In our society the couple is usually the focus. The emphasis on “we” often leaves out what each person wants in their life. The “I” is important! Individuals in my practice often lament the loss of privacy once they are in a relationship.

We all need freedom to be who we want to be. This gets lost in many marriages and other intimate relationships. The couple is not the lowest common denominator. The self is. If a partner demands to know everything we think, feel and do, we lose our privacy, and we can lose interest too.

There is a distinction between privacy and secrecy. Secrecy is not a good thing, as it undermines trust in a relationship. However, we should not lie to protect our privacy. This all gets heated when we deal with sexual issues. To some partners no one has the right to look at pornography without considering it cheating, while to others this is simply part of a person’s privacy.

It is a mistake to allow insecure partners to infringe on privacy in the name of love.  It is not love to demand and check on a partner’s internet history. It is being insecure. Catering to an insecure partner makes it difficult to have privacy, or to be happy as a person in a relationship.

It is not OK to lie to a partner, but is not OK to demand details which affect privacy either. For example, a person’s masturbation fantasies and practices are private, not something that must be revealed or confessed. It is not OK to go through a partner’s phone or computer searching for what the searching partner sees as “betrayal.” It is unfair to assume something that has not been clearly agreed upon.

Without privacy, people feel that they are not free. This makes some lose interest in a marriage or another relationship. This can lead to a breakup or divorce. The answer is to see a therapist for couples counseling and sometimes for sex therapy. I am both a couples’ counselor and a certified sex therapist.

I see lots of couples who are trying to deal with insecurities, jealousies, envy and similar negative emotions and behaviors. When a partner demands full disclosure about everything, there is no mystique left to maintain a strong attraction to the partner and the relationship.

Jealousy is a sign of insecurity.  It is not a sign of love. Neediness is not healthy for relationships. The answer is to be reassuring and loving, but not by telling a partner what they want to hear. We need to be honest with ourselves and as honest as we can with our partners.  There is a fine line between honesty and sensitivity. We need to be honest without being insensitive.

The insecure partner may need individual counseling as well as couples’ counseling. Sometimes sexual, mental or physical trauma from the past sets people up to be insecure, demanding and even violent. I refer to trauma therapists when I work with the couple when this is appropriate.

The possessive, insecure partner often thinks they are the normal one, but this is not true. They may tell their friends and family that their partner is doing something they disapprove of.  None of this helps a relationship prosper.

If we are losing ourselves in a relationship, we need to seek appropriate therapy. I offer a one stop shop, as I do both couples counseling and sex therapy. I refer out when necessary, but individual therapy alone will not solve a relationship problem. I coordinate the entire effort.