Lifestyle

Love Letters

‘I understand privacy is privacy, but. . .’

Submit your question to Meredith here.

Q. I am in my mid-20s and have been with my boyfriend for almost a year, but we dated for months before he was ready to make it official. We’d both gotten out of serious relationships the year prior, and both had some trust issues (him more than me). In the beginning, I was only dating him, but he was dating other women and lying about it.

Sometimes he still tells small lies. I have snooped and found out that he friended or texted an old flame (just friendly, nothing sexual). I have been completely honest with him about my interaction with past exes, but he does not feel the need to share this kind of thing with me. He says it is private and does not concern me, as his relationship with these women happened before we were official.

My thing is: I only found out about these old flames from snooping around, so if he was communicating with them or friending them, I wouldn’t have known who they were because he won’t tell me. I recently told him about my snooping and he freaked out at me, but I told him it is difficult to trust him because of the lies. He calls them white lies and said he uses them to protect me. He said he doesn’t tell me things because I will freak out and get jealous.

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The thing is, he’s never been honest about them, so he doesn’t know what my reaction would be; he’s basing this on what happened when he was honest with ex-girlfriends. Basically, is it wrong of me to want to know these things? I understand privacy is privacy, but if we are in a relationship, we should share some of these things with each other. I share everything with him — I am 100 percent honest with him because of his previous trust issues — and he reads through my texts, etc., but he doesn’t give me the same respect.

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Trust issues

A. Wait . . . he reads your texts? That’s a problem. If he believes in having a private life, he should want you to have one, too.

Before I read the last sentence of your letter, I was going to tell you that he should be able to enjoy private texts with people, and to live his life without recounting every detail about it to you. He can have secrets without betraying you. Not everything is worth talking about.

But his need to read your texts — and the lies — make this a bigger problem. Maybe it’s worth telling him that instead of a lie, you’d rather hear the truth, even if it’s something as simple as, “I don’t want to talk about that.” He’s better off disclosing his boundaries than pretending he doesn’t have them.

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You also need to make it clear that the snooping needs to stop, on both sides. You need to figure out whether you can be satisfied with the information he provides.

If you find that you can’t follow your own rules, you should think about whether you’re with the right kind of partner. Maybe you’d be better off with someone who’s an open book. Some people love to share, and maybe that’s the kind of boyfriend you need.

Meredith

READERS RESPOND:

Not one sentence about how you feel about him. Nothing about how good he makes you feel. Why are you with him? MIKELT

I chalk this one up as an example where if you start with mistrust, it just goes downhill from there. TWO-SHEDS

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If I reach a point where I need to look through someone’s phone to believe them, I’d stick a fork in that relationship before stooping to that kind of behavior. “I am just being 100% honest” is a battle cry for insecure. MSENIGMA

This a hundred times. You want to look through my phone. You want to go through my mail. Have at it. But you better get your things packed because as soon as you are done looking we are done, period. BZZNLIKE-CRAZYMAN

Same advice as [I gave] yesterday. “Here’s the thing about liars: You will never know when they are telling you the truth. Ever.” And here’s the thing about snoopers: You will never know when they are telling you the truth about not snooping. Ever. JACQUISMITH

Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.