Dear Readers - Here are some personal stories, a range of views, and questions arising from my June 1 live online chat looking at, Is Snooping the Answer?
Every time I've snooped I've found something incriminating, but it always seemed like my deed was far worse so I never brought it up. I was too embarrassed to admit how I came across the information. So I end up having to live with the knowledge because I'm not prepared to deal with the alternatives yet.
Good point. Before you snoop, think ahead to what you want to do about what you find. Be prepared to consider how far you want to go with a confrontation... e.g. whether you'd break up your family because you discovered someone is a bit too flirty with a co-worker, or contacts his/her ex from time to time.
Having just caught my (now ex) bragging on her cell phone about sleeping with a married man (and not planning on telling me) how do I avoid transferring this to future relationships?
Hopefully, you've recognized what part of your ex's personality or past, made her so cavalier about your relationship. So, learn from this... and choose your next relationship with more attention to the person's character, integrity, and self-respect.
Not a lot of decent people brag about sleeping around, so there's no reason to carry such suspicions and insecurity with you, so long as you're more selective next time.
I was cheated on. I've learned that the only way to resolve relationship issues is to communicate. If you do, you'll always have both sides of the story instead of the one side that you're reading into (by snooping) with the worst of emotions driving you.
Yes, even after an affair, communication (instead of just emotional reactions), can save the relationship.
I'm not saying that a person should "constantly snoop" - but, if there's some suspicion, a mere check-up once in awhile is good. If more people did it, they'd be very surprised. But people don't - and they suffer in dysfunctional relationships for too long.
Why? Because they're too afraid of not trusting, and too afraid of change.
But, if your partner proves trustworthy time and time again and gives you no reason to suspect anything, there's no reason to snoop.
In my experience, there's a reason for a change in behaviour. Either the person being snooped on is acting suspiciously, or the person snooping isn't feeling completed by their partner.
Or, snoopers are often people who've been victims of unfaithful partners in the past.
A change in your partner's behaviour may be because of medical reasons. It was for my partner. His personality change meant he was in depression and he couldn't explain it himself. Snooping didn't answer anything for me, in this case.
If there have been issues and the couple is trying to work things out I think you have every right to ask to see phone bills or emails. If you have nothing to hide what's the big deal??
It's a big deal to live in an atmosphere of distrust and the tension it brings. Also, it's demeaning to be monitored by a partner, as if you're a kid cheating on a test. This kind of dynamic - with the "good" partner always checking up on the "bad" one, is a setup for further distance.
If you're truly working things out, there has to be an agreed period of trust and moving forward.
Isn't some privacy required for a healthy relationship? Or is this something we forego when we enter into a committed relationship? I wouldn't feel right about snooping on my significant other.
You're talking about mutual respect as much as privacy. In a functional couple where both parties are equal, people have their emails, cell phones, etc. and don't think of intruding on the other's privacy.
They don't insist on knowing the passwords. But, if it's important that something needs checking and the other isn't around, there's no hesitation about giving the password. Especially because it's understood that your partner won't go trolling through all past emails and cell phone calls or bills, seeking clues to something going on outside the relationship.
These are hallmarks of a healthy relationship. They're based on trust, independence, sense of partnership and commitment. When anything seems odd or inappropriate it's asked about without accusations, and discussed together.
Tip of the day:
If snooping feels necessary, think ahead to HOW, and IF you're able, to handle the information you find.