how our polyamorous clients build thriving relationships

Stop Showing Your Partners Your Texts!

When you’re non-monogamous, should you let your partner read your texts?

We get this question a LOT. And if you’re struggling to balance privacy and transparency in your relationships, you’re not alone.

When you’re feeling insecurity or mistrust, this kind of radical transparency can seem like an easy solution. 

But is it ethical? Does it work? 

Here’s the definitive answer we give our clients.

Watch this episode now!


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Cassie 0:20
Here at Touch of Flavor, we teach non-monogamous folks how to overcome their obstacles and build thriving relationships.

Josh 0:26
This podcast is about answering one question, how do you create loving, passionate, secure relationships outside the box? Even if nothing has ever worked before? If you want to know the answer, you're in the right place.

Cassie 0:38
All of this information is 100%. Free. So please subscribe to and review our podcasts.

Josh 0:44
Hello hello, everybody. I just want to make something really clear here. Okay. Are you ready? Stop sharing your text messages with your partners. Okay, listen. I wanted to hop on to talk about this. This is one of the questions that we get the most. Whether it's people we're working with in our course Whether it is folks I'm talking to. Whether it is just in the Facebook group-- This is a question we see all the time. Is this question of when you're in an existing relationship, and you're non-monogamous, how much transparency is enough? And how much is oversharing? And this one of the few places that there isn't a-- around some of these things anyways, and I'll get more into this in a second. There isn't "this is specific to your relationship, your agreements," but there is actually... there is a way that you want to do this, and a way that you don't want to do this. So hang out, I'm going to share that with you.

Josh 2:21
And I want to keep this really specific, because as I said, you know, the question of how much do we share? How much do we share? It's nuanced. And it's something that comes to a lot of agreements, a lot of discussions, it's specific to the people in it. But there's a place that people constantly butt up against. That is not. That isn't specific. That is just, "there's the one way and there's the other way." And this is where we see the questions come up a lot of times, and this is around this idea of transparency. And what do I mean by transparency? So I'm using transparency in the way that I hear most people who are talking to you about this, use it. And what that means is "I am transparent with my partner. And that means my partner can go into my phone. They can read my texts with my other partners. They can look at my emails. They can go into my OKCupid inbox. They can see my correspondence with my other partners. And I am transparent in that way. Because we're being open, we're being honest, we're being transparent with each other, we're laying everything on the table. And that's how we approach things. That's what makes everybody comfortable. That's what let's everyone know everything is on the level. And that's how it goes." And that's the kind of transparency that I'm talking about. It's this idea that your partner should be able to have your passcode to your phone, have the log onto your email, should be able to look at your stuff. And that that is how you're going to do things. That's the kind of transparency that we're talking about.

Josh 4:09
This is really common. This is a really, really common arrangement to have, especially if you're newer to non-monogamy. Or you've run into problems before or there's been broken trust. This kind of transparency. It's really common. Like I said, this is something that we actually have to work with our clients on all the time. Because it's common. And also if you throw in there some people here who are kinky, and you throw in power exchange into the mix. And then it can become common in the context of the power exchange as well. Like if I'm the dominant, I should have access to things. So this is really common. This is really common, and it's really problematic And if you've been doing this, there's nothing wrong with you. There's nothing--like I said, this is a pretty common thing. But I'm going to talk about the challenges and why you should stop doing it. And what you should be doing instead. So in this, like I said, this is a place that when we're working with clients, this isn't like, "Okay, well negotiate this. And if this works for you, everybody's happy with this, you do it." This is a spot that we tell them to stop. And, to talk about this, we have to start with why people do this. Beyond-- we talked here a live or two ago about just how much great to us things that sound like a really good idea, but don't work. And this definitely falls into this category. So sometimes people do it purely because they've heard that this is the right way to do things. But that's not usually the case.

Josh 6:03
Really, at the end of the day, what most people are looking for, when they set up this kind of arrangement is they're looking for security. They're looking for security, that their partner isn't doing anything behind their back. They're looking for security, that their partner is keeping to their agreements. They're looking for security, that they're not going to be replaced. Or they're looking for security in the sense that they're feeling jealous, and they're worried. But they think that if they can just have access to this kind of stuff, they can have this transparency, they can see these conversations that are really going on that, then they will feel better. Then they will have that security, because they have this check. Things aren't gonna get out of whack. They're going to know. They're going to be kept abreast of what's going on. They don't have to worry about their partner not mentioning things that maybe they should mention. They don't have to wonder if their partner has told this person they love them. They don't have to wonder what those interactions are. They don't have to wonder how that relationship is growing. And it gives them a sense of security. And it gives them a sense of control.

Josh 7:33
And sometimes this is one person in a relationship. And sometimes it's both. And that's why people go into this and like I said, these are these are, number one, reasonable things to want. Obviously, we all want security in our relationships. And like I said, this seems like a great way to do that. You kind of keep your eye on everything. You have a good gist of what's going on. You don't have to rely on your partner to tell you this stuff. So you know, it seems like a great way to accomplish feeling really secure in our relationship and really solid in where we're standing with our partner. And that these other relationships aren't getting to a point that we're not okay with. So what's the problem? Why are we telling you not to do this? Well, there's two. There's two problems. And I want to start with, there's actually a moral issue here. And again, I'm not saying this, as a make wrong if you've been doing this. A lot of people do. A lot of our clients have. That's normal. But I bring this up because this is something most people don't think of. And this is the privacy and the autonomy of the other people involved in your relationship. So I'm going to start here because this is the easier piece of this to tackle. And it gets left out a lot for people. People don't think about it.

Josh 9:05
So most of the time for people --I'm just gonna use Cassie as an example. If I'm in relation with Cassie, and we're doing non-monogamy. And I, for whatever reason need this added security. Really the focus here what I'm thinking about is us and our relationship and wanting that to be solid, wanting us to feel safe, me to feel secure in all of this. But there is a another human being or human beings involved in this beyond just Cassie and I. And even if Cassie is totally fine with his level of transparency, which is not always the case, a lot of times there's one person who's pushing for this and the other person who's not. But let's say for the sake of argument that Cassie is totally fine with it. And so now we're making an agreement that we're sharing this level of transparency. Well, that's cool. Here's the problem. An agreement has to include the people that it impacts. And if I now have open access to let's just say Cassie's phone, that doesn't just impact me and Cassie. That impacts every single other person that's communicating with Cassie. And who has not now consented to this arrangement.

Josh 10:31
And, I would ask you to ask this for yourself from another end. If you're sending a love note, or sext, or whatever, to somebody that you like, and you care about, and you're sending your dick pic, or whatever. Are you are you really comfortable with some random person that you've never met and don't even know is looking through your stuff is looking through the other end of that? Answer's probably no. And it's easier to see when you're looking at it from another person's point of view. But the fact of the matter is, like I said, every single person who Cassie is communicating with, is now impacted by this agreement that we have made-- that didn't include the people that it needed to, which is all of these other people. Even the person she exchanged three messages with on OkCupid. And it didn't go any further. Because these people are humans who have the autonomy and who have and should have some privacy in their communications unless they're consenting otherwise. And if they're not consenting, there is a ethical problem with what we're doing. Theoretically, and this is one of those things that sounds great but again, theoretically could work but in reality is a problem. Theoretically, if every single person that Cassie is communicating with: her friends, her partners, that person who sent her three messages on OKCupid, the mother-in-law, who I might happen to run across that message in her phone, who might not might be having a conversation and talking about something that's kind of private-- if I had consent from every single person that Cassie is communicating with, whose stuff I could potentially run across, then cool. That would be fine. But realistically, that's not going to happen.

Josh 12:38
So again, there's an ethical challenge. And I would really just encourage you, and maybe this is something you never thought of before. And I'd really encourage you to consider the privacy and the autonomy of the other people who have had no say in this agreement that you two are making. So that's the first piece is there is actually a moral, ethical, however, you want to put a piece of this that needs to be considered. This isn't just about an agreement between you two. It isn't just about what works and what isn't. There are ethical considerations here, as far as other humans and their privacy. But let's take it past that, because that that is not the only problem. And that isn't-- I don't want to say it's not the biggest problem-- I don't really know. I don't know how you weigh what the bigger problem is. But it's not the most impactful problem with this kind of transparency.

Josh 13:48
A lot of times the real the most impactful piece of this is that not only does it not work at all. But it almost always exasperates, the very problems that you are trying to solve by doing it. What do I mean by that? Well, like I said, when folks do this-- when folks come to this kind of arrangement and agreement, they're looking for a level of security and certainty. But that is not what's going to happen here. First off, because everybody involved knows that if your partner is really trying to be sneaky, they're going to be sneaky. In a way that they know you don't have open access to. They're going to do something else. This doesn't magically solve a problem of not trusting your partner to communicate to you. Or to communicate to you or to be trustworthy or to keep to their agreements or anything like that. Because they would just do go do something else. So that's the first piece.

Josh 15:04
The second piece is when you're doing this, you will in almost every case create jealousy and fear and insecurity for yourself by looking at these things. And there's a couple things with that. Number one is just when you're going into and you're in a spot of feeling insecure, which is why people set up these arrangements to begin with, you're kind of going into it with tinted glasses on. And there's a reason that I'm wearing these. I've got these these blue light blockers here, that I can wear to help me out when I'm around too much blue light from the computers. You might have seen me wearing them before. They have these amber lenses to them. So they're pretty cool. They work but when I'm wearing them, as you can imagine, everything is tinted amber. And it changes how things look. Easy example, family is playing RISK. And I had to actually--we were playing at night, I was wearing these-- and I had to actually switch the colors of my pieces, because I couldn't tell that they're between blue and black. And I couldn't tell whose armies was where. And so whenever we have-- the things that we see are always kind of colored by the way that we're viewing them.

Josh 16:46
And so, when you go into looking at messages, and sexts and dating things, and these cutesy things between your partner and other people, and you do that from a place of insecurity, you will find things to make you more insecure, I promise you. We deal with this every single day with with clients. You will find reasons to be insecure, you will look at that picture and decide that that person is hotter than you and sexier than you. You will see this text and you will compare and wonder like when is the last time your partner talked to you like that? You will see that "I love you." and you will just lock up inside. So that's part of it. Part of it is these lenses. That you're going into-- you're already feeling insecure, which is why you're doing this. But now you're finding more reasons to be insecure. But the other piece of this, and this is the really solid truth, is that for most people, unless you're a really specific kind of person-- there's some people who are like really serious voyeurs. Unless you are that kind of person, where you're like a really serious voyeur, or you're into like cucking in some fashion or something like that, you're just not going to feel great about seeing some of these things between your partner and other people.

Josh 18:33
Cassie and I have been non-monogamous for most of our relationship. I mean, we teach on this. We do this everyday. We help people through their non-monogamy. We are some of the most non-monogamous people you will ever meet. I mean, we're coaches where we live this. We have a throuple living at home. We have other partners. And also, I don't look at Cassie's messages intentionally. Not just for the ethical reasons, but because I don't want to see that shit. That's not gonna make me feel good. It doesn't matter how poly I am. Watching her sweet talk another partner, or have another submissive sending her pictures or doing assignments for her. Or seeing her sext somebody and me not getting that picture that she sent them. It's not gonna frickin feel good. It doesn't matter. Unless you're a really specific kind of person. It doesn't matter how secure you are. It doesn't matter how poly you are. It's not going to feel good to read your partner's mail. And so, beyond just the ethical problem, the problem that you run into is you go into this looking for more security, and it will always, always, always, no matter how poly you are, no matter how-- I guess always is really strong-- 99% of the time unless you are a really specific kind of person, and the kind of person who is asking for this out of fun, rather than needing any kind of security, doing this will make you more insecure. You are making the problem that you're trying to solve worse. And that is the most impactful piece of this. The most impactful piece of this is that you are trying to get more secure, and you will always wind up feeling less secure. And when you will feel less secure, you will want more access, and you will have more access, and you will feel less secure. And it is this vicious cycle that we see over and over and over again with people. And it is why when we are working with our clients, we have this conversation about them needing to break out of this, because it just makes those problems worse.

Josh 21:13
And so you will wind up in a spot where you do this, where like I said, you're going to see that love note. You're going to see that sext. You're going to see your partner send a sext and wonder why you didn't get that. You're gonna see that them sending you a sext, and you're gonna wonder if they're prettier than you, or they're better equipped than you. Or you're gonna see your partner's dating site messages and wonder why they're getting so many and you're getting so few. You're gonna see them just have this conversation. It is not going to feel good. You're just gonna feel worse. And you'll feel more insecure and more uncertain about the future of your relationship, and more comparing of yourself to all these other people or even this one other person in your partner's life. And you're just going to feel worse and worse and worse. So how do you break out of this? When we're working with our clients, how is it we talked them through this? And I've got no problem sharing this with you. The way that you break out of this, and this is where we start with our clients, is to understand this for what it really is.

Josh 22:34
This is a crutch. When you want this kind of transparency, and this is what you feel like you need, it is because you are feeling jealous. You are feeling insecure. There's stuff going on. And so instead of dealing with that stuff, you use this as a crutch to try and feel more secure. And then it just backfires for all the reasons we discussed. And so the way that you break out of this is, number one, understand that this is a crutch. This is a crutch. And then from there, you can look at what is it a crutch for? Anytime we're doing things that are making us uncomfortable. You need to ask yourself, what is it that you are getting from this. Because anytime you're continuing a behavior that you don't like or that you think you shouldn't be doing or that is causing you pain. And it's because you're getting something out of that. So when you're looking at this and you've been in a situation, you've had this transparency, and you've looked at these texts or these pictures, and it's UGH inside, but you're still doing it, what you do is you ask yourself, because you know it's hurting you to do it-- I've never ran across a single client who again, unless they're that like 1% of people who finds this exciting, didn't know that when they read these things, it just hurts them inside. And so you ask yourself, "So I'm doing this thing that's hurting, what am I getting from that? Or what do I think I'm getting from that?" And maybe the answer is you don't trust your partner. There's broken trust and that has been dealt with. Maybe the answer is you don't have really solid agreements or you don't trust your partner to keep to your agreements. Maybe the answer is the idea of your partner falling in love with somebody else terrifies you. And this is a way you can make sure that's not happening. Maybe the idea is you're worried your partner is going to find somebody prettier or sexier or more handsome or more fun than you and if you can just see these messages, you'll know that isn't the case. Until you find 10 reasons to convince yourself that's exactly what's happening in the messages.

Josh 25:14
So step one, like I said, is to realize that it's a crutch. Step two, is to ask yourself, what is it a crutch for? What is it that you are scared of? That you are worried about? That is left in the wind? That you're feeling insecure about? That you're trying to use this to compensate for? And then once you figure out what those things are, the solution is not, as we said, to have this this transparency. The solution is to fix those places, that you're insecure. It's the fix those places that there's not trust. It's to reconnect. If the problem is that you aren't feeling well by your partner, and you don't want them to love somebody else, it's to work through the jealousy. If you're just like drowning in that jealousy and anxiety, it is to get agreements in place that actually work. It's to get to a place where you can trust your partner to actually build that trust, where you trust him to keep those agreements. It's to get the stuff in place to where your partner is bringing back the things that you do need to know, so you're not having to try and get that by looking through all of their shit. And then making yourself feel worse. Whatever it is, you fix the things that are wrong.

Josh 26:45
You get to a place where you are having that trust in your partner, that they're going to keep their words, where you know that you are navigating things the right way. So there's not any like unexpected landmines to where you know that you have so much love and passion from your partner that you don't care if they get something somewhere else. To where you are so secure in your relationship, and the future and what that looks like that you don't need to try and get that for me to your partner's texts. And here's what's awesome. Not only does that actually work, as opposed to this transparency, which doesn't and does the opposite. But you actually improve your relationship along the way. You fix those things that aren't working. You really address the root causes. And in doing that, not only do you get that confidence, and that security, but you build an amazing, thriving, awesome trusting relationship along the way, because that's the only way you get that level of security to begin with. And guess what? Then it's awesome! Then instead of like being in fear, and worry, and trying to deal with it by looking at your partner's phone, everything's just so freaking amazing, that you're like, "Why the hell would I want to look at their phone and feel worse about things?Stuff's great. Why would I want to find reasons to be upset with something that's awesome?" And that's where you want to get.

Josh 28:23
Now, the reason people don't do that is because that is not easy. It is much easier to be like, "Hey, I'm just going to look at your phone." People could figure out how to do that. But most people-- solving these bigger challenges is places that they don't know how to do, or they would have done it already. And that's perfectly normal. Like I get it. This is where our clients are at. That's why when our clients come to us, so many of them have these transparency arrangements in place, because they have all these other things that they've been trying to fix forever, and they can't, so they compensate. And they use a crutch. But when we solve those problems, then they can get rid of it, and they get rid of that crutch, and they can have that true security. So here's the thing, maybe you're in a spot where there is stuff that is going on, that you have good reason, because there usually is good reason to be jealous, and to feel insecure, and to not trust and to wonder what the future looks like. And you're stuck there because you've tried to fix it. And it hasn't worked and I get it. But guess what, these are the problems that we deal with and solve for people every single day. So instead of shoving that down and having that all actually in the back of your mind and trying to deal with it by doing this transparency stuff and actually making things worse-- Reach out for help.

Josh 29:54
Like this is what we do all day every day. We help people just like you through these exact same challenges and get out of that place of being insecure, and not trusting and worried about being replaced. And living in that anxiety and that worry and that fear and that unknown, and get them to a place to where their relationships are so freakin awesome. And they have so much trust and security, that they no longer need the crutch. And everything's more awesome along the way. So if that is something that you would like for yourself, book a free call, and let's come up with a plan. We'll hop on. We'll chat. We can talk and kind of walk you through a plan of what steps you need to take, because it'd be specific to your situation, depending on what's happening to get you to where you're at. And the reasons for that, and what that crutch is. And we'll help you figure that out. Like, what is it that you're using this to try and compensate for and from there, we come up with a plan for how you can fix that. Get that true security and certainty in your relationship, or relationships.

Josh 31:07
Alright, so go to You'll go to a calendar, pick a time, hop on the phone, let's chat. I'm happy to talk you through it. And we'll go from there. And what you'll find, and this is what's so awesome, is that when you approach things this way of actually addressing the root issues instead of using a crutch, not only do you actually get that security and get that trust, but as I said, you get to make your relationships freakin amazing and epic along the way. Because doing that is how you get that true security in your relationship to begin with. All right,, happy to help you through it. And until next time.

Josh 31:56
Thanks for tuning into today's show, we release new episodes every week. So make sure to subscribe.

Cassie 32:02
If you're ready to transform your relationship and you'd like to see if you're a fit to work with us, here's what I want you to do next: head over to and book an appointment to speak with our team. We'll get on the phone with you for about an hour. And we'll get you crystal clear on three things: what's really not working in your relationships, what your dream relationships would look like and a step-by-step plan to close the gap and save your family even if nothing has worked before.

Josh 32:30
We talk with hundreds of non-monogamous folks like you every year. And here's the truth: building loving, thriving relationships-- that doesn't happen on its own. You need expert guidance to make that happen. And unfortunately, when you are building relationships outside the box, that's impossible to find and we get it. But that's exactly what we do. We've helped clients all over the world, save their families, get the passion back and become best friends again.

Cassie 32:54
So if you want to see if we can help you do the same head over to I'm Cassie.

Josh 33:02
And I'm Josh. Let's talk soon.