Mo & Phindi are cast members of MNet’s Power Couple SA, radio contributors and co-authors of the book Love Isn’t For Cowards.
Nothing as awkward as a couple that fights in public. Recently we were invited by a young couple to their house for a smallanyana do. OK, it was a big do for them.
They had just bought a lovely home, and it was their first. They invited us, along with six other couples, for a house-warming party.
About halfway into the party, the boys had finished with the braai and had joined the ladies inside the house.
She had disappeared from the group for a while. She then emerged from wherever she was and went straight for the CD player to turn it off.
It was in the way she did it and her teary eyes that signalled the hell that was about to break loose.
The phone in her hand perhaps signalled that she had just heard very bad news. But her piercing and teary eyes, which were fastened on Vuyo, her husband, communicated anger and disappointment.
“Who is Sindi?” she asked her husband of two years.
At this point the whole room was filled with a very loud silence, a stark contrast to how it all was about a minute ago.
All eyes were on Vuyo for some sort of response that would hopefully calm things down. But we somehow knew this was the end of the party, at the very least, as Vuyo sighed deeply with his eyes closed and kept shaking his head as if he was disappointed in himself. He did not make things easy trying to kill the awkwardness as he was avoiding answering the question.
“Vuyo, you’re not going to lie your way through this one,” she exclaimed. “And I’ve tolerated too much of your lies before and can’t take it anymore.”
It turns out that during her disappearance she was snooping through Vuyo’s phone. Their relationship has no cheating history, but her previous relationship was marred by serial acts of infidelity.
She entered her current relationship with massive trust issues that she has never dealt with. In fact, we found out through the group counselling session that very evening that Vuyo had been faithful to her although the text messages, upon scrutiny, one could classify as flirtatious.
Vuyo revealed that she not only steals her phone to snoop on him, but she checks his e-mails and even hacked into his Facebook inboxes trying to find what he has been up to.
How would you feel if your partner were to check your e-mail to see who you have been contacting more often than necessary, and what you have been saying?
Or, to check your internet history to determine the sites you have been visiting? Or, to look over your texting history and cellphone records?
But let us take it a notch higher. How would you feel if your partner installed, without your knowledge, a GPS unit on your car to see where you have been? Or, a phone recorder on your cellphone to hear your conversations without your knowledge? Or, a key-logger program on your computer to know exactly what you are doing while at work? Or, hire a private investigator to secretly follow you around?
You may view our first set of investigative methods to be somewhat benign, and revealing a possible paranoid streak in your sweet darling. But many probably consider the second set to be a flagrant violation of your privacy.
Even if your partner betrayed you in the past, there is a better way to calm yourself and build trust at the same time. If you snoop, it can cause more problems in the relationship.
Openly talking about your fears, a conversation we highly recommend you have before marriage, is critical. But if you are already married, have the conversation anyway.
There is a place for privacy in loving, trusting relationships, and it is important to remember that your partner’s request for privacy does not mean they are up to no good.
Similarly, putting your significant other on your short-list of those with access to your info does not necessarily mean you have intimacy or connection. It can be an extension of trust, but it does not create trust or connection when it is not really there.