Don't create more distrust in your relationship
The moment you have a suspicion that your spouse is cheating or something just “isn’t right,” you might be tempted to start going through his things. Maybe you scroll through his text messages, or hack into his email. These invasions of privacy, often called “snooping” or “creeping” will probably come back to haunt you. If your partner finds out that you snooped through his stuff, it can just create a bigger issue than you already have. When you lack trust in the relationship, here are some things you can do instead of snooping.
Talk to Your Partner
If you do have a reason to be suspicious, talk to your partner instead of going through his things behind his back. Using non-attacking language, explain what you are feeling, and how his actions have contributed. Confronting the problem head on is the only way you and your partner have a chance of combating the issues in your relationship. Snooping can only build more trust issues, not solve them. Ask your partner to have an open policy about viewing each others’ texts and emails if you think it can help you both feel more trust. Knowing that you have permission to see your spouse’s information might make it less tempting to view it because the fear of secrets is diminished.
Press the Pause Button
If you’re alone in a room with your boyfriend’s cell phone and you start to get paranoid about what might be inside, take a few seconds before you reach for it to snoop. You may or may not have a concrete reason to search, but try pressing the pause button to check in. Ask yourself “Do I really have a reason to be worried?” or “If my friend was about to snoop for the same reasons, would I support it?” Sometimes by taking a moment to talk yourself down, you can decide if you’re actually feeling mistrust for a good reason, or if you’re just being paranoid. If you have the need, share with your partner that you need reassurance and have him show you, instead of you snooping by yourself.
Avoid Snooping Situations
Sometimes you might need to remove yourself from a situation where snooping is just too tempting. If you have a habit of always checking your husband’s phone when he goes to bed at night, make it a new habit to pick up a book during that time, or power his device down and put it in another room. When you feel the urge to open his email, go for a walk or remove yourself from the room for 10 minutes. Staying out of tempting situations can keep you out of trouble.
Searching your boyfriend’s phone or computer may have had a payout. When you have found things in the past and your partner doesn’t come clean, then you need to come clean about what you know. If you have found incriminating things before and never addressed it, your secure attachment has suffered a deep wound. Talking openly about it with your partner and the help of a counselor can help you evaluate if you both want to stay in the relationship — and how to make it healthier if you both agree to work on staying together.
If you are snooping, there are some trust issues in your relationship. If you want to salvage the relationship, sometimes getting help from a professional will guide you in the right direction and you can stop snooping. A counselor or marriage and family therapist can help you build trust and stop the desire to snoop.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653