If you don’t trust your partner, don’t be with them
Photo Art by Katie Dutch
God, it’s so tempting. He left his laptop open to his email and Facebook. He fell asleep in one room and his phone is in the next. He left town to visit family for a few days and you want to rifle through his closet. You’re dying to dig through his business.
Before you dive in you might want to think twice.
Not only will snooping make you look like a raving lunatic to your unsuspecting boyfriend, you’ll drive yourself crazy and do irreparable damage to your relationship.
What are you looking for?
Before you go scouring through his text messages it’s important to ask yourself a few questions: What are you’re looking to find? And more importantly, why are you suspicious in the first place?
Do you have the sneaking suspicion he’s not telling you something? Or are you just inclined to overstep your boundaries?
If you truly feel you have something to worry about, and feel completely justified in rummaging around in his things, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your relationship.
It’s all out of context
Anything you find while snooping is out of context. If you were to look through your own text messages, chances are most of the conversations would make absolutely no sense.
Here’s a great example. You bump into an old friend you haven’t seen in years while waiting in line for coffee. You have a five minute conversation while trying to order, much to the dismay of the irritated barista who’s now giving you decaf out of spite. As you leave, you give her your number on the back of a napkin.
Later that day she finds the napkin with your number in the bottom of her bag and sends you a text, like, “Great seeing you today. We should get together more often.” Now her number is in your phone, but you didn’t save it so the text has no name attached to it.
This text could be a follow up to an innocent exchange like this, or it could be a follow up to day drinking and nooners with some random girl. Based solely on the words in the text itself, there’s no way of knowing the context.
But if you’re looking for trouble, you’re more likely to gravitate towards the latter scenario.
It’s a huge violation of trust
Let’s say you don’t find anything but he wakes up and sees you scrolling through his phone with a look of consternation. You’re so busted. You’ve crossed a line and there’s no going back.
Not only is he going to think you’re crazy, he’s going to resent you for invading his privacy and not trusting him. Especially if he’s never given you any reason to think he’s doing anything nefarious.
And if he’s resentful enough he might think, “That crazy girl already thinks I’m cheating on her, I may as well start.”
I could say your behavior might just have cost you your relationship, but if you didn’t trust him enough to stay out of his texts, emails and DMs, you probably didn’t have much of a relationship to begin with.
You can’t act on any of it
Let’s say you do find something suspicious. What can you do about it?
If you’re smart, you’ll keep your mouth shut. Most likely whatever you found is out of context and you’re blowing it up to epic proportions in your head.
The uncertainty of whatever you found will slowly eat away at your insides. You’ll try to forget about it. But women never forget. Ever.
You’re stuck with it festering in the back of your mind until you die or start dating someone else because asking for clarification or additional context is pretty much out of the question.
“So, honey… Ummm… The craziest thing happened! Your phone literally jumped from the counter into my hands and your texts started revealing themselves to me! I tried to avert my eyes but I couldn’t help but notice a text from someone named Heather about needing directions to the restaurant. I wasn’t really looking that closely but obviously the LAST thing I’d assume is that she’s some tramp you met at Bobby’s bachelor party last weekend because that would just be silly of me … but seriously, who the hell is Heather?”
You’ll be so embarrassed when he explains that Heather is his coworker who needed directions to the restaurant for the business dinner he went to last week.
That was also the night he was home by 10:30 pm and told you all she looks exactly like Janet Reno. You refused to believe that was even possible so you looked up Heather on Facebook and sure enough, she could be Janet’s twin.
Oh, you forgot? Way to go, Sherlock.
When will you stop?
Never. The answer is never. You think you’ll just check his email once? “Phew! Nothing there!” Well, what about tomorrow? It’s tomorrow now. Is there something nefarious in there today? Better check real quick!
Didn’t find anything in his email? Well then you might as well hack into his Facebook and Instagram accounts. Maybe the real dirt is in there! And you don’t want to look like a fool, do you? (Way too late on that one)
It’s not unlike checking social media every two minutes for new updates. When you’re neurotic, and if you’re hacking into his messages anywhere, you are, you will become obsessed and consumed by the need to constantly check his shit.
I did it with an ex of mine. And he did it to me. It’s the slipperiest of slopes there’s no way to crawl up from. I never trusted that man. One of the many huge red flags I blissfully ignored. This was fine. This was normal, right?
I flat out called him out on a text I read on his phone while he was in my shower one morning when my gut told me the night before he had lied about where he was. And he sweet talked his way right out of all of it. I didn’t really believe him, but the textbook doormat in me went with it.
What I should have done: ended the relationship.
What I did: ask him (gave in to the pressure) to move in with me.
I went to college, I swear! I’m a smart girl! But I was dumb as shit when it came to love and relationships. The Fashionably Late Bloomer struck again at the ripe old age of 26.
And guess what? In the end, I was 100% right about him and that girl. Big deal. It didn’t make the snooping I did feel any less agonizing, draining, exhausting, maddening, or anxiety inducing.
I didn’t feel justified or victorious. Snooping through his shit didn’t tell me anything my gut hadn’t already. Complete waste of time and energy, and self inflicted torture. Good job!
You know how they say ignorance is bliss? They’re right about that. And I’m not saying turn a blind eye, ignore your gut, go along to get along. But how much evidence do you need?
More importantly, if you don’t trust your partner your relationship is already over. Hell, maybe it never should have began.
Trust. Your. Gut. Not your feelings, your gut. Big difference.
Your body does not lie to you. Listen to it.
We stayed together another 9 months, broke up and got back together again. Idiots! But hey, you gotta learn. And at least I learned from it. I learned to never, ever do that again to anyone.
If I don’t trust you, I don’t date you. If I trust you, I stay out of your things and respect you and your privacy. If I start feeling antsy, is it my anxiety and insecurity, or is it my gut? 99% of the time, it’s anxiety and insecurity. Breathe, recenter, trust yourself, trust him, refocus.
You know, it wasn’t the snooping that felt awful, it was the deep, dark, sickening mistrust of this person I loved and the self-betrayal it took to stay with him that blackened my soul.
Was all that snooping worth it? Nope. No good can come from snooping.
Overwhelming chances are, you’re just anxious and insecure and don’t want to trust someone who’s never given you a reason not to. Work on those issues instead.
Because you’ll either never find anything and drive yourself insane constantly checking, or you’ll call him on nothing and officially become the crazy lady who doesn’t trust her boyfriend.
And now you’re single, too. Well played.