Thanks to everyone who came to the Missed Connections party last night. It was a good time.
Q: Hey Meredith,
For the last couple of months I have been in what we'll call a "deep discussion" with my wife and I would like some help with the following question: Does your spouse have the right to look through your mobile phone?
Before you answer let me give you a little background. My wife and I have been married for a little over a year now. We are both in our 40s; I'm on the short end and she is on the long end of 40. We were both previously married. She's been divorced for more than a decade and I've been divorced for about a year (if you do the math, we didn't date long, a little over a year, before getting married). One other important note is that I have two children who are under 10.
So back to the question. I've noticed that my wife has been looking through my mobile phone for about four months now. About three months ago I asked her why she was looking. (I had nothing to hide and didn't really care. I thought she would find it boring and soon stop). Her answer was that she wanted to know how many times I was talking to my ex-wife. My ex and I have put our past aside and we now have a business-like relationship to raise our two kids. I have explained this to my wife since day one but she still gets visibly upset when my ex-wife calls, which is not often.
In the last two months she has started questioning me about every local number she does not recognize. Every time this has happened, I've explained who it was. I keep asking her why she does not trust me and why is she going through my phone. The only real answer I get is: "Because I can.”
Well, last night it all came to a head. I think this was being a little passive-aggressive but I deleted my phone history to see what she would do. As a result we got into a huge argument. I asked her again why she had to go through my phone, and the answer was: "Because as your wife I can.”
After discussing this topic for an hour or so, I told her I would post this question to our friends on Facebook to see how they would respond. But instead I wanted to ask you.
Is there a right or wrong answer to this question? Does my wife have a truck load of baggage that I missed or am I just in way over my head. Any advice would be most helpful. I love me wife to bits but not sure how much longer I can put up with this.
– Should I Stay or Should I Go...NOW!!, Boston
A: Don't post this question on Facebook, SISOSIGN. This isn't a playful question. It's an issue that's ruining your new marriage and no one's going to be able to give you a definitive answer. Not even me. Some couples share cell phones. Some are more private. There are different rules for every partnership. The important thing is that you develop those rules together and respect them.
In your case, the cell phone obsession is about something else. Your wife seems to have major problems with trust, privacy, and control.
Get to a therapist with her and figure out who you married. Is this someone who understands what you need to do with your ex in order to successfully raise your children? Did you marry this woman for the right reasons? Why did you get married so quickly? What were your expectations for the partnership? How are you functioning as a family?
You must see a professional and talk about the big things. The phone is a little thing. It's just the catalyst for talking about issues that should have been discussed before you made this commitment. But it's not too late. Go talk to someone. Soon. Don't let the phone issue distract you.
Readers? What are your cell phone rules? What's happening here? Does he want to stay married? What questions should have been answered before this marriage began? What should he do now? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.