Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spy me to the moon

A distinctly odd interview this week from Jules Oliver, wife to celeb chef Jamie, in which she admitted she regularly snoops on her husbands emails, text messages and twitter to make sure he's not screwing around.

Putting aside the question of why anyone would publicly confess to a practice that, although I guess it's maybe not uncommon, makes you look hopelessly insecure this is a subject on which I Have Views That Require Airing. So, you know, fairly warned be thee, say I.

I did once snoop on a partner's emails many many years ago. At the time it felt semi-justified because I was looking for details about the strumpet bitch drug-addict probably-perfectly-nice girl he'd been quietly romancing on the side. Afterwards, when my need to Find All Of The Details had worn off I just felt lame and a bit pathetic. And, like so many snoopers before and after me, I didn't find anything that did me any good. (Actually I didn't find anything at all. Very frustrating, I assure you.)

My real problem with snooping, however, is that it robs your partner of the ability to have a private life and perpetuates the ludicrous idea that you should share everything with your partner, do everything with your partner and tell your partner everything. Sex columnist Dan Savage got it right when he said, so many columns ago I can't be bothered looking it up, that it's a relationship, not a deposition.

However good a relationship is, unless you are the most motherfucking boring person on the planet there are thoughts, ideas or desires you will have that you won't tell your partner about. And in my experience the easiest way to become a dull person and a worse partner is to surrender your personality at the door and forget to have a life outside your partner that not only makes you a more rounded person but at the very least gives you something to talk about when you're together. People who don't appear to have friends that aren't also friends with their partner make me very sad, is what I guess I'm saying, just as I get super depressed when friends appear unable to catch up for so much as a coffee or a drink or a movie without bringing their partner along for the ride ("Oh it's... Bob... again. What a surprise.")

In any seriously long term relationship there are - at least God I hope I'm not alone on this one - times when you just... don't like your partner very much. Times when you hate them a little bit maybe. Certainly there are times when you are so bored with them you could jump out the window for something to do. In a successful relationship (ie: one that lasts for a long time, I guess, and ideally ends with one of you dropping dead), these times are outweighed by the comparatively good times. In an unsuccessful relationship the bits that shit you outweigh the pleasures and comforts.These shitty times, the times when you are bored or frustrated or angry in your relationship, are the times when you need, most of all, to have a life outside your relationship. Otherwise you will very likely wind up wanting to pursue another relationship altogether.

In my current and past relationships there have been times when I bitched about my partners to friends, pondered leaving them aloud and flirted with people who were not them. Were these behaviourss particularly respectful to my partners at the time? Well, no, not really. Were they necessary? For me, yes, I really think they were. Or are.

Similarly I assume that both my current and past partners have, at various times, said things about me to their friends ("her boobs are shit") or said things not about me to other girls ("your boobs are amazing") that might crush me if I knew about them. But the important thing here - the point I'm trying to make - is that they don't crush me because I don't know about them. And, as far as I'm concerned, I really don't need to.

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