Privacy boundaries

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I have been in a relationship with a man in an open marriage for 3 years. In the beginning I was told his wife read our texts out of fear of him leaving her. After a year it became clear I had no interest in “stealing” her husband. However, she continues to read our text whenever the spirit moves her. I‘ve asked for privacy but my requests are not taken seriously. It will break us up if it doesn’t stop – he claims he cannot control it. I love him and I don’t want it to but I can no longer stand it- is this normal behavior from a primary metamour?

He may very much feel like he has no control over the situation. It may be that if he tells his wife she does not have access to this, she may end their relationship. I can sympathise with this situation. He is not wanting to lose one relationship or not choose one relationship over another. But at the end of the day, he is willing to sacrifice your privacy to keep his other relationship.

It doesn’t matter if this behaviour is “normal” or not. And never allow anyone to convince you that because something is “normal” you have to necessarily go along with it without complaint. You’re allowed to have feelings about things and having feelings in and of themselves are not necessarily demands. There are absolutely some people who would be fine with and not feel it is a privacy violation for them and that is also absolutely fine.

But if you feel like this is not something you’re comfortable with, then you’re allowed to have that feeling. You’re allowed to ask and he’s allowed to make decisions about his own relationships. He may not be able to control what his wife demands, but he’s not willing to risk the chance of a breakup with her to put down his own boundaries around it and he’s not bothered enough by the violation of his own privacy to set those boundaries down for himself.

So at this point, I’m afraid you’re at an impasse. One thing I might suggest if you don’t want to break up is restrict your texts to limited communication and ask him to call you to speak to you instead. Unless of course, she is somehow reviewing his calls which I would personally feel alarmed by and wouldn’t want to be involved with. If he’s not willing to risk upsetting his partner for your or his own privacy, you can request him to call instead of text from now on. 

But I would really understand widely what this means for your relationship as a whole. This does speak to a wider preference for him to defer to his wife and what his own definition of privacy means and is. Sometimes you can disagree about what something means (for example, some people have different definitions of what constitutes a sexual risk) while coming to a compromise but this may be an indication that he will defer to his wife in situations like this and that might be a risk that you’re uncomfortable with.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if it’s “normal”. If it makes you unhappy then you have a right to ask for it to change and to make that known. See if you can switch to chats instead and double check that’s not being monitored and consider how this might feel when it comes to your relationship as a whole. Sometimes we do have to make compromises with things and it doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t care for you, but it really comes down to your personal feelings.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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If you have a non-monogamous relationships question to ask, please email it to nonmonogamyhelp@gmail.com or leave a voice message. Your question will be posted anonymously.

If you have a non-monogamous relationships question to ask, please email it to nonmonogamyhelp@gmail.com or leave a voice message. Your question will be posted anonymously.

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If you’re looking to start exploring polyamory or you’ve been non-monogamous for awhile and struggle with anxiety, The Anxious Person’s Guide to Non-Monogamy may be for you. Even if you aren’t exactly struggling with anxiety, it could be a great book for beginners.

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