Snooping: is it bad?
Updated: Jan 4, 2019
Can't stop snooping?
Ok, so maybe your spouse has betrayed you in the past. Or maybe you were cheated on in another relationship, and you have trust issues. Snooping helped you figure things out and kept you feeling as if you knew what was going on. It gave you a sense of control. In short, snooping worked, you told yourself. You figured it out back then, right?
Now you have suspicions again, and something in your gut feels “just not right”. You want to figure out what is wrong, and you are tempted to go through text messages, computer history, email, and the phone bill, to track where he/she is using an app, or to go through personal belongings. Your heart is racing. You get an adrenaline rush as you just want to figure it out.
Wait, slow down just a minute. Remember that all of this is an invasion of privacy, and none of it builds trust. Even if your partner betrayed you in the past, there is a better way to calm yourself and build trust at the same time. If you snoop, it can cause more problems in the relationship.
So, instead of snooping and causing more distrust, here is what to do instead:
1. Talk about your fears.
Be direct and share with him or her that you have feelings of suspicion rather than sleuthing around. If possible, own your part, and be open about your vulnerability. Something like, “When you didn’t come home when you said you would, it reminded me of the past, and I got scared. Can you please tell me where you were and why you are late?” As hard as it is not to attack, share what you are feeling instead.
You are probably fearful that there is someone else that your loved one is interested in. Talk to your partner about those fears. This will give you both the opportunity to talk about the insecurity in the relationship. If you snoop, you are not building trust.
Snooping only makes things worse. When there has been a betrayal, it is fair to ask if you can have access to sharing information with each other, as a means to build trust. If you have open permission to look at the phone, computer, and emails, it may take the snooping desire away, because there are no secrets.
2. Slow down.
Sometimes, snooping can be habit forming. If you have the desire to snoop when your partner isn’t around, slow down. Give yourself a moment before you jump into your search. It may be helpful to ask yourself if you have reason to be worried. Remind yourself that it is better to be direct with your loved one. Yes, you may be getting overly suspicious but it is probably a good idea to check in with yourself to decide if you are feeling these feelings for good reason.
Or, instead, is it just because no one else in around and you can snoop with the phone or the computer. Decide if you’re actually feeling mistrust for a good reason, or if you’re just feeling slippery? If you can, share that you need reassurance, instead of going ahead with your secret snooping.
3. Change behavior.
You may need to avoid temptation and situations that are conducive to snooping. If your habit is to check his or her email, you may need to come clean and share that you have been looking.
Check in with yourself. Are you feeling close with your partner? If so, why snoop then? You may have a bad habit on your hands. If that is the case, you may need to create some new habits. For example, walk away from the phone. Ask for a change to the password so that you are not tempted to engage in behaviors that violate his or her trust, in the name of finding out whether you can trust him or her. Trust is about integrity, both you and your partner’s.
If you find yourself snooping, know there are some trust issues in your relationship. If you found things before and haven’t successfully addressed them between you, your relationship probably doesn’t feel very secure. It is important to the strengthening of your relationship that you talk openly with your partner about those insecurities. If that feels too hard to do, getting help from a professional may be a good way to build the trust back.
Did we miss anything? What causes you to snoop?