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Triggering assistance needed ... Cell Phones

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Ann124 posted 10/20/2013 15:35 PM

Having just only spent a few months with SO I am finding myself a bit and red flagging on cell phones. I know this all has to do with my X but my blind faith is a bit off it's radar.

SO and I spend a great deal of time together. Whenever we are together his cell is either left/locked in his car. When it is with him it is on complete silence, no vibration or anything. But this weekend we were in his car driving to breakfast and his phone rings (it was in his glove box ) I made the comment "is that your phone" SO, "Sh*t, yes." We get to our destination, So takes his phone out of the glove compartment and types on his phone and then says: "It was just my XYZ (cell carrier) email bill." Closes his phone puts it back in his glove box. We proceed to breakfast... The next day, I go to his car because I left my glasses in there I look at his phone (which does have a pin lock on it) but I can see there have been 5 misses calls 6 or 7 text messages and 4 voice mails. I proceed to work ... When on my break I call his phone (which was locked in his glove box when I left for work) and he answers right away (I should let you all know we live about an hour apart so on the weekends he spend at my place or me at his). So we talk for a few minutes ... When I get home he puts his phone back on silent and leaves it on the kitchen table.

I have talked to him about how cell phones are a large trigger for me because of X and all his secrecy. SO tries to reassure me that "there is no one else I am the only one he is seeing"

So to finally get to my question for all of you ... I am having an issue with this. He lives alone, so why the pin lock on his phone, why the silencing of his phone in my presence because it apparently isn't silent when I am gone and why he "typed" back (like it was text message instead of an email/bill)to a cell carrier. I am so afraid that there is way more to all of this then the "face value" answers he has given ... Is it just my brokenness from my past? Is this something that I should be even triggering about? I just don't know what to do or to think ....

cluless posted 10/20/2013 15:43 PM

I don't know what your history is, but I can tell you one thing. Your BF or whatever is lying to you. IF he did something with the cell that was damaging to your relationship, then he should have an open cell phone policy. Sounds like more secrets. If he wants a relationship with you and you're willing to stand up for yourself, then it's time he hands over the cell phone for you to inspect WHENEVER. Otherwise... bye bye!

inconnu posted 10/20/2013 15:51 PM

I keep my smart phone locked because it's got other things on it besides who calls and texts me. I also keep my computer password protected for the same reason. There is stuff on both my computer and phone that is private, and I want to limit access to that information.

That being said, my SO knows the passcode/password to both. But, we've been in a relationship for almost 4 years.

Everyone has different cell phone habits. None of what you say your SO does with his waves a red flag for me, but I can see why it might bother you, given your ex. You've talked to you SO about it. He's reassured you. Is there something about what he's saying vs what he's doing that raises a red flag to you?

inconnu posted 10/20/2013 15:54 PM

If he wants a relationship with you and you're willing to stand up for yourself, then it's time he hands over the cell phone for you to inspect WHENEVER

If I'm reading the original post correctly, then she's only been dating this guy a few months, and he is not the reason she's on SI. If I had been dating someone for a few months and they demanded to have access to everything on my cell phone whenever they liked it, I would have told them to fuck off. Just sayin'.

Ann124 posted 10/20/2013 16:07 PM

Yes, we have only been seeing each other for a few months. I completely agree with the "privacy" point. The trigger is from the X because of his affairs. The Red Flag, is the reaction (action) versus the words of SO. Yet, when I brought the subject up and the red flag of the situation SO's reassurance was to tell me that he is not seeing anyone else that I need to take it for face value. I am trying to but I just can't figure out how it keeps eating at my thoughts and is this just a trigger or a real flag with SO. I really feel that there is an underlying fact to the words and actions of SO.

devistatedmom posted 10/20/2013 16:07 PM

Maybe to him it's just bad manners to be on the phone calling/texting when with you? So in his mind, knowing the cell could be a trigger because you told him, he thinks putting it way so it's not even a source of distraction while with you is better?

Just playing devils advocate. It could be totally innocent, or it could be he's up to something. Is there anything else with him that raises red flags? If not, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt, and try to find out why he does this.

Ann124 posted 10/20/2013 16:12 PM

devistatedmom, Great point!

There are no other issues that have caused any triggers or flags...only the cell phone the past couple of weekends. But quit frankly everything else is perfect. And in essences the status of perfect can be a trigger also because I thought that many times when I was married ... May be I am completely just triggering and it is another phase of healing that I am going through to have the ability to build my trusting factors again with a close relationship ...

phmh posted 10/20/2013 16:21 PM

I have a pass code on my phone because my work requires it (I can get work e-mail on it and they pay for it) but now that I have it, I'll always have one, even if my work doesn't require it -- if my phone were to get lost/stolen, I wouldn't want everyone reading my e-mails and texts.

I always put my phone on silent whenever I'm around anyone because I like to be present in the moment and I feel it's extremely rude to answer calls/texts while my focus should be on the person in the room with me (exceptions if I'm expecting an important call, or for other reasons.)

I also don't think it's fair to ask a SO to make special accommodations just because we were betrayed in the past. If someone is triggering badly over innocent behavior solely because of what's happened in a past relationship, I'd question whether that person is ready to be in a relationship, or whether they should take some time off to work on themselves and heal more. Because you're more likely to miss actual red flags or find yourself with a broken partner if you're still stuck in the past.

So, Ann, I think the real question is -- is this solely based on past relationship, or are there other behaviors in this current relationship that are making your gut scream? Differentiating between those things are imperative in order to have a good NB relationship. Best of luck!!! I know this stuff is tough!!!

Ann124 posted 10/20/2013 20:56 PM


Thank you so very much for your post. You are absolutely right ... Other then what I have mentioned there are no real issues and learning/healing from this is the key for me. Thank you!

gardenparty posted 10/20/2013 21:23 PM

We have friends who have those pay as you go phones and very seldom leave them on. It is irritating as heck trying to get hold of them but that is the way they manage their bills.

foreverempty posted 10/21/2013 05:52 AM

Ok, so here's my perspective if I were the other party in your new relationship.

Yes all of the above may be true, there may well be perfectly reasonable explanations for the way he managed his phone.

I always have pin codes for security, not privacy reasons.

However if I was with a person who was showing clear anxieties about my phone behaviour and having known their history, I would be volanteering access to it if you wanted to check, as I would be hiding nothing.

It would not offend me you asking to check as I would be understanding of your position.

Now some people may be able to leave these anxieties and issues behind and move on with a perfectly normal life.

Me personally, I don't think any amount of IC, and no matter who I'm in a relationship with, I'll now always have that element of doubt as my ability to unconditionally trust has been ripped out from inside my chest.

As sad as it is and indeed it is very sad, I think I will always be a phone checker.

Anyone I'm with in the future will need to be able to accept that, and likewise I will always be an open book for any future SO.

If that severely limits my opportunities in dating then so be it if it's what I need to feel safe in my own space.

Maybe that will change, I doubt it, for now I'll be remaining single.

Why not tell him what your feeling, be vulnerable and honest when you are next face to face, maybe after you have been triggered by a phone event, then ask if he would be offended if you took a look in his presence. If he says yes and you find nothing that will instantly put your mind at risk and from his openness you will see how much you mean to him. If he refuses or becomes hugely defensive then you will see that his own privacy, for whatever reason, is more important to him than you are. That would make me very uncomfortable and question our future.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do about this.

hummingbird8 posted 10/21/2013 06:00 AM

Where did you meet SO? Just asking because when I was OLD I dated a guy that acted similar. I thought how respectful finally someone who doesn't have to be on his phone all the time. Turns out even though he said there was no one else and we were exclusive he was still meeting others.

Not saying that's the case but is this your gut talking and you ignoring? For me I would say yes. Good luck.

phmh posted 10/21/2013 06:44 AM

So good to read your response! I'm glad that there's nothing else that is making your gut nervous.

I don't think triggers for life are inevitable. I truly believe it's ultimately a choice. Do you want to wear the label of delicate betrayed spouse forever and request that your SO make special accommodations (which may wind up to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy -- who'd want to be with someone who never trusts them)? Or do you (not you specifically, Ann, but a BS) want to rise above it and become a truly emotionally healthy person? There are tools to achieve the latter.

I was reading a book last night and thinking of this thread. It's called "Search Inside Yourself" and it's by one of the executives at Google who started training sessions based on meditation at Google. Very interesting stuff, and he gives some tips specifically on how to deal with triggers and live more in the moment.

I'm not sure if you're a reader, but I'd recommend it, as I think it could be very helpful to you!

9.10.11 posted 10/21/2013 06:50 AM

Agree with foreverempty.

I gotta say that it is nice to see someone put the phone away and respect the time with you, looking at the positive side.

He just may not quite understand how it feels to have a trigger that brings back such bad memories. I'm sure he feels like he is reassuring you that you are the only one, but not having been in your position...well he just doesn't understand. Not his fault.

Communication is such a big key to him understanding. And ask if you can see his phone. If you can't then you'll know.

Good luck, Ann.

phmh posted 10/21/2013 07:09 AM

And ask if you can see his phone. If you can't then you'll know.

Sorry to keep responding on this thread, but I disagree so strongly with this that I had to post!

This guy has done nothing to raise Ann's suspicions that something is going on. Playing marriage police (or relationship police) is no fun, and I'm sure many of us left our cheaters because we didn't want to do that, and now the suggestion is that Ann starts that with her new beginning relationship?

If I were dating someone and he asked to see my phone, I'd assume he was insecure, controlling, and emotionally unhealthy. I'd break things off.

And not because I have anything to hide, but because it would be indicative of things to come. Major red flag.

If a BS requires special accommodations to date because they are so wounded from their past, they are not ready to date. They need to work on themselves and become secure, emotionally healthy, and happy. (Side note: I suspect this is a large part of the reason why so many second marriages fail -- individuals don't heal themselves first and carry way too much baggage into the next relationship.)

If you react to past triggers, then your gut can't clearly communicate when something is wrong. Ann's response indicates that she is in a healthy place. She sees that this has nothing to do with the new guy. Why would she introduce distrust and insecurity into a relationship where it's totally unnecessary?

Look -- if someone wants to cheat, they're going to cheat. Especially in a long distance relationship like this one. You need to have your eyes open, be emotionally healthy, and trust your gut. But don't go all secret police when it's unwarranted.

[This message edited by phmh at 7:10 AM, October 21st (Monday)]

Ann124 posted 10/21/2013 07:21 AM

After sleeping on this, I really think he is being genuine with the phone not being a bother when we are together. At least that is what I am going to lead with for now. But in the same light, I have to keep my eyes open to the possibility of that this may be a true red flag.

I know enough about myself to realize that I am not being completely trusting and I have to build this trust a bit more with time ... SO and I talked in great length last evening about the phone and I believe that 9.10.11 is spot on in regards to SO having no comprehension of having ever been a BS. But with said I don't want to "wear the label of delicate betrayed spouse forever and request that your SO make special accommodations" (Thank you for pointing this out phmh).

I really need to take a step back and analyze this situation and believe in the facts that SO is nothing like X. With this being said, I have to give the blind faith in order to move forward instead of 5 steps backwards. During our conversation, SO offered his phone for complete transparency ... granted he was at his place and I was at mine. But I have to take this offer with blind faith and understanding from his point of view.

I can't thank all of you enough for your input in regards to this situation ... All of you have given me such great perspective versus me jumping off the deep end.

foreverempty posted 10/21/2013 10:08 AM


It's great you are in a place that you feel you can trust again, it really is and it's entirely your perogative to feel that way about anyone in a new relationship if they asked you that question. I envy you.

Unfortunately for me personally, I don't think I will EVER be there with you.

My experiences almost killed me, blindsided me as it did many of us and has led me to not only be without my wife but also without my daughter too.

I am emotionally damaged in a way I can only paper over the cracks but ultimately the cracks are still well and truly there.

Those cracks and insecurities leave me a man with baggage that anyone in my future will hopefully understand, and as much as I won't push it in someone's face, it will be there none the less.

It's a shame, as I'm still very much an amazing person with a lot to give someone in a comitted relationship.

I will NEVER be able to trust like I once did ever again. I hate that it's one of the biggest things that I felt was a positive quality in me but I will never get it back ever.

I can't expose myself to that level of risk and I would completely understand the same in anyone I was with without judgement or prejudice...

Spirit13 posted 10/21/2013 10:26 AM


I'm sorry but I think you are completely right to be triggering. I see you posting a perfectly normal question and then letting yourself be talked out of your suspicion. If your gut is starting to ping then pay attention!

I think is is really weird he puts his phone in the glove box! Why doesn't he keep it with him? Obviously when he is at work he keeps it with him. So when he is with you on the weekends he keeps it locked in the car and on silent the whole time??? that is weird, I'm sorry - who does that? He has all those missed calls, voicemails and text messages and is making no attempt to call anyone back in your presence? I would have grabbed that phone and taken it over to him and said "Hey, I was getting my glasses and saw your phone... obviously someone is trying to get a hold of you! It might be important. You better check it!" (but I'm passive aggressive that way)

Make it a point to start leaving things in the glove box so you have to go back out and get them! Then you can put this plan in action! Then if he won't check it in front of you or tell you who it is.... you know you have a problem. I'm kind of joking but kind of not.

I do think it is a big red flag personally.

Weatherly posted 10/21/2013 12:08 PM

I can see how this would be triggering.

I married a man who has to have his phone password protected for work. I have the password, but never use it. And, I didn't have the pass code for quite awhile. this is new. And, he gets a LOT of messages, calls, e-mails for work.It was annoying to listen to it go off all day, so I made some comment about it one day, and now, when he gets home on friday he silences it, or put it in the night stand (or both) for most the weekend, gets it out again on Monday.

So, maybe there is a small yellow flag, but, I wouldn't let it upset me too much right now.

Spirit13 posted 10/21/2013 12:23 PM

I don't think the pin lock is fishy. My employer also requires a pin lock.

But the phone RANG when the carrier sent his bill? Come on! That doesn't happen! A text or email chime perhaps but it doesn't ring like a call coming in.

He put his phone in the glove box where it proceeds to ring and text like crazy. As soon as she went to work he went out there and got it, turned it off silent and kept it in the house. Then AFTER she returns home from work he put it back on silent.

That is fishy as heck.

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