By Kate Richlin-Zack
Gosh it’s just so tempting. He forgets to log out of his email on your computer. He falls asleep in one room and his phone is in the next. He leaves town on business for a few days and you just have to rifle around in his closet. You’re just dying to starting digging through his business, but 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 (he’s so cute when he’s asleep, isn’t he?), you could end up driving yourself crazy and doing irreparable damage to your relationship.
What are you looking for?
Before you go sifting through his text messages, it’s important that you ask yourself a few questions: What is it that 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? I’m definitely guilty of falling into the latter category and justifying it by citing Ronald Reagan’s approach: Trust but Verify. If you truly feel you have something to worry about, and feel completely justified in rummaging around in his closets, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your relationship.
It’s all out of context
Anything you find during your snooping adventure is all 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 your morning coffee. You have a five minute conversation while trying to order, much to the dismay of the irritated barista who is probably going to give you decaf out of spite for slowing things down. 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 message that says something to the effect of, “Great seeing you today… we should get together more often.” Now her number is in your phone, except you didn’t save it, so the text message she sent has no name attached to it. This text could be a follow up to an innocent exchange like the one I described or it could a follow up to day drinking and nooners with some random guy you met on Ashley Madison. Based solely on the words in the text message itself, there is absolutely 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 poking at his phone with a look of consternation. You’re so busted. You’ve just 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 not trusting him, especially if he’s never given you any reason to think he’s doing nefarious things. And if he’s resentful enough, he may think something along the lines of, “That crazy girl already thinks I’m cheating on her … I may as well start.”
I could say that your behavior may have just cost you your relationship, but if you didn’t trust him enough to stay out of his sent mail folder, 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. More than likely whatever you found, as I mentioned before, is out of context and you’re blowing it up to epic proportions in your head. But the problem is that having the information and not acting on will make you mental. 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.
And so 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 completely out of the question. “Sooooo, honey … Ummm … Yeah, so I was standing in the kitchen and the craziest thing happened! You’ll never believe it … yeah it’s just mind boggling. Your phone literally jumped from the counter into my hands and suddenly … Yeah, I don’t know how this happened either but all of your text messages started revealing themselves to me like ‘Hey! Read me!’ No they actually said that … No, I know it’s crazy right? And as much as I tried to avert my eyes and refuse to look at them, I couldn’t help but notice there was a text message from someone named Isabel that said something about needing directions to the restaurant. I don’t know … I wasn’t really looking that closely anyway, but obviously the LAST thing I’d assume is that she’s some tramp you met while you were at Bobby’s bachelor party last weekend because that would just be silly of me … Ahem, but seriously, who the hell is Isabel.”
You’re going to be so embarrassed when he explains that Isabel 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 about his co-worker who looks exactly like Janet Reno. You refused to believe that was even possible so you looked up Isabel on LinkedIn and sure enough, she could be Janet’s twin. Oh … you forgot? Way to go, Sherlock.
Was all that snooping worth it? Probably not. No good can come from snooping. You either find information and have no choice but to keep it to yourself — thus driving you absolutely insane — or you’re so bold as to call him on it and now you’re officially the crazy lady that doesn’t trust her boyfriend.
And now you’re single too. Well played.