I thought about writing on this when a friend of mine posted on a video on Facebook about a guy who says that men should give their significant others (SOs) their cellphone passcodes. Embarrassingly enough, this topic is one of my anxiety triggers that took an interesting turn. Let me tell y’all a story.
I’ve always been of the belief that my phone is mine and your phone is yours. That means I’m not going to touch your phone and you’re not going to touch mine, because we respect each other’s privacy. The truth is, if my SO asked to go through my phone I wouldn’t mind at all. The real fear came with going through THEIR phone… I had extreme anxiety over finding something suspicious or offense and ultimately ruining the trust between myself and my partner. I’m sure there’s some word for that kind of paranoia.
All this started with having trust issues in a previous relationship. Long story, short, I was not “allowed” to touch his phone. His reasoning was that, “if you trust me, you’d respect my privacy and not need to know the contents of my text messages.” Well, I didn’t trust him so of course I was always curious about what in the hell needed to stay so PRIVATE. Trust me, I do not consider myself an insecure person but I will say in that relationship I definitely was. Without going into too much detail, I had reason to suspect that whatever he was hiding, I wasn’t going to like because long story short again, he had cheated on me in the past, as well as sent and received some sexy messages from other women. So to be frank, I didn’t think he deserved the privilege of privacy, especially when he did little to nothing to regain my trust. Even attempts to get into his phone or even bluntly asking to see his messages were to no avail. I was young, don’t judge me.
Fast forward some years into this resentment and my feelings turned into crazy anxiety over the mysterious contents of my XSOs cellphone. Is it possible to hate an inanimate object for the purpose it plays in your anxiety? I couldn’t even stand the sight of his phone because it really pissed me off that I couldn’t access a part of his life that was so important to him. He never understood why I was so upset and I don’t think I ever had the right words to explain it. He chalked it up to me being an insecure person and I started acting like I didn’t care. Case (and relationship) closed.
I realized the anxiety carried into my current relationship when only 2 months into dating, while driving to go on one of our many dates (I really can’t remember which – he was taking me everywhere, y’all), my SO handed me his phone to change the song that was playing and casually told me the passcode. I didn’t respond in an attempt to play it cool (in my “still trying to make a good impression phase”) but I was having a WOAH moment in my head and the anxious feelings all came back at once. Except this time I was HOLDING the dreaded cellphone… and that pretty much did it. The feelings lasted for the few seconds I allowed myself to think about this “pressing” matter and then they were gone.
I don’t remember the event in which I gave my SO my passcode because like I said before, my phone wasn’t the issue. We have each other’s passcodes and never go through each other’s phone. He doesn’t flinch if I pick his phone up to put it on the charger, play Candy Crush or change the music in the car and who knows what he does when I leave my phone in the room when I’m in the shower, besides use my SnapChat to post photos of himself on my story. Honestly I don’t care, lol. From previous snooping, his homescreen arrangement irks my OCD soul and he has too many apps that I consider unnecessary. It’s my assumption that my phone is equally as boring to him but the main point is that I trust him.
It was never really about the phones at all, but the opportunity to build trust that was previously lacking and which now is present. I think the reason why a cellphone was the target of my anxiety was because of how personal cellphones are today and how much of our lives we store on these devices. It’s what we use to communicate with our friends, family, colleagues and co-workers and the entire world. The video I watched explained this too, stating that we have practically half our lives on a phone and to deny our partners access to our cellphone in some way is to tell them they aren’t allowed to have all of you. In this way, it’s easy to see why wanting this kind of privacy can be equated to hiding something. Accompanied with past betrayal, access to my SOs personal life in all aspects was a deal-breaker for me that I never thought of until now. The important take away is not that I have the passcode to his cellphone but that I can trust him and he trusts me to share all the important things in life with one another.
What about you? What’s your take on having your partner’s cellphone passcode?