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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

February 2nd, 2011 (06:24 pm)

When, if ever, is it okay to snoop on your significant other? Have you ever?

1. Why do you have the kind of relationship where you are snooping on them in the first place?

2. Why on God's green earth have I gotten in the semi-regular habit of answering these stupid Writer's Block questions?

In all sincerity, though, I think that -- well, in a long-term committed relationship, anyway -- if you're feeling the need to "snoop" on your partner, couples counseling is what's actually in order. The thing is that I'm not quite sure what qualifies as "snooping", anyway. Breaking into their email accounts? Reading their private journals? If there's something you think you're going to learn from those things that a.) you have a right to know and b.) you don't already know, then, yeah, I think you and your partner have trust issues that could use a counseling session or two.

And in answer to the second part: the closest I've come to having "snooped" on a partner (λ just asked me to clarify that this partner is NOT HER; let me do so very emphatically right now) was when said partner kept a journal on her bedside table and said "This is my journal, but I always write as though I'm writing for an audience and so you should read it if you want because if I don't think you might read it then I can't write it." This was an excellent way for her to get a chance to write mean things about me that I would be sure to see without her having to tell them to me directly. It would have been far wiser for me not to read that journal, but that is not due to any violation of her privacy or trust. From some angles you might even consider that a bit of a shame, as it means that I had enough respect for her not to go prying into things she didn't want me to see but not enough respect for myself to stop reading mean shit she wrote about me and did want me to see. Oh well. Live and learn.

A more interesting debate, to me at least, would center around the morality of reading exes' blogs, Facebooks, etc. I know technically you can pare it down to "if you can view it without breaking into anyone's account, it's fine", but somehow it always does seem more complex with exes. But I digress.


Posted by: Kat (kindness_says)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 12:24 am (UTC)

I was going to say, er, maybe if you were planning a surprise party??? But of course that is not what they mean.

Also, that partner and that journal sound EXTREMELY twisted, wtbatshitf.

Exes: Er, I don't think there's a morality question to it, so much, as those are "public" things? But there is a question of, for your personal well-being, should you?

Posted by: Damian (fanboy_of_zeus)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 04:24 am (UTC)

Exes: Er, I don't think there's a morality question to it, so much, as those are "public" things? But there is a question of, for your personal well-being, should you?

Exactly what I was going to say. I'm still LJ and Facebook friends with all my exes - doesn't seem the slightest bit immoral to me, just occasionally bad for me. It does get complicated sometimes, though.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 10:08 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I think in that case it definitely depends on the ex. I was friends with my ex for a long time after we split, and it kind of got progressively messier and then explooooded. I was referring to covert checking, in any case; I can't see any possible "moral" issues with remaining friends with exes.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)

LOL That partner was pretty messed up, yes. So was I at the time, although we were messed up in different ways, as the story above probably suggests.

And, yeah, I guess it's not a morality question so much. I've never quite been able to process what it is about the whole thing that bothers me -- if it's not upsetting or perpetuating a neurosis in any evident way, why would it be a problem? And yet it feels like it should be. Hrm.

Posted by: Kat (kindness_says)
Posted at: February 5th, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)

Well, it depends. I...surprisingly enough, have fairly positive, friendly, non-loaded relationships with everyone I've ever dated/hooked up with. In a way where, in some cases, it doesn't even feel like it ever happened.

So... ^^;

Posted by: phryneateleusis (phryneateleusis)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC)

Just to get on the bandwagon: I see no moral question when it comes to reading blogs, postings etc of former lovers, either. I see it more as a neurosis thing.

Unless you meant your partner's exes. That could get weird.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)

I have actually never looked up any of my partner's exes, which is maybe slightly surprising given that I feel like basically it's the same morality as looking up anybody else on the Internet* and I am kind of curious about them. (I never met any of them.) But I guess I'm not curious enough to bother, especially since, yeah, I do see the weirdness. I don't think a one-time check would be too terribly weird -- repeated checks definitely would be -- but either way, sating a mild curiosity doesn't seem worth it to me.

I've never been a jealous type, though. That sounds like self-congratulation, and indeed it might be if I didn't have my own boatload of flaws. :P But jealousy has never been my thing. The same ex I mentioned above was very disconcerted one time when she said she might become a stripper, trying to get a rise out of me, and I said "Well, you'd be good at it. You have the body for it and you're a great dancer." She got all pissed and I was like, what? I don't have a problem with sex workers and it's not like you'd be cheating on me by stripping, so if you think you can handle it it's not my place to tell you no.

(oops, accidentally posted early) My point was just going to be that I think a lot of it is in motivation -- checking a partner's exes' journals because you're jealous and suspicious is kind of a problem, checking them out of simple curiosity less so (but still probably kind of squidgy). Checking your own exes' journals because you feel like you have some real investment in knowing what's going on with them is a similar problem; checking out of curiosity... I don't know. That feels weirder. Maybe just because the checking, in and of itself, seems to imply that sort of investment.

Wow, you so did not need to have your inbox spammed with all these musings on a random and probably not that interesting subject. Sorry.

*I guess my thing about checking exes' journals isn't a *moral* thing per se. It just feels a little taboo? idk.

Edited at 2011-02-04 10:13 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Damian (fanboy_of_zeus)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)

I think you've put your finger on it, with motivation being the key to determining morality. I do keep track of my exes (at least as far as reading their blogs and Facebook and such), but I do it because I still consider them friends (or, if I stop considering them friends, I stop reading). And I don't think I've ever bothered to find out a partner's ex's name, let alone look them up - because yeah, jealousy is NOT one of my normal relationship feelings. (For that matter, I've never even really looked at my girlfriend's husband's Facebook or Twitter, even though I could quite easily. THAT might feel a little creepy to me.)

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)

Interesting. For a minute I was thinking of her husband in the context of "family", and I don't think I'd personally feel weird about reading a profile/blog of a member of my wife's family if they knew I knew its location and had left it open to me. But I imagine many poly relationships are different in that the relationships between the people who are partnered with the same person but not with one another (I'm sure there's a term for that but I don't know what it is! Time to brush up on my poly vocab) would be more complex, or at least have different systems of boundaries, than extended-family-by-birth situations. Not that the latter can't be complex enough (man, can they ever) but I think it's nevertheless categorically different.

Posted by: Damian (fanboy_of_zeus)
Posted at: February 5th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)

If you figure out what the term is, could you let me know? It's probably something I ought to know, if there is such a word...

It does get complicated, yeah. And probably varies a lot depending on specific people and circumstances. I don't know. I still haven't completely wrapped my head around all this.

Posted by: Kat (kindness_says)
Posted at: February 5th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)

1. ...Why would you care if she...? It's not like she wanted to - Okay, well, whatever. -.-

2. It's occurred to me that this conversation is interesting on another level, which is to say, as far as I know, I've never been with someone who had, say, an LJ. I did hook up with a guy who had/has a sort of blog thing with friends...but it's not personal, it's more philosophical, I guess, and he'd be like, "Article!" so that's totally different...

OH!!! But his brother, adorable story - is/was dating a friend of mine (it's been several years now), and they both keep paper journals? and basically S (the girl) was like, "I did something bad!" and she snooped, and then she told him, and then he told her that he did the same thing, and he was like sorry! are you mad? and she was like, no!! of course not!!! and it was this whole adorable hilarious thing. (And they're of course very functional, as you can tell; I do not think it was suspicion-driven snooping at all. Obviously.)

So, that's a funny anecdote to share in this discussion. ^^;

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