Is it ok to snoop?

Checking their mobile, reading their emails, logging into their Facebook, flicking through their diary… What effect does snooping have on a relationship? Is it curiosity or control?

A girl reading through a diary

Many of us find it tempting to check up on what a BF or GF is up to.

But we all have a right to privacy and independence in a relationship – to have our own thoughts, secret fantasies, private jokes, personal space, and our own communication with friends and family.

No one likes the feeling that someone’s always looking over our shoulder.

It feels invasive and it damages trust.

The desire to snoop and spy can come from:

  • curiosity
  • being worried about a BF or GF cheating on you
  • the desire to control a BF or GF and to know every move they make
  • wanting to make a BF or GF feel nervous and powerless, like they’re being watched

The final two are examples of stalking.

Are you tempted to snoop?

Think about why

You might be tempted to snoop out of curiosity, or if you’re feeling a bit insecure about how your BF/ GF feels about you. If you’re snooping because you’re worried about your relationship and wondering if your BF/GF is cheating on you, then consider whether sneaking around is going to get you what you want.

You’ll probably find stuff…and you’ll wish you hadn’t

You might find out things you really don’t want to know – like maybe they have a harmless crush on someone else. Or just private, personal stuff that you didn’t need to know. But now you do.

If they’re still in love with you and have no intention of leaving you, do you really want to snoop? And then if you feel upset about what you find and want to talk to them about it, you’ll have to tell them how you found out – and this won’t help you to have a trusting relationship. They might then feel justified in snooping on you!

Whatever you find or don’t find, it’s a no-win situation for your relationship.  Snooping isn’t the way to go.

Talk instead

If you are feeling insecure about the relationship, a better way to go is to talk to them about how you feel, what you’re worried about and the importance of honesty.

If someone is snooping on you…

Tell them to stop

If it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend, tell them clearly not to do it. For example, you could say ‘I don’t want you to do that – it’s private and I don’t like feeling that you’re checking up on me’. You have a right to privacy and doing that kinda stuff is not respect!

Talk to them about why they did it

If they say they’re doing it because they’re worried you’re cheating on them, sounds like it’s time to have a talk to them about how you feel about your relationship, and the importance of trust.  Reassure them that if you’re seriously interested in someone else, you will talk to them about it. Tell them that they’re invading your privacy by reading your emails or messages, and that it’s not ok. Remind them that you have a right to email, chat or message other people without them checking up on you.

Are they jealous?

Are they using jealousy as a way of controlling you? See Is  jealousy a sign of love?

Did they stop?

If they don’t respect your right to privacy, or if they always want to know what you’re doing and who you’re talking to, this could be a sign of abuse.

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Photo from Flickr by johnandketurah/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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6 Responses to “Is it ok to snoop?”

  1. I find it pointless to tell your b.f to stop cause they wont they only conter attack with (why you got something to hind) once they start the snooping it will never stop even after you end the relationship i dont snoop because i feel you have 2 choices leave or stay and if you are not ready to leave then dont open that door

  2. Hi kayona,

    It’s not ok for someone to go through your personal stuff without your permission. If your BF wants to find out something – he should ASK, not snoop.

    When he says things like “Have you got something to hide?”, it’s manipulative – it makes you look like you’re doing something wrong – even though you’ve done nothing wrong!

    The snooper is in the wrong, because they’re not respecting your right to privacy. Everyone has a right to keep certain stuff private.

    Trust is part of a good relationship – and maybe that’s what you can talk about with your BF, because his lack of trust and respect is what underneath the snooping.

    If you don’t feel you can talk it through with your BF, you may want to think about ways that you can protect your privacy like:
    - change your passwords
    - delete old text messages
    - hide your diary, and
    - keep private documents somewhere he can’t snoop and find.

  3. I gave my ex open access to my personal life because I had nothing to hide.

    He had access to emails, and facebook account (username and password supplied) and i found out later that he read my text messages also (without permission as such).

    His jealousy/possessiveness killed our relationship. I thought I was doing the right thing giving him open access but insetead he read things and ‘twisted’ them in his sick mind to mean something else. After accusing me of having it off with numerous fellas, he even read a text from a lesbian friend and accused me of having it off with her!!!

    Now i’ve met someone who has shown me what a ‘normal’ relationship is. What a difference – I feel happy and am not constantly worried about upsetting my partner. He loves me as I am and trusts me. I had trouble believing it for the first 9 months and thought it was all an act but now realise that there are good men in the world who now how to respect a woman and treat her right.

    good luck to you all. xxx

  4. i gave my boyfriend open acess to my fb and email … he changed the password on everything now i have no one.

  5. I agree that is better to respect personal limits and not to snoop on your loved one… supposed that communication is open, information is provided and you know where you are.
    I was married to a passive aggressive husband that never told me a lot about his feelings or appreciation for our marriage.

    However, he had two personal friends with whom he shared long phone conversations. I was never included on the content of such conversations….

    We had a house bought and high mortgage payments to pay, and my salary was not enough to cover it and live with the rest…However, when I asked him if everything was OK, he said “sure”

    My bad feelings were there all the time! I was worried about what was going on with him, but went nowhere about his plans.
    Finally, I had to install a system in his own computer, and so I got access to his emails and discovered that he was planning to leave me, the dates, the place where he will move to, and even his own budget for the move! His male friend was helping him all along to cover up his decision; even he offered to drive the getaway truck with his belongings out of our home.

    I was devastated, but finally knew what was going on…I could put my head into preparing for what was coming, and try to salvage something out of this disaster; had a plan for the mortgage payments and was ready to confront him with his 50% of responsibility for the house budget. At least, the legal/financial part of it was easier when it got cleared and I was not hoodwinked!

    Even then, it took me more than a year to overcome the sense of loss and betrayal, because he never told me why he was unhappy or what we could do together to make him happier, he did prefer to share with his friends but not with me….I really wanted my marriage to last.

  6. i went out with this one guy and we both really liked each other a lot, then a a mates party i found out he cheated on me. i was heartbroken but he kept saying he loved me and that he wouldn’t ever do it again i believed him and we kept going out.. after a long time we broke up and a while after that i found out he had cheated on me another time when we were going out! i felt so sick and mad and i hated him for that but i still have feelings for him.. i don’t think I’m ever going to get over him…

    so maybe it’s OK to snoop sometimes just to see what they are doing???