To Snoop or Not to Snoop on Your Partner

Thursday, Aug. 4th 2011 11:20 PM

How do you feel about sharing your e-mail, Facebook and cell-phone passwords with your romantic partners? Do you feel that couples are supposed to snoop on each other, or at least allow each other to snoop? Do you believe that your partner would give you access if he/she had nothing to hide?

There are many schools of thought on this issue. I changed my tune about it over time. I can recall one relationship where I would just show up at my partner’s home to see what she was doing or who might be visiting. We took turns taking the low road, and the relationship ended explosively. I was not in a good place; I was not happy with myself or my relationship.

Then, in another relationship several years ago, I left my e-mail accessible to my partner. I liked being able to read it without having to log in and didn’t feel the need to hide anything. I knew that she was what many people would call nosey, and as I assumed would happen, she read my messages … and found something that upset her – an e-mail in which I told a female friend how much she meant to me. Despite her demand for answers, I was not interested in consoling or reassuring. It was her decision to go looking for something to get upset about. It was my decision to let her stay that way.

I have no problem with my current mate reading my mail, text messages, or e-mails, or with her taking any other action that might seem invasive. However, I reserve the right not to explain myself. While I do not believe I’m conducting myself in a manner she would find objectionable, I don’t wish to take part in any exercise that has my partner investigating me or me investigating her. I cannot stop her from turning over stones, but I can avoid participating in discussions about what she finds.

As for me, I don’t check up on my partner. I have her passwords but only use them when she asks me to do so. When I get in, I don’t look around for anything; I simply follow her directions. And I don’t check her call log or text messages. I want her to conduct herself in whatever manner she feels appropriate for her at all times. I am happy with our relationship and our family situation, and if I found something that bothered me or made me feel insecure, even if it turned out to be nothing, I might not be happy anymore. And I refuse to put my hard-earned energy into seeking out trouble and misery.

Back to the question at hand: To snoop or not to snoop? That’s a decision we must all make for ourselves. But I choose to refrain and truly believe that this strategy promotes my happiness, as well as that of my mate and family, and that it makes me a more Powerful Person in a Partnership.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love
www.FrankLove.com

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Leave a Comment: Let Us Know Your Thoughts

How to Gracefully Exit a Relationship

30 Comments on “To Snoop or Not to Snoop on Your Partner”

  1. Martha Says:

    Hello Frank Love,
    As a woman, I don’t think you should snoop on your significant other, but there is always a double-standard with this topic. Most men don’t snoop, but most men are not trustworthy either…So, why snoop when you’re most likely the one doing something you’re not suppose to be doing. ha haaaaaaaaa Smiling

  2. Prof.Raymond Feldman Says:

    I find this very sad, trust must exist from each partner,jelousy is soul destroying,and can ruin not only the relationship but the respect. Why not talk to your partner, but in a nice way that does not break the bond.I understand we may all go through this in life, wonder about our partner especially if he/sh in beautiful,great personality, a bit of a flirt, but how would you feel if your partner felt that you may be doing some thing wrong.Think, could you confide in a very good friend? I do not think doing it gets you any where, and if you find out the worst, what will you then feel like? try to just asdk he/him, tell him/her how you feel, it may not help your problem, but it could make you feel better. My wife and I have 2 seperate codes, but I can access hers, she can access mine, so be open. The worst problem is mis trust,get it out of your system.Some may say a counsellor/therapist, but its up to you. I say grow up, learn to trust, and have you never had secrets that your partner does not know about.No one is whiter than white.Laugh it off if you can, why make your sself miserable,if you do not have to. good luck.
    Posted by

  3. Lee Chabin Says:

    An interesting piece. Just speaking for myself, the idea of snooping (or being snooped upon) is unpleasant. If I don’t have great trust in someone, I don’t think she can be ‘the right’ partner for me. And if she doesn’t have trust in me, that is another bad sign, to my way of thinking.

  4. Rocky Says:

    I have snooped in the past and realize now that when I feel like I need to snoop, that is my gut(spiritual intuition) letting me know that something is not “right”. Searching for something often gets you exactly what youre looking for…stress and drama. We must learn to trust our innate insight that guides and protects us in every way and we won’t need to invade our Partners privacy.

  5. Amy Schoen, MBA, CPCC Says:

    A relationship is built on trust- that trust has to be built up over time. How long have you known your partner? Do you have a feeling that he or she is not being honest about their activities? If it is a new relationship and you are having your doubts, of course try to talk to your partner. If he or she is being obtuse, then you may have to resort to “accidentally” viewing his or her emails to see if your suspicions are verified. Or it may be your relationship gremlins getting in the way! Be aware, once that trust bond is broken, it’s a tough road to gain it back!

  6. Myra Taylor (Lifecoach Myra) Says:

    Frank I feel that partners should give each other passwords for their email messages and I have done that in my relationship.Even though this is the case in my relationship I have never read my partners email or voice messages. But the fact that he gave me the passwords made me feel he is honest in our relationship and has nothing to hide.

  7. Janos Szablya Says:

    If you think you need to…it’s time to work with someone you trust…. get a new partner…

  8. Gerald Ndikintum Says:

    I believe in the maxim that a blind husband and a deaf wife make a happy couple. I therefore make it a point of duty to never ask my spouse who she’s talking to and I never answer her cell phone. I don’t look into her purse or anything and this for me is a sign of respect. I simply request that no cell phones be brought into the bed chambers and that all non-spousal conversation finishes in the living/family room/outside the home. I would like to think that my spouse thinks in like terms because we discussed this early on in our relationship, and we continue to discuss it at intervals in our lives. Besides, I personally don’t own a cell phone.

  9. Tariro Mutizwa Says:

    I think sometimes you need to do it because when you have the full truth you can be able bring your spouse to total repentance.

  10. SAMUEL Nii Tettey Says:

    Marriage should be based on trust. So if trust, why snoop on partner?? Remember the two? They were naked and not ashamed.

  11. deidre Says:

    snoop

  12. Essac Merrchant Says:

    Never snoop on your Partner !! Never !! A relationship without trust is a disastrous!!.. Respect your partner,give space..it works wonders in a relationship.

  13. Shannon Rice Says:

    I see this issue arise in therapy sessions very frequently. The person is either defending him/herself for having snooped or venting about the partner that snooped. The term “snooping” implies sneaking behind a partner’s back looking for something questionable. That action can only lead to problems. Social media has made a huge change in the amount of access we have into each other’s lives. Facebook, email, twitter, IM, BBM…. the list goes on and on. It seems to me that if we have healthy values, communication, and boundaries, we can allow full access to our partner without anyone being hurt.

  14. Eunice Fields, M.A.C. Says:

    Snooping does not lead to a win-win situation with the partner. In doing so and finding out information (infidelity) to be true, you then have to pick your poison: choose to stay or choose to leave. This will become a dilemma and will fester unless counsel is sought.

  15. Kathe Skinner, M.A., L.M.F.T, Says:

    As a therapist and coach, I specialize in working with couples. When one or both have “snooped”, I’m struck by how guilty most of them feel. In truth, snooping is the 21st Century version of reading someone’s mail. Any way it’s sliced and any time a partner does the slicing, snooping reflects badly on the snooper. (Unless you’re partnered with a suspected criminal, in which case the message might be: “Unless you’re prepared to leave, don’t even unscrew that lid”.)

    It’s all about trust; can’t have a sustained healthy relationship without it. Ever. Period. End of sentence.

  16. Sheila Henderson Says:

    If you really have a partner, then none of this is necessary. Trust is the foundation of that partnership. If snooping is part of your relationship routine, you do not have one, so stop snooping, leads to nowhere.

  17. Eunice Fields, M.A.C. Says:

    This is a great discussion and am following it. To be frank (lol) this behavior sets up both partners in a lose-lose situation.

  18. Ann Burton Says:

    I refer back to your previous blog on Maria and Arnold—she should have snooped, or at least been a bit more suspicious. If you have a gut suspicion (partner buys new clothes, secretive, stays out late, unexplained absences) are you better off burying you head and just be happy? Most people get around to the snooping because they need to find out the truth—and trust has left when you get to that point. Many people, just like Maria, feel they waisted part of their life when they learn of betrayal and they were the blind monkeys. I have counseled friends (women) that before they get hopelessly involved or married, they spend $500 and have a background check done. Also, ask his friends about prior relationships (gently, of course). If he checks out, then burn the reports and go forward, but if not, you may decide to go forward or not. At least you will have your eyes open. We are not living in the days of small town families where everyone knows you and being introduced by Aunt Tillie.

  19. Lori Martel-Ford Says:

    Why would someone snoop in the first place? Did they have a intuitive “feeling” that there partner is being unfaithfull? How important is it to know the truth-std’s aside? The partner may feel a need to stray for a while to fullfill some unmet needs, but that being said, if there are unmet needs, they will only be taken care of if both partners are on board. Should we just be in denial and hope for the best that they may not continue this affair and come back when he or she has completed the infidelity quest? This is a tough one!!!

  20. Shawn Ernoehazy Says:

    I have seen couples come in terribly upset and ready to separate over text messages or FaceBook “friends” without even considering the “offenders” reply to who the person is and why they text or add them. If you are looking for a “problem” you will find one, and if you are feeling that something isn’t right in the relationship, it isn’t FB you need to be looking at for answers!

  21. Michael PHOON Says:

    great story ! thanks for sharing

  22. Nora Whalen Says:

    I love how you told your story and what has work, hasn’t worked, and what your current approach is. Do you think people that snoop have too little going on in their own lives? Do they need some personal foundation work?

  23. Andrew Tomkinson Says:

    Each partner in a relationship should secure their email. How open do relationships have to be?

  24. Gerald Ford Says:

    In many years of counseling, sadly, I have not seen very many people “repent” when they have been caught. Instead, they usually become defensive and start blaming their behavior on the other person, or they start accusing the other. If a person is going to look and see because of their own insecurity, they should deal with their own security issues. If, on the other hand, they are looking because some ostensible evidence is appearing, then one should be prepared to possibly find something which will make many decisions necessary. When the offending partner only “defends” themselves, they may think they have won, but the relationship suffers. The better way of doing things is to have a marital policy of having all accounts open, and all passwords known, from the very start. Evil feeds on secrecy.

  25. Janis Evans, M.Ed.,LPC Says:

    First of all, I love Mr. Ndikintum’s response (#8), very humorous wisdom. It really is about respect and security with one’s self and each other. As for me, I don’t know hubby’s code, nor he, mine; don’t check each other’s email, phones, texts, etc. I don’t really care; it has never come up as a discussion in 15 years of good marriage. I respect his privacy and he, mine.

    However, as a therapist who has dealt with this issue with couples for years, it’s not always so cut an dry. In my experience, there are 3 types of snooping: 1) the snooper has insecurities/unresolved trust issues prior to current relationship, 2) there were past infidelities in current relationship where trust has already been broken, and 3) the snooper needs verification or validation for what they strongly suspect or already know. In either case, the advice is the same . . . STOP! Regardless of how validated the snooper feels, or what a cheating scum the spouse is, the snooping behavior is still a violation of privacy. It will only cause the cheating spouse to deflect from admitting to anything and focus on the snooper’s breaking of trust. Not fair, but true.

    So snoopers out there, don’t set yourselves up. Based on whatever you find the first time, make a decision about what you want to do with your red flags, strong suspicions or hardcore evidence. Continuing to dig is pointless when you already know. Why make yourself feel worse by adding more details and images to your psyche? The deception and injury has already taken place. Make a decision about getting help for what went wrong in the relationship so you can explore what to do next. Even if you feel justified in doing it, or that the info was “God’s way of pointing you to the information,” snooping can be a deal breaker causing you more pain and heartache. It’s very, very difficult to rebuild trust especially when it’s broken on both ends.

  26. Sheree Morgan Says:

    If you are thinking about snooping there are serious problems in your relationship. Either you are overly jealous and mistrusting or you already know you have reason to be mistrusfull, either way you are heading for disaster.

  27. Nic Marcon Says:

    I think that many people are fair but fail to be assertive. They allow things to slip, wont deal with issues quickly and concisely and fail to assert themselves when required. Do you agree?

  28. Sandy Glover Says:

    I have to disagree. It is not snooping, knowing something about the partner’s background is just plain smart. Is he(she) married? Is he a sexual predator or worst? Does he (she) have a civil record of domestic violence? Why wouldn’t you want to know these facts?

  29. Ethan Dailey Says:

    I agree with Sheree, but our imaginations can conjure up the most colorful scenarios having no basis in reality whatsoever. The best first step is to openly discuss your concern with your mate. If after discussing the issue, he/she still exhibits behaviors which you know to be abnormal. The decision to conduct this kind of activity rests upon the person concerned and the circumstances involved. If information is uncovered which reveals infidelity or deception in other areas of the relationship, then the information would be best used as a reason to leave such a relationship. If this question is about whether it’s okay to go on a fishing expedition, just because you can, then that is completely inappropriate and reprehensible. At least develop some probable cause based on some actionable intelligence before even considering “snooping.” Personally, if I had doubts about a woman that made me feel uneasy in the relationship, I would discuss those issues with her first and prepare to end the relationship if necessary.

  30. Sandy Glover Says:

    There is a big difference between snooping and playing it smart. The screening should be conducted at the onset of the relationship, if possible before meeting this person, this goes both ways…men are often the victim of crimes.
    The sexual predator/offender & pedophile information obtained is public record because of the Jessica Lundsford Act and Megan’s Law ( for example)..no one is lurking in the shadows or cares if he wears boxers or briefs.

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