Is It Ever Okay To Snoop On Your Partner?

July 31, 2017  |  

I was dating my ex for over a year when I first started snooping. I was young, in love and slightly suspicious. There was no proof of him cheating, but he was a college football star playing at another school so I let the typical stereotypes about athletes being the big men on campus get to me.

When I did snoop in his dorm room, I found items from women, such as cards with sweet nothings written in them and random gifts that didn’t come from me (or his mom). But when confronted, my ex charmed his way out of trouble and we moved past it. Despite all my investigative work, when I found what I was looking for I didn’t leave, which is the case for many. Still, I at least had the information I needed.

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Even if snooping is a bad idea, that doesn’t mean many don’t do it. In a recent survey, YouGov quizzed more than 1,100 people and found that 72 percent of the respondents have “spied on their partner’s texts and social media communications” without the other person knowing.

Like the aforementioned snoopers, my antics carried over to my next serious relationship. Many things I “found” via text or email were misunderstandings (or so I assumed), and after that relationship ended (over irreconcilable differences and not my snooping actually), I vowed that I would never invade a partner’s privacy again. After all, if I feel like I have to snoop, then I need to leave the relationship since the trust is nonexistent.

In the past though, I used to fool myself into thinking that I really did trust my exes but that I was just “checking to make sure” they weren’t being deceitful or involved in anything they shouldn’t be. But psychotherapists say that snooping is a sign of not only a trust issue and lack of open communication, but it’s also a dysfunctional way to deal with a concern about a partner’s cheating. Many suggest being upfront about your worries, but what if actually confronting your partner about possible infidelity doesn’t work? Can you really expect them to respond positively about you asking him or her about their alleged transgressions? And if you really have doubts about your partner’s loyalty, how far would you go to confirm your suspicions and get the intel you need to make a decision to stay or go?

When simply checking social media, emails or text messages doesn’t work, some go to great lengths by purchasing software to assist in their snooping. According to Comparitech, spy apps are being used more and more to monitor phone calls, text messages and even web browsing history of cell phones. This, despite the fact that such actions are illegal. But with such apps costing less than $100, they are becoming accessible to everyday concerned significant others and not just professional investigative companies anymore.

But is snooping ever excusable? What if your partner is possibly doing something detrimental to their health? Take for example a person hiding a substance abuse problem. Would following their whereabouts and conversations be warranted? While I initially thought it sounded sensible, I now realize that communicating your fears or concerns for them may be the better and more responsible approach as opposed to invading one’s privacy as a means to show you care.

Regardless of how you twist it, spying on your partner will not lead to a happy ending. If you find something, it’s a loss. If you’re caught digging into their personal items, it’s a loss. If you feel you continuously need to snoop after finding nothing, it’s a loss. Instead, focusing on fostering open lines of communication in your relationship, keeping your eyes and ears open but trusting until it’s proven that you can’t, and following your intuition will give you what you need without sacrificing someone else’s privacy — or your sanity.

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