't vomit out every single thing I have in my brain so that he can have it in his brain, too.  He wouldn't want it there anyway.   :)

 

:iagree: I feel like DH and I have a great relationship.  But I think I would drive him batty if I told him everything going through my head.  I had an incident this week in our homeschool community that has me absolutely flaming and he knows about it, but I'd love nothing more to rant about it for like an hour and I think that would drive him nuts.  I might need to hook up with a mom friend in the short term to fill that need. 

 

Oh - and it has to do with being an unappreciated flipping volunteer parent and taking abuse from others. :cursing:

 

I don't know any of DH's passwords.  Heck, I can barely remember my own.  :lol: He has told me a couple on a need to know basis (i.e. could you login to my computer and find something, can you find my forgotten cell phone and look up a number, etc).  I trust him implicitly and don't really care to know.  I have enough problems keeping up with my own technology.  This morning my cell phone turned on and I had multiple voice mails and texts.  Oh well. 

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:iagree: I feel like DH and I have a great relationship.  But I think I would drive him batty if I told him everything going through my head.  I had an incident this week in our homeschool community that has me absolutely flaming and he knows about it, but I'd love nothing more to rant about it for like an hour and I think that would drive him nuts.  I might need to hook up with a mom friend in the short term to fill that need. 

 

Oh - and it has to do with being an unappreciated flipping volunteer parent and taking abuse from others. :cursing:

 

 

Yes!  Exactly.  

 

I was part of two different homeschooling groups that became severely dysfunctional.  I mean SEVERELY.  As in eventually even police and lawyers got involved.  Even before it got to that point (after I had finally bowed out) I needed to vent on a regular basis as I tried very hard to hold the groups together until at least the end of the school year (for the sake of my kids and the other kids that were members since the kids weren't the issue, the dysfunctional parents were).  If I had shared every single nasty thing that was happening behind the scenes DH would have hated every minute of it.  I couldn't share with my local friends either since many of these people were well known in the community.  Instead I turned to my on line friends in one of my private chat groups and dragged them through the mess.  :)  They could choose to read through all the hairy details or find another thread to read but I had a safe place to process.  DH would not have appreciated being forced to listen in on all the ugliness.  And it would have put him in an awkward position since he knows many of them and we still run into some of the families upon occasion.  I did share upon occasion when it was obvious I was extremely upset or when it might affect the kids but I tried to avoid the really sordid details.

Yes!  Exactly.  I was part of two different homeschooling groups that became severely dysfunctional.  I needed to vent on a regular basis as I tried very hard to hold them together (for the sake of the kids that were members since the kids weren't the issue, the dysfunctional parents were).  If I had shared every single nasty thing that was happening behind the scenes DH would have hated every minute of it.

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The thing about secrets is, if your husband has secrets from you then by definition you don't know it. You have no more way of knowing whether a stated policy of "we keep nothing from each other" is being observed than somebody with a policy that "we trust each other to make a judgment about what should be shared" knows that that's working. So maybe this is kind of a semantic dispute. EXCEPT for the fact that a controlling/abusive spouse can use "we don't have any secrets" as a way of micromanaging the other person's life, including shutting down opportunities to seek safety or another perspective. I think women are particularly vulnerable to the idea that nothing can be discussed outside the marriage. In fact that's a taboo that communities traditionally used to enable abuse and keeping women in line. I'm not saying that people who "have no secrets" are abusers, any more than people who maintain a zone of privacy are all adulterers as some people on the other thread seemed to imply. Each approach has its pitfalls.

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The other piece of common advice that really bothers me is "spouses should always back each other up in front of the kids" with discipline issues and such.

 

This makes no allowance for circumstances in which one parent may be behaving in an irrational or abusive or even just cluelessly harmful manner (developmentally inappropriate expectations, for example); under such circumstances standing up to the other parent may be the only responsible thing to do.

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We don't really have any personal secrets in our marriage, very open communication. But that does not mean we are at liberty to share the secrets others have entrusted us with unless there is a compelling need, like someone's safety.

^^^ITA Similar here. My friends haven't really shared any big secrets, but I don't tell dh everything a friend tells me.

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The other piece of common advice that really bothers me is "spouses should always back each other up in front of the kids" with discipline issues and such.

 

This makes no allowance for circumstances in which one parent may be behaving in an irrational or abusive or even just cluelessly harmful manner (developmentally inappropriate expectations, for example); under such circumstances standing up to the other parent may be the only responsible thing to do.

This is one of those things that someone coming from a healthy marriage with a mentally and emotionally stable spouse does that wouldn't apply to a different situation.

 

We believe strongly in not undermining one another, but we discuss discipline and will intervene if we think one of us is angry or expecting things that aren't age appropriate. However we appeal to one another respectfully and then discuss it in private, not in front of the kids. If necessary the person who was wrong apologizes to the child, but we will pause and leave the room or send the child away to discuss these things, not argue in front of them.

 

It's just a preference and we back one another up with the kiddos, or are private if we differ. It doesn't mean condoning something that is wrong but just not feeling the need to suss it out with an audience.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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This is one of those things that someone coming from a healthy marriage with a mentally and emotionally stable spouse does that wouldn't apply to a different situation.

 

<snip>

Agreed. Advice like this is for typical situations, not abusive relationships or situations where one of the parents is angry and being unnecessarily punitive.   I can think of one time I had to intervene with my husband in front of the kids; it was a time-sensitive situation involving misbehavior and his ill-considered decision to keep our kids home from a Halloween event at the last minute.  All I had to say was "hey, let's hold up here" and he listened and apologized to the kids... and we went on our way.   Even though it was years ago I remember it so well because it was uncharacteristic.  

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These are interesting.

 

I absolutely don't tell dh everything. If a friend asked me to keep a secret, I wouldn't tell dh. If it was something like, say, a friend confiding that she's pregnant or about to move or something but not telling many people yet, I might say, is it okay if I tell dh? But, of course, if the friend said, no, please wait or don't, I wouldn't see any issue with that.

 

I think there's something nice about having things that are private, even from your spouse. Having a private life that somehow harms your spouse or is unhealthy or is such a huge part of your life that it's unhealthy to exclude your spouse... no, of course not. But dh doesn't need to know absolutely everything. I definitely feel like I'm allowed to, say, read a book I don't feel like telling him I read, or hold an opinion about politics I don't feel like arguing out with him or something. Or having a friendship that dh isn't involved in. Not that he can't know about it... more like, we both have friends that the other doesn't know. Not all friends have to couple friends.

 

I like Arctic Mama's "don't undermine" phrasing in regards to the kids. Of course, if I thought dh was being abusive, I'd undermine away. But sometimes we have different takes on discipline (more often on indulging the kids... he likes to do it more than me). And other times one of us gets mad about something and the other isn't feeling it. Like, dh lost it about unfinished laundry in the basement. Laundry is one of his "things" - I couldn't care less. I wasn't going to stand there and fuss at the kids about it. But I also wasn't going to undermine that he was upset about it. So I let him be the one to give a mini-rant to them about it and lay down the law. Sometimes I do the same thing about other stuff and he doesn't get involved because it's not something that bugs him or is some big moral issue in childraising. But I know he's not going to badmouth that I was upset about it or tell them they don't have to do it or that I was unreasonable or whatever.

 

 

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The other piece of common advice that really bothers me is "spouses should always back each other up in front of the kids" with discipline issues and such.

 

This makes no allowance for circumstances in which one parent may be behaving in an irrational or abusive or even just cluelessly harmful manner (developmentally inappropriate expectations, for example); under such circumstances standing up to the other parent may be the only responsible thing to do.

:iagree:  

 

In a healthy relationship or a normal situation I do think it is important to support each other and if you have some concerns to discuss them in private first instead of arguing in front of the kids or undermining the other spouse's authority.

 

But absolutely if a parent is acting in a harmful/abusive manner (and I include emotional abuse) then it can be VERY detrimental to the child to think that both parents are "in solidarity" as they are being abused.  The child can easily internalize that 1.  their own health and well being are NOT valued and  2. That this behavior is acceptable for how they treat others.  

 

They need to know that it is NOT acceptable and their health and well being ARE valued and that the non-abusive parent DOES care and will fight for them to be in a healthier place.  And the other spouse needs to know that the behavior is not condoned and their kids deserve better.  Whether that message actually internalizes or not depends on the spouse, obviously.

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I don't think secrets end marriages. I think mistrust does. I am just not paranoid enough to want to know DHs every thought and move. We've been married 24 years this fall. A lack of total synching up has not hurt us one bit. We are two complete people who happen to be married and don't NEED to function as a untit for every little thing. We're more divide and conquer people. Neither of us is especially emotionally needy and would find that exhausting.

 

I think that people who tell each other every thought must share hobbies or not have a spouse with a hobby that bores them or visa versa. We can listen to the highlights, but the share-every-detail stuff is why we have different friends for different things.

 

I trust him without the ability to read his text messages and he trusts me right back. Marriages are like people though, they're all different. There is no formula for a perfect marriage.

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I don't think secrets end marriages. I think mistrust does. I am just not paranoid enough to want to know DHs every thought and move. We've been married 24 years this fall. A lack of total synching up has not hurt us one bit. We are two complete people who happen to be married and don't NEED to function as a untit for every little thing. We're more divide and conquer people. Neither of us is especially emotionally needy and would find that exhausting.

 

I think that people who tell each other every thought must share hobbies or not have a spouse with a hobby that bores them or visa versa. We can listen to the highlights, but the share-every-detail stuff is why we have different friends for different things.

 

I trust him without the ability to read his text messages and he trusts me right back. Marriages are like people though, they're all different. There is no formula for a perfect marriage.

Yep. :)

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This is such an interesting conversation. We are one of those 'share all the things' couples. We don't really have privacy, let alone secrets! It's the only relationship I have where I am 100% completely myself, and for me, that's what makes it special. I can't keep everything from spilling out because it's my safe place - I can't put up walls in places and still feel intimate! I take pictures of random things about my day and send them to him. If I read an article that day, I ask him his opinion. We spend all time together unless we have to be apart. I like to talk about his hobbies even if I don't share them (like sports) just because I feel closer to him when I know what's going on in his head. Despite both being super introverts, we don't need time away from each other.

It's take me awhile to understand that other people and relationships don't work like that. I used to think it sad when a wife would say they needed 'me time' (like alone! Away from their spouse!). My first reaction to some of the PPs comments about needing privacy in their heads is "why?", because it's so alien to me. But I know logically that there's lots of ways for people to have a relationship. It's just probably best for a couple to not have extremely different expectations in this area.

I do struggle when someone asks me to keep something secret (from my spouse). It feels so unnatural when I'm used to sharing everything happening in my life! Any walls that I have up (for whatever reason) make me feel like our connection is weaker. It's not logical, and I respect a friends wishes, but it does feel like a burden on me.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by highspirits
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Eh there's personal information, and then there's 'secrets.'

 

What I do, is tell DH anything I want to tell him. No more, no less. If it's delicate for any reason, I expect him to handle it like a grown man. And he does, so everything is fine.

 

I have to say, I haven't really asked anyone to keep a secret since I was like 17. When I talk about personal info, I expect people to handle it wisely, whether that involves telling their husbands or not, I really don't care. If I told "a secret," it wouldn't be a secret any more if I told someone , would it?

 

 

Once I had a friend's weird controlling husband let on that he knew my personal business...and that was the end of me sharing intimately with that friend. I'd be spitting nails if my dh ever did something so uncouth and manipulative (and that's how this guy stepped to me.)

 

 

Oh man! As I wrote that, I thought of a secret. When I got pregnant after a miscarriage I did tell my in-laws but asked them to keep it quiet until I was well into the pregnancy. So I guess I'm a liar about not asking people to keep secrets for me. Don't tell anyone!

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