Love in the time of zero privacy

I love my boyfriend. I love our relationship.

There are many things that contribute to keeping our relationship healthy and enjoyable. We share similar interests, we’re both intelligent and motivated, we make each other laugh, we do things together. We support one another, we are considerate of each other’s feelings. But most importantly, we are open and honest. We don’t hide anything. That being said, we do respect each other’s privacy.

Privacy is necessary not just for ours, but for every relationship. It maintains for both parties a sense of freedom and independence, because a relationship involves two people, not one. Two people, who have chosen to share their lives, but are not willing to give them up.

But how do you maintain privacy in an age of hyper-connectedness? We willingly broadcast our every move across a global networking system with sites like Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, and then we text, text, text until the microwaves come home.

The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room.” If the Matrix is everywhere, where is the privacy?

One might argue that, to an extent, this connectedness is beneficial to the modern relationship because it opens up new avenues of communication. Perhaps. But we have to consider something in the midst of all this electronic yapping. When we enter into a relationship with someone, we share our self with another person. With that in mind, when we plug into the global network, we are sharing our self with billions. And those billions are connected, too. That means the information we share has the potential to rocket clear across the globe and back with relative ease, reaching the attention of everyone from mamadukes to your boss to Mrs. Kimble, your spinster neighbor. And don’t think you’re immune just because you only share certain things. Consider the recent global warming hackers or the never-forgotten Miss Nevada scandal. You might also consider the last time you sent a private text or email only to find that it had come to someone’s attention outside the Internet realm.

Don’t forget: the real world still exists while you’re plugged in.

I don’t have a solution, but I think the first step is recognizing the problem. So here it is: there is no place to hide anymore. Everything we say and do has the potential to be recorded and misinterpreted. And it’s only going to get worse, with fancier and more multipurpose handheld devices such as the iPhone and the BlackBerry and little GPS locators, not to mention the satellites floating around above our naïve heads, zapping reports back down to Earth. I’m no conspiracy theorist; I just find it unnerving, that’s all.

With that said, the only suggestion I can offer you is not to make it worse. I love that I can go a whole day sometimes without talking to my boyfriend, but know that I will still come home and spend time with him. I don’t have to know what he’s doing at all times, and it’s great that he doesn’t need to know that about me. That element of privacy is a foundation in our relationship because it reinforces our mutual trust every day and reminds us that we are independent, self-reliant people who don’t need anyone else to make us feel whole. So give your lovey some space, folks. You might find that it feels good to unplug.

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