He keeps secrets and tells little lies

Hey Meredith,

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 about random things. I have caught myself snooping around a few times and finding out he friended an old flame, or was texting an old flame (just friendly, nothing sexual). I have been completely honest with him about my interaction with past exes. 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. I think it's the other way around. He finally said he doesn't tell me things because I will freak out and get jealous if I hear about on old flame or one of them trying to contact him.

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.

– Trust issues


Wait ... he reads through your texts? That's a problem. If he believes in having a private life, he should want you to have one, too. Even if you're cool with him reading your texts, he should decline the offer. There's no reason to check up on a partner like that.

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.

The lies – and his need to read your texts – make this a bigger problem. I'm not sure what agreement you made when you started your relationship, but it sounds like he should have been more honest about the fact that he was dating other people. He should also avoid lies now. Maybe it's worth telling him that instead of a lie, you'd rather hear the truth: "I don't want to talk about that." He's better off disclosing his boundaries than pretending he doesn't have them.

You also need to tell him that the snooping will stop, because it must. You need to figure out whether you can be satisfied with the information he provides. He should also stay away from your texts from now on.

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? Does the LW have the right to know these details?