Snooping: can it ever be justified?


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Many women secretively look through the cell phone of their partner – to catch them out or allay their own fears. The question is: Is it ever justified to do so? …

It’s the middle of the night. Pete has disappeared into the bathroom and has left his cell phone lying on the bedside table. You’ve been wondering why he’s been secretive about his phone lately, and you burn with curiosity and suspicion. Adrenaline rushes through you and you lean forward to pick up the phone and scroll through it.

Does this sound familiar? Many women secretively look through the cell phones of their partners – to catch them out or allay their fears. The question is: Is it ever justified to do so? The answer – simply and emphatically – is ‘No!’. It is never okay to violate your partner’s trust by reading his private messages or looking through his e-mails and photos. Here’s why:

You know intrinsically that it is wrong

When we do things we are proud of we tell people about it. But when have you ever heard a friend ever announce to a group, “Well guys, he’s as clean as a whistle. I’ve checked his phone and there is nothing there at all. I can relax.” No, this never happens, because we are too ashamed to tell people (except close friends) what we’ve done. This is an indication that what you are doing is wrong! So, next time you feel the need to check his phone, ask yourself if this is the person you want to be.


If the tables were turned…

Jealousy and suspicion are not attractive traits in partners. When you were single and making lists of traits you wanted in a future husband, I’ll bet you never added ‘jealous’, ‘suspicious’ or ‘mistrusting’ to the list? Imagine being married to someone who doesn’t trust you? Who reads your diary when you leave the room, or snoops through your phone? Imagine how quickly that would cool your ardour for your loved one. Imagine how quickly you would lose respect for your partner, how angry and exhausted you would feel. You don’t want to be with an insecure person, so what makes you think your partner wants to be?

Shouldn't have painted the town red last night
It will make you crazy

Today, maybe you won’t find anything suspicious. But tomorrow, the temptation will come back again. How do you know he hasn’t received a raunchy picture during the night? The only way you will know is if you check. Maybe you don’t have time to go through his whole phone, and you see a message from someone called Stella before you’re forced to put the phone down and feign innocence. That message will gnaw and gnaw and gnaw at you until you have the chance to snatch up his phone again and check that message. Only this time, it’s not there. What does that mean? Is he covering his tracks? Checking his phone is a slippery descent into madness. You will never be satisfied. You will be neurotic, jumpy, stressed and mistrusting – and that is no way to live your life.

couple fighting

Assumption is the mother of …

I went through my husband’s phone once. There was a message from a woman called Caitlin. I didn’t have enough time to read the surname or the message, but I immediately assumed my husband was cheating.  I brooded over that message for days until my husband lost his temper and asked why I was barely talking to him. I told him what I had done, and he stared at me, unbelievingly. Without a word, he got up, picked up his phone, scrolled to the message and showed me. It was a group chat consisting of his gym buddies. They thought it would be funny to name the group after Caitlin Jenner. Yep – all that stressing and snooping and sulking for nothing. I felt like the idiot I was. It is easy to assume the worst when you take things out of context. You could read or see something that looks suspicious, but is really completely innocuous. Once again, you are causing yourself stress and anxiety, while losing the trust of your partner.

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You could ruin a surprise

A friend of mine snooped through her boyfriend’s phone and found out he was planning to propose. Surprise ruined. She regretted it, and swore to never snoop again. You don’t know what you will stumble across when you invade someone’s privacy; good or bad, it’s not for you to find out. So stop trying to control the world, and control yourself instead.

Woman Checking Mobile Phone
Woman Checking Mobile Phone

What happens if you do find something?

Maybe you find sexy pictures from another woman. Or messages that clearly point towards some wrongdoing. Now you are in a quandary. You don’t feel you can tell him, because you know he will be angry with you for infringing on his privacy. So do you keep quiet? How then do you deal with the things you have seen? This is a situation you really don’t want to find yourself in. If you do find suspicious messages or pictures, you will have to chat to your partner. A relationship without trust is no relationship at all. But then you have to be prepared for him to break things off (which is not a bad thing if he is being devious). In a situation like this, you both end up looking bad.

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You don’t own him or control him

This is something many women find hard to fathom. Your man had a life before you and continues to have a life, of which you form just a part. He will message other friends (perhaps even female friends), he will have relationships with other people, and he will have parts of his life in which you don’t feature (i.e. his job). You don’t own him and you can’t control him. Checking his phone means you think you have a right to invade his privacy. You don’t! You also can’t control your man. Yes – he might cheat on you. He might even leave you for another woman. Snooping through his phone won’t change that. Know your own worth. If he leaves you or cheats, then good riddance. You deserve better than that. The only person you can control in life is you. Accept this, and life will be a lot easier.

Trusting someone and being vulnerable with them is a difficult thing to do. We are all fearful of being hurt and we do things to protect ourselves from this possibility. Snooping through your partner’s phone will not prevent him from hurting you. In fact, you are pushing him into the very thing you fear the most. If I had a husband who didn’t trust me and regularly went through my phone, I would eventually lose respect for and interest in him. I might even end the relationship.

The key to any relationship is communication. If you’re feeling insecure, talk to your man about it. Give him the chance to allay your fears. If he is cheating, it will come out. It always does. At least you can leave the relationship with your head held high, knowing you walked the moral high ground.

Author: Lisa Lloyd

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