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Old 11-06-2007, 11:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Privacy in relationships

Long time lurker, my first post:

Forgive the medical explicitness for those with delicate sensibilities - A month and a half ago, there was quite a bit of blood in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement. I have had blood on the toilet paper before when my hemorrhoids caused discomfort, but a little OTC hydrocortisone cream would usually clear things up. This instance caused me to worry because there was no discomfort. Usually I would chalk it up to my hemorrhoids, but I'm in my mid-30's now with kids, so I thought I had an obligation to my family to have things checked out. I called my doctor (who I had only seen once before 10 years earlier) and made an appointment. Unfortunately, my doctor called the house to confirm the appointment, my wife asked me about it, and I lied about the purpose and called it "just a check-up".

I didn't tell my wife about the blood for a few reasons. First, she is a self-professed hypochondriac and I would find her constant worrying a major distraction. Second, she tends to know no boundaries when it comes to medical issues and frankly, I wasn't too excited to have my butt the subject of all her questions. Lastly, she is unable to be supportive of me in the manner I need during times like these. A few years ago, I got a vasectomy. The day after, with me in bed sick to my stomach from the Vicodin, groggy and nauseous, she stood over me berating me for not being able to help with the kids on this particular Saturday.

I make the appt. with my GP and he refers me to a specialist to get a flex sig (basically, a colonoscopy's little cousin). Five weeks go by before I can get the procedure and I haven't told my wife. I get it done, everything looks fine, I come home and I sit down with my wife. "Honey, everything is fine, but here's what happened and what I did about it..."

My wife goes nuts. First, she's irate that I misled her about the nature of the appointment. Second, she's irate that I didn't tell her about the follow-up. She goes on about how other people don't keep things from their spouses, about how she's not going to live like this, about how this isn't a relationship, and how she's not going to be in a relationship where secrets are kept. Bear in mind, that up until this, things had been going very well for us, so I don't think there was a lot of animosity under the surface - at least not more than usual.

My points were: her borderline hypochondria was a distraction, this was a embarrassing issue given the part of the body involved (though neither of us are prudes, it's my butt for goodness sakes!), and lastly and most importantly to me, this was an issue that affected me and me only unless I got bad news back. But either way, she would've found out after the specialists visit.

As I said, the arguement was very bad with her saying she could never trust me again, and me saying that I deserve some level of privacy in matters of my health unless and until they affect the family. The arguement ended unresolved, but as the weeks went by I started to see her side of things. Maybe I do have to share every last detail of myself with her, or I'm being secretive. Then, yesterday, I'm serving myself for dinner and she says, "why don't you eat some salad and maybe you'll stop bleeding out of your butt."

I was dumbfounded that she would say something like that and it just reinforces to me that my original thoughts were valid. I'm certain that I will never share something like this with her again. I'm angry, a little humiliated by the comment, and ashamed that I had started doubt myself only to be ridiculed at the dinner table.

If you've read this far, thank you. My questions for the board are: Does a spouse have the expectation of some basic level of privacy? Are there matters that the other spouse doesn't need to know about? Am I justified in feeling the way I do (I've never been accused to being easily offended)?
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NoIinThreesome View Post
If you've read this far, thank you. My questions for the board are: Does a spouse have the expectation of some basic level of privacy? Are there matters that the other spouse doesn't need to know about? Am I justified in feeling the way I do (I've never been accused to being easily offended)?
First yes you deseve a bit of respect when it comes to your own medical issues. My wife and I each take care of our own issues as they come up as we see fit.

There are tons of times I haven't told my wife about little things that are not apart of the marriage. If my store was in a rut how is it her concern unless I have to borrow "household money."

I think your marriage has deeper issues though that need to be addressed and soon.

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Old 11-06-2007, 12:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Privacy in relationships

Good post. My wife is generally supportive and considerate of my feelings so I would have no reason to hide it from her, even though I would be slightly embarassed as it sounds like you where. I can understand why you kept it a secret.
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Old 11-06-2007, 01:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Privacy in relationships

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Originally Posted by NoIinThreesome View Post
Long time lurker, my first post:

Forgive the medical explicitness for those with delicate sensibilities - A month and a half ago, there was quite a bit of blood in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement. I have had blood on the toilet paper before when my hemorrhoids caused discomfort, but a little OTC hydrocortisone cream would usually clear things up. This instance caused me to worry because there was no discomfort. Usually I would chalk it up to my hemorrhoids, but I'm in my mid-30's now with kids, so I thought I had an obligation to my family to have things checked out. I called my doctor (who I had only seen once before 10 years earlier) and made an appointment. Unfortunately, my doctor called the house to confirm the appointment, my wife asked me about it, and I lied about the purpose and called it "just a check-up".
I think you should have just said you where having a few things looked at. Not lying nor embarrassing.


Quote:
I didn't tell my wife about the blood for a few reasons. First, she is a self-professed hypochondriac and I would find her constant worrying a major distraction.
With a problem like that the last thing you needed was the additional stress. In the end you need only account for yourself. I am sure she doesn't explain when she has female inch etc.

Quote:
Second, she tends to know no boundaries when it comes to medical issues and frankly, I wasn't too excited to have my butt the subject of all her questions. Lastly, she is unable to be supportive of me in the manner I need during times like these. A few years ago, I got a vasectomy. The day after, with me in bed sick to my stomach from the Vicodin, groggy and nauseous, she stood over me berating me for not being able to help with the kids on this particular Saturday.
Seems to me like she needs to better her communication skills.

Quote:

I make the appt. with my GP and he refers me to a specialist to get a flex sig (basically, a colonoscopy's little cousin). Five weeks go by before I can get the procedure and I haven't told my wife. I get it done, everything looks fine, I come home and I sit down with my wife. "Honey, everything is fine, but here's what happened and what I did about it..."
So you told her the truth. However sometimes it is how you say something instead of what you say. I would have told her I didn't want you to worry and I was already stressed.

Quote:
My wife goes nuts. First, she's irate that I misled her about the nature of the appointment. Second, she's irate that I didn't tell her about the follow-up. She goes on about how other people don't keep things from their spouses, about how she's not going to live like this, about how this isn't a relationship, and how she's not going to be in a relationship where secrets are kept. Bear in mind, that up until this, things had been going very well for us, so I don't think there was a lot of animosity under the surface - at least not more than usual.
I think not only does she have communication issue, privacy issues but also self control and control issues.


Quote:
My points were: her borderline hypochondria was a distraction, this was a embarrassing issue given the part of the body involved (though neither of us are prudes, it's my butt for goodness sakes!), and lastly and most importantly to me, this was an issue that affected me and me only unless I got bad news back. But either way, she would've found out after the specialists visit.

As I said, the arguement was very bad with her saying she could never trust me again,
It sounds like she never trusted you to begin with and never will.

Quote:
and me saying that I deserve some level of privacy in matters of my health unless and until they affect the family. The arguement ended unresolved, but as the weeks went by I started to see her side of things. Maybe I do have to share every last detail of myself with her, or I'm being secretive. Then, yesterday, I'm serving myself for dinner and she says, "why don't you eat some salad and maybe you'll stop bleeding out of your butt."
I think this only re-enforces the reasons to not tell her stuff. The woman is crass and will use anything against you.

Quote:
I was dumbfounded that she would say something like that and it just reinforces to me that my original thoughts were valid. I'm certain that I will never share something like this with her again. I'm angry, a little humiliated by the comment, and ashamed that I had started doubt myself only to be ridiculed at the dinner table.
I would be humiliated too.

Quote:
If you've read this far, thank you. My questions for the board are: Does a spouse have the expectation of some basic level of privacy? Are there matters that the other spouse doesn't need to know about? Am I justified in feeling the way I do (I've never been accused to being easily offended)?
I already responded to this part above.

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Old 11-06-2007, 02:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I can understand how you would be humiliated by the whole situation, yes. But i can also see why she would be upset too. To put it simply, you lied to her about your motives behind your dr visit. In all honesty, i would be upset too that my husband had an issue and didnt tell me. Wether it be small or big, to me it doesnt matter. I personally would NEVER humiliate either. If i humiliated my husband, then i could see where he wouldnt tell me. Put yourself in her shoes.

Here was my scenario a while back. I went to my ob/gyn for my yearly girl thing and it came back that i could have cancer cells in my cervix. and I had to go back for a follow up. Would my husband be pissed that I didnt tell him? heck yea! Wouldnt you? Even though it had nothing to do with him, i told him. He was concerned but never humiliated me or belittle me about it. Turns out it was nothing.

Honesty is key in every relationship.
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would have to say I understand that you don't like the humilation and she should not do that. But and yes there is a but, turn the tables and feel for a minute how you would feel if it would have been her that went to the dr's for a potential bad diagnosis? Thank goodness it wasn't but what if it was? Then you would have dropped a bomb shell out of left field on her. You don't like how you feel when she humilates her and she would not like the fact that you felt you couldn't tell her about this beforehand.
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Seems that you need to address her tendency to over react, because that is what led you to keeping things to yourself. I hope you reminded her about the vasectomy incident as an example of why you kept things to yourself.
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't see where things are wrong. You told her you were going to the doctors office. I don't many people when they go to doctors/psychologist/counciling etc explain every detail of their pending trip. When you knew what was going on you explained it all to her.

She proved she was not mature to handle the information and really any information you could or would have given her.

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Old 11-07-2007, 12:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Wow. This is a good topic. In my relationship there is 100% full disclosure but that's also because I feel very comfortable in the support of my spouse. I would feel very upset if my husband kept something like this from me.

On the other hand I wouldn't have told your wife either. Ever. I might have even lied and claimed a stomach ache. I don't typically believe in white lies but, from your account, it seems like she has some real deep issues when it comes to sickness and empathy for others. Until she received some help for this or resolved to work on these issues, I'd keep minor issues private.

If possible I'd try to talk to her about this when it's died down a little. If you could have some open communication about the problem, perhaps it could be worked on.
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I want to thank you all for your well thought out replies. A common theme among some of them seems to be, "how would you feel if she kept something similiar from you" I can honestly say I would completely understand. I'm not hypocritical in my belief that some issues can be personal in a marriage - health being one of them. I love my wife and she knows that. Matters of health are distinctly personal. As a spouse, I feel it's my job to be accepting of the way in which she might feel she needed to tell me. Perhaps the ill spouse needs time to accept the possibility of a bad diagnosis. Maybe they're embarrassed about the body parts involved. Maybe they don't want to "cry wolf" and wait until a proper diagnosis has been made. In any case, I feel strongly that it's not about the healthy spouse. To put their "want-to-know" in front of a potentially ill spouses right to deal with their own health in a mentally, physically, and emotionally satisfying way denies the ill spouses right of self-determination.

Next, I'm not sure what %100 full disclosure even means in the context of a marriage. There are any number of things I do in a day which 1)have nothing to do with my spouse, 2)only affect my spouse in the most indirect of ways, and 3)affect her only because she may know one of the parties involved. Most of these things I don't relate to her at the end of the day because of the sheer banality of day-to-day living.

- Does it matter that I tipped the Starbucks woman $1 today because I appreciate her smile every morning at 5:30 AM?

- Does it matter that I interviewed 3 people today at work?

- Does it matter that I got into a minor arguement with one of my suppliers?

- Does it matter that I talked to my mom and sister?

- Does it matter that I went to the dentist? Would it have mattered if I had to get a filling?

I probably won't tell my wife about any of this, but not because I'm withholding anything but because they are just a number of a multitude of everyday instances that individually make no difference at all.

To say that I need to tell her everything (and that she needs to tell me everything) or else we're somehow dishonest with each other ignores the normalcy of day-to-day life. Additionally, it creates an obligation on a spouse to spout every last bit of minutae, lest they be considered dishonest. If this is the way some people here live, then God bless. But I don't think I have enough energy to relate every last detail of my day.

Again, thank you for all your responses.

Last edited by NoIinThreesome; 11-07-2007 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 11-07-2007, 12:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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NoIinThreesome ~ Keep in mind two things.

1) I agreed with you and at some level most of the people here did too.

2) You asked for opinions and they gave them to you. No one is here to be a cheer leader all we can do is offer what we believe on the information we have or understand it. Six people went out of their way to help you, you don't have to agree with them or use their advice.

It was nice that you thank everyone.

As far as the dentist thing that was a bad example for your point. If you have to pay money for something it does affect your wife.

Like I said the simple fact you told her you were going to the doctors was honest and the information she needed to know then. There are things medically I have discussed with my doctor that my wife still doesn't know. No as of I was being mean or with holding but things she'd never understand or might try to hard to fix what she can not.

I don't ask about her obgyn etc. Most couples really don't. I don't always ask her how her day playing WOW went. I do sometimes but never understand the answers anyways.

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Old 11-07-2007, 12:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't ask about her obgyn etc. Most couples really don't. I don't always ask her how her day playing WOW went. I do sometimes but never understand the answers anyways.
I dont want to be controversial but my husband actually does ask me how my dr visits go and how my gaming is going (which btw is WoW lol).
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Old 11-07-2007, 12:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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2) You asked for opinions and they gave them to you. No one is here to be a cheer leader all we can do is offer what we believe on the information we have or understand it. Six people went out of their way to help you, you don't have to agree with them or use their advice.
If I came off as argumentative, I apologize to everyone who took the time to help. It was not my intention to argue with those who posted. I've really been trying to see both sides of the coin, and in doing so, some of the "thinking out loud" process took place in my second post.
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Old 11-07-2007, 12:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I dont want to be controversial but my husband actually does ask me how my dr visits go and how my gaming is going (which btw is WoW lol).
Okay let me rephase when I ask her about her doctors visits and she says good that is good enough for me and I don't need all the details. With me Unless they are changing my diet etc she wouldn't understand either because most of what they are doing with me is experimental. I am a human guinea pig.

I ask her about WOW but don't understand her answers. I am glad she is happy with her day.

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Old 11-07-2007, 12:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I ask her about WOW but don't understand her answers.
Yeah, i explain to him about WoW, all he does is shake his head ok and smile, pretends that he is interested and listening. hehe
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