A lot of couples thrive on cell phones for communication purposes, many use it to divulge deep personal desires and information. Some long distance lovers even depend on their cell phones to bridge the distance gap between them.
However, individuals view cell phones as “private property”. To what extent is that privacy observed in relationships?
Gaotlhobogwe Molatlhegi has been seeing his girlfriend for three years and they have been cohabitating throughout their relationship. According to Molatlhegi, they have agreed to not touch each other’s phones.
“When my phone rings, she can’t answer it, the same with me when hers rings.”
Molatlhegi says they intend to marry and they stay away from each other’s phones because they don’t want anything to put them off their marriage path.
“I wish to marry her; I do not want to find anything in her phone that would make me change my mind,” he said, adding that he, however, trusts his girlfriend.
Pamela Nyambe, 20, has been in a relationship for 3 months and says that it is no problem for either of them to go through the other’s phone.
“The first time I went through his phone I went through the contacts, just to know under what name he stored mine. I was disappointed when I realized he had used my name; as he did for everyone.”
She revealed that she was mainly disappointed because “I stored him as babes.”
Amazingly though, Pamela only restricted herself to the contacts, avoiding the text messages because of “what I might find.” She relates that she did not want to risk getting hurt supposing she found messages that would imply that he has another relationship elsewhere.
“A friend of mine’s relationship failed because she had gone through her boyfriend’s phone to discover that he was cheating on her.”
She revealed that she learnt from her friend’s ordeal and assured herself that she would never go through her partner’s cell phone as she anticipates the relationship to be long term.
Though she now believes that a cell phone should never be regarded as private in a relationship, she only holds her statement as per committed relationships. She says she never went through her former boyfriend friend’s cell phone because “I felt I had to respect him and his privacy too.”
Another interviewee, Ditiro Molapi, 21, also in a relationship, says his partner does not have any problem with him going through her phone. She, however, tells a different story of mistrust.
“I did not trust her in the beginning, so I went through her messages and called to check if she was cheating.” He says that he developed trust for her afterwards as he did not find anything implicating her. Asked whether he never thought that she deleted the messages, he quickly answered no.
He also says that his girlfriend also goes through his phone to assure herself of his fidelity. “I easily borrow her phone to use.”
A source who preferred anonymity revealed that she has boundaries when it comes to her phone. She went on to say that she has agreed with her boyfriend that they should not go through each other’s phones. She mentioned that a cell phone, being private, could lead to one’s partner seeing “what they should not see”.
She believes in avoiding unnecessary conflict by chasing after “pain.”
Though cell phones prove vital for some relationships, could they also be a source of conflict and maybe compromise the wellbeing of relationships, especially where the issue of trust is only assumed and not wholly guaranteed?
Where does the real truth lie, in your partner or in their cellphone?