There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.
~ Mark Twain
Oh, the temptation to snoop on your partner!
Rifling through the desk of an office, checking the contents of a medicine cabinet, or sliding open a nightstand drawer — it only takes a moment.
And now, cellphones make it so much easier.
If you can get access to a cellphone, you can get all the goods. Texts are better than eavesdropping on private conversations. It’s impossible to miss a word. Scrolling through the recent call list, you can find out who they’ve been calling, how often, and the duration of their chat.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
I used to keep a diary. It was my space to vent, to remember, to ruminate. Daily, I would spill the contents of my mind and heart onto paper and feel a sweet release. That diary was my most precious possession.
My boyfriend at the time knew about my journal.
I didn’t keep it a secret.
He acted uninterested — just another quirky thing his writer-girlfriend did.
A few months into the relationship, he questioned me about something he shouldn’t have known about. It wasn’t anything I was hiding, just something we hadn’t discussed. I ignored the distant alarm bells ringing and answered his questions.
It was unsettling, but I wasn’t sure why.
Then, a few days later, we had an argument. I don’t recall what it was about.
As the conversation became increasingly heated, he began defending himself from accusations against him I had never vocalized.
That’s when it hit me. “You’ve been reading my diary!”
He reddened and his eyes didn’t meet mine. “I was looking for something and came across it. I didn’t even know what it was,” he claimed. “So, yeah, I peeked.”
Peeked? From the information he had just moments ago been spewing, it became clear he had done much more than “peek”. He had devoured it like a starving man sitting down for a Thanksgiving dinner … and then stuck around for dessert. I’m surprised there wasn’t pumpkin pie filling smeared across the pages from his sticky fingers.
For me, it was a betrayal.
In short order, I added him to my long list of exes.
Snooping may be a sign of a psychological problem
Snooping is more common than you may think. A study done in the U.K. shows 34% or women and a whopping 62% of men check their partner’s mobile phone from time to time.
According to Bright Side, there are 8 reasons you or your partner are putting your eyes where they don’t belong. Big surprise: it’s not only due to jealousy. They claim it stems from deep psychological motives.
The snoop may feel they don’t deserve their partner and aren’t smart enough, good-looking enough, successful enough. They tell themselves this over and over and in a twisted attempt to validate their harsh judgment of themselves, they look for proof to validate these negative feelings.
For instance, if they find flirtatious texts, they can say to themselves, “I knew it! I am not worthy of love.”
The relationship is lacking
If someone in the relationship feels the urge to invade their partner’s privacy, something is wrong with the relationship. Maybe they don’t like the direction the relationship is heading. Maybe they aren’t sure if they want to continue the relationship and are looking for an easy way out, making them feel justified to leave.
The snoop may want to start cheating
When someone is suspicious for no reason, it is usually the suspicious person that is doing the bad deeds. The suspicions are just a projection of their own thoughts and desires.
Often, a snoop has been cheated on in the past. Since they’ve been “done dirty” before, they are on high alert for it to happen again. They may completely blow out of proportion an innocent situation.
In this case, the constant amateur sleuthing is due to their own issues and not their partner’s.
Unable to keep healthy boundaries
Violating boundaries in a relationship is not okay. Everyone deserves to have their own personal space and it shouldn’t be invaded.
If someone is unable to respect healthy boundaries, for instance, always trying to check your phone, consider it a huge red flag. This person may be comfortable violating your emotional and physical boundaries sometime in the future.
If a person suspects foul play from their partner, they should be able to address it face-to-face rather than putting their prying eyes onto a cellphone that doesn’t belong to them. In a healthy relationship, cloak and dagger techniques shouldn’t have to be used in order to clear the air.
If there is a breakdown in communication, one partner may feel compelled to snoop in order to find out what is going on in the other person’s life. This is a sad attempt to feel included in someone’s day-to-day activities. Sitting down for a good, long talk is a much better alternative than risking breaking the trust in a relationship.
Snooping is an immature way to check up on one’s partner without putting in the actual work of communicating. A person unable to set aside their fears by asking direct questions is probably not ready for a committed relationship.
If you value the relationship you are in, you must resist the urge to snoop. No one likes a Nosy Nelly.
If you suspect your partner is cheating, lying, or otherwise doing you wrong, it’s time to question why you are in a relationship with someone you find untrustworthy. Or is it you who is being untrustworthy?
Being snooped on by someone who is supposed to love you feels devastating. It is crossing a line that will erode the relationship in short order.
If you are in a relationship that involves snooping, it may be time to reevaluate your communication skills and rethink your choice in a partner.
Have you ever snooped or been snooped on? Share your story in the comments!
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Marten Newhall on Unsplash