Potty Privacy!

My boyfriend (we can call him Jake) and I have been together for about 3 years, we are both 24. We dont live together but I sleep over at his house pretty much every day. Jake and I communicate very candidly, and we are both comfortable enough with each other to have awkward conversations.

My problem is that he thinks its okay, normal, funny… ect to walk into the bathroom when I am using it. I don’t have a problem with him coming in if I am brushing my teeth, flossing, plucking, or whatever other grooming I may be doing. I don’t think anyone should see me going to the bathroom. I feel like that is a very private thing. I am not one of those girls who pretend like guys don’t know girls poop or fart. He has become almost obsessed with finding out when I am doing this. The lock on the door doesn’t work because, new doors were put in incorrectly. It wouldn’t really matter though, because even when there was a working lock, he would pick the lock to come in. I have tried all kinds of ways to get him to stop. I have discussed it calmy, telling him how it bothers me and why, tried freaking out when he does it, rewarding him when he goes a while without doing it, and nothing works. He says he doesn’t understand why since he knows thats what I am doing in there anyway. At his parents house they all do the same thing, so I see where he gets it from. Even with company over they will leave the door open while they use it. Growing up my mom used to do this same thing, and we all hated it. I told myself that I never want to be that way.

Another thing I would do is say I wont stay over if it keeps happening, but I always just give in, because I want to stay the night with him or also because I am just too lazy to drive the 45 minutes back to my house.
Any ideas on how to stop this?

You’ve got to put your foot down. Next time he does it, pull your pants up and leave.

What do you mean by “at his parents house they all do the same thing?” Like, have his parents walked in on you while you were on the toilet?

Have you considered that maybe he has a fetish?

Pepper spray.

To do that, you’ll need both feet down.

I pee with the door open. My boyfriend does not. Everything else done with privacy given/taken. I’ve never thought there was anything charming/funny/cute/worth sharing about farting or pooping in front of another. It would fill me with horror if someone barged in while I was pooping. But I was raised with that perspective. Some people aren’t & have no clue why others would feel horrified about it. If he can’t respect your wishes when you make it plain that privacy is non-negotiable, then leave every time he does it. He’ll figure it out. And if he doesn’t, maybe you should wonder in what other ways he might not respect you.

They dont walk in on me, but will walk in on each other. I dont think its a sexual fetish, but you never know!

That’s the point at which I would be out of there. Going to those lengths to do something you have specifically asked him not to do (as opposed to just neglecting NOT to do something—i.e., he is actively choosing this rather than passively defaulting into it and just needing reminders) is DTMFA territory for me.

Perfect! funny thing is he recently got me pepper spray since I work late hours and have to walk in the dark to my car.

He probably has a pee or scat fetish, but whether or not he does, it doesn’t matter. His lack of respect for your personal boundaries is a total dealbreaker (unless you’re a complete pushover), and it’s only going to get worse over time.

The next time he does it, if there is a next time, LEAVE.

Get one of those braces that wedges-in under the door knob. Like this:


What would you do if he hacked your e-mail?

Eavesdropped on your phone conversations?

Posted intimate pictures of you on the internet without your knowledge?
All, also fundamental respect issues.

Yeah, that’s an appalling lack of respect he’s showing for you. First rule of relationships: you don’t need to know why someone sets a particular boundary, you just need to respect it.

I think I’d sit him down, explain that this is unacceptable, and ask him how he plans on solving the problem. If he insists it’s not a problem, reiterate that it’s a problem for you, emphasize that you’re in no mood to joke, and ask him how he plans on solving it. At this point he either promises to stop, or he refuses to treat it seriously.

If he refuses to take it seriously, I’d suggest leaving, then and there–as in, have your stuff ready to go before the conversation, and politely refuse to discuss anything else with him. Let him know that you’re ready to hear from him when he’s ready to discuss how he’s going to address the problem, but that the ball is in his court.

If he claims he’ll stop, and he continues, then yeah–finish, leave, and don’t return until there’s some recognition on his part of the inappropriateness of his disrespect for your boundaries.

That, or DTMFA.

The real root of your problem lies right there. If you want him to change, you need to change. When you change your behaviour, his will follow. Until then, you have my very best wishes of good luck.

I was fine until this part.

Look, some people pee and/or poop with the door open and it’s no big deal. Others don’t, and it is a big deal. So, the fact that you have two different perspectives is, in and of itself, not the problem

The problem, however, is the part I quoted above. That’s … seriously fucked up. He’s doing this because he knows it bothers you, which is even worse than doing something despite knowing it bothers you (which is bad enough).

Does he ever do that thing where he makes a cruel joke at your expense and then says “Just kidding! It was a joke!” and/or “Oh, you’re too sensitive.” when you protest?


My family is much more the open door type (tho’ we do tend to respect gender boundaries; I won’t barge in on my dad, but I will on my mom - that sort of thing), while SpouseO’s maintains the closed-door policy. After we married, I kind of assumed that we’d do the open door thing (mainly cuz that’s what I’d do), but he was all, “Nope! Closed door! Some things are private!” So we shower and whatnot open door, but close it for peeing and pooing. And I totally respect that and have no problem honoring his preference.

Your boyfriend’s strange for not doing so. And doubly strange for picking the lock - that shit ain’t right.

Count me as one of those people who doesn’t care if someone sees me on the toilet. I live alone, so I often forget to close the door. In the past, when I had multiple roommates, sometimes having only one bathroom meant that someone came in to use the toilet when you were in the shower. It wasn’t a big deal for me.

What your boyfriend is doing is really obnoxious and beyond cute and funny. It shows a real lack of respect for you. So what that it’s not a problem for him? You’ve made it clear that it bothers you and you want him to stop.

I’m with everyone else. If it really is a big deal to you, then next time he does it, leave. Make the 45 minute drive home. Or get used to him not respecting your boundaries.

I just re-read the OP and noticed some details I’d skimmed over earlier:

  • early-twenties couple, been together since they turned 21:

I must tell you, most relationships formed then don’t last. People go through an enormous amount of personal growth and change during that time, and it’s rare for them to change in parallel. Much more common for people to grow apart as their values shift and they transition from dependent youth to independent adult. (Or, not, as the case may be, in which case the one who does grow and change will no longer want to be with the one who didn’t.)

  • 45-minute drive, one way:

No way in hell am I driving fourty-five goddamn minutes to have someone watch me pee. There’s no way the sex/cooking/conversation is good enough to make up for that.

  • “I always just give in …”

Well, there’s your problem right there, girl. Honestly, there’s a lot in your post that reminds me of myself at that age, and I’ve always wished I could go back in time and slap some sense into myself. Took me too long to learn that I have to stand up for myself, because, really, nobody else will.

Not necessarily. She could be a good hopper.

I agree that this needs to be a dealbreaker. What is so urgent that he needs in the bathroom to pick the lock to get in? The only thing I can think of is if he has to go himself. Which he can’t if you’re on the can.