Is it Okay to Snoop on Your Partner?

Posted by on Dec 15, 2016 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on Is it Okay to Snoop on Your Partner?

Things to think about before becoming a relationship spy

Have you ever wonder if it is alright to spy or “snoop” on your partner or spouse?

First, what exactly constitutes snooping or spying?



gerund or present participle: snooping

  1. To look into your partner’s activities without their permission.

Today’s technology offers any number of opportunities for partners to snoop on one another. This may involve reading emails or text messages. Or you might look at one another’s call histories, log into each other’s social media accounts, or even listen to each other’s voicemails.

Snooping includes good old-fashioned spying too. You might search each other’s pockets, go through the contents of your partner’s wallet or purse,  read their journal or diary, or open their mail.

Some people engage in even more extreme or invasive forms of spying.

They may go so far as to hire a private investigator to follow their partner and report back on their activities. Some people will use computer monitoring software, GPS trackers for their partner’s cars, cell phone monitoring apps, and even home surveillance equipment.

Why do people snoop?

Many people believe they’ve witnessed warning signs of an affair and want to know if their partner is cheating on them. Whether or not that justification is an acceptable reason for snooping remains a controversial issue.

  • One school of thought is that violating your partner’s privacy is not acceptable under any circumstance. Even if you think your partner is cheating on you. Basically, two wrongs do not make a right. Furthermore, if it turns out your suspicions of infidelity are incorrect, this may backfire on you and further damage the trust in your relationship. Also, it may be argued that handling suspicions of an affair by snooping won’t improve the situation.
  • Conversely, some believe that if you do suspect your partner of having an affair, verification through snooping is an appropriate option. Some unfaithful partners will not voluntarily disclose their infidelity without concrete evidence. And even then, they may still deny it.

Unfaithful partners don’t play by the rules. They deceive their partners, they hide information, they may lie outright. Generally, they take advantage of their partners’ desire to trust them. Some believe the faithful partner has a right to find out whether the cheating they suspect is occurring.

Here are some things to take into consideration:

1. Consider more direct alternatives to snooping.

Confront your partner with your concerns and see how they react. Request immediate access to their phone, passwords to social media and email accounts. You may get some indication of their trustworthiness. If they immediately answer your questions and behave in a transparent way, your concerns about infidelity may be eased.

If they fall back on their right to privacy, refuse to share that information, or indicate that you’re the problem for not trusting them, their response may be telling. It may be worth your time to pay attention to these warning signs.

2. Examine your reasons for wanting to snoop.

Why don’t you trust your partner?

  • Are there warning signs of unfaithfulness?
  • Do unresolved hurts or issues from your past interfere with this relationship?
  • Are you a naturally jealous person or is this an isolated situation?

While snooping due to suspicion of unfaithfulness might initially make things worse, it often opens the door for relationship repair. If you’re snooping because of your own insecurities, your own history, or your own jealousy, snooping won’t make things better.

3. Know the laws in your state.

While it’s legal to snoop on your spouse in most places, that’s not always the case everywhere. Snooping laws for couples who are not married vary more widely from state to state as well. Particularly invasive types of snooping should be thoroughly considered from a legal standpoint to avoid causing additional problems down the road.

4. Avoid making snooping a habit.

If you decide to snoop, it’s one thing to do it to verify an affair. It’s something else altogether to repeatedly spy on your partner. Consider your actions carefully, as snooping can sometimes have a snowball effect and become a habit. If you feel you must continually snoop on your partner, something else is wrong and you may want to rethink the relationship. Snooping should not become a way of life.

5. The fact that you do not trust your partner needs to be addressed.

It may be worth your while to consider professional help. If you confirm that your partner is having an affair, the work is just beginning. If you don’t, there are likely other issues, either relationally or individually, that need to be examined for your relationship to work.

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