Are there different rules for men and women when it comes to snooping through your partner’s phone?
On Moncrieff’s 'So You Think You’re An Adult' segment, Barbara Scully and Declan Buckley help listeners with a wide range of modern dilemmas.
On this week’s show, one listener sought advice on his fears of facing homophobic abuse for holding hands in public, while another questioned the ethics of his girlfriend’s phone snooping.
“I have been dating someone since Christmas and things are going great. It’s my first relationship in a few years so I’m still getting used to not being single.
“Something that has come up recently is that I don’t feel comfortable holding my boyfriend’s hand in public.
“Just to clarify, we are a same-sex couple. So, I feel like I’m coming from a place of not-feeling-safe-in-public or feeling like I’m a target for abuse. I don’t think it has anything to do with my feelings for my boyfriend – but he thinks it does. I’ll try holding his hand for a while, but I can’t relax.
“He is from a different country where it’s definitely not safe for same sex couples to hold hands, and thinks Ireland is modern because of the marriage equality referendum we had a few years ago.
“Could he be right? Am I living in the past? Or do I have a right to be cautious and avoid potential homophobic attacks?”
Declan Buckley’s advice:
“There’s a certain element of evasion there that maybe isn’t the best way to handle the problem for themselves psychologically, but it’s certainly the way of achieving the result that they want in that moment – which is to not have something happen,” he said.
“I think though, however, when you’re in a relationship with somebody else, their emotional feelings and wellbeing are also critical to consider. You’re not in the relationship by yourself.
“This is what’s happening here, somebody’s innate trip switch is kicking in. Whether that’s a valid reaction to what is really happening in the wider world isn’t really what the point is.”
“The point is that the person is having those feelings and they need to find a way to choose the right action in the moment, based on actual evidence or potential in what’s happening.
He said one solution is to pick and choose the right times to “let my guard down a little bit’.”
“Letting your guard down is definitely the way to find a safer, better place for you to be when you’re in the world,” he said.
“You have to fight the battle; you have to actually stand up, take your space in society. You have the right to be there. Nobody else has the right to tell you that you’re not a valid human being.”
“I caught my girlfriend looking through my phone a few days ago. I asked her what she was doing, and she point-blank denied she was going through it at all.
“She said she just picked it up while she was cleaning the counter – but I could see some of my unread messages had been read.
“I mentioned it to the lads, and they said, if I have nothing to worry about, I shouldn’t be upset. They said it’s happened to them before and they didn’t do anything – they didn’t care.
“I asked if they would ever go through their partners’ phones and they said, ‘no way, you can’t cross that line’.
“Now I’m confused. Is this really bad advice?”
Barbara Scully’s advice:
“Is this really bad advice? Bottom line – pretty much,” she said. “That is absolute and utter nonsense.”
“There’s so much of your life now on your phone … so absolutely it should be something that if you want to look at somebody’s phone, you need the permission of that person.
“That person is perfectly entitled to say ‘no, you’re not looking at my phone; my phone is my own and I’m not sharing my phone with you’.
“I don’t know how she managed to get into his messages if she didn’t have his permission or his passcode, in which case he only has himself to blame.”
“It doesn’t sound like this fella had anything he was particularly worried about. He seems to be more confused about the advice he got from his mates, rather than the actual girlfriend looking at the phone.”
“It’s not normal, it’s not standard, it’s bad advice mate. Change your passcode.”