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Snooping: the act of looking where you know you shouldn’t and invading someone’s privacy. In the case of this article, that someone is your significant other.
Historically, I am not a snooper. I am certainly guilty of the infamous Facebook stalk—you’d better believe I clicked on that girl’s name and checked her out until I was certain that she was in a relationship; or that you are only one of many men in her pictures. And sure, I’m curious about who’s on your Instagram too. I’ll click on her name and poke around until I find enough reasons why you would want to be with me, and not her. But never, in my many opportunities, have I checked a boyfriend’s phone to read his texts.
There is something that feels different about social media when compared to a phone, which requires a password and is generally more personal. When it comes to the Internet where all of the information is right there, your curiosity doesn’t have to get the best of you. Within seconds you have answers, and the answers come from information that was posted for anyone to find.
I have never read a boyfriend’s texts simply because it has never occurred to me. I’ve never felt prompted to, or threatened, or worried enough to feel the need to check. Or maybe I’m just naïve.
But recently, I’ve been feeling like I’m potentially missing something; that maybe I’ve overlooked the possibility of having been cheated on.
A phone is not as private as I’d like to think. It’s not so distant from Facebook or Instagram. Just like posting a status update or a picture, once a text is sent it’s out there forever. A phone isn’t always locked, and even when it is, it’s certainly possible to unlock.
I realized this after watching too many girls get crushed by the same text message–the one that they were not meant to see, but went looking for anyway. The one that told them it was already over.
I spoke with a handful of women between the ages of 18-24 and asked them why they have or haven’t, would or wouldn’t, snoop. The consensus from the girls on why to snoop is due to a moment of doubt: a fight that never fizzled; texts that stopped being answered; sleepovers that stopped happening…
The results were really hurtful.
One woman I spoke with found a conversation between her boyfriend and his friend about the boyfriend’s ex—specifically, how he “should have titty fucked her when he had the chance.” Another friend logged onto her boyfriend’s Snapchat application to see whom he had been snapping, simply out of paranoia around what her boyfriend was really up to. An additional girl found a camera roll of nudes. Another found a “Goodnight I love you baby” text from another woman. Most girls I spoke with admitted to searching their names in a boyfriend’s text message list while he was in the shower, just to see what he was saying about her in any conversation.
One woman said, “How else am I supposed to know if he’s not in three other relationships?” And she’s not wrong in feeling that way.
In my relationships, I try to trust it’s just him and me. But sometimes things change and it’s hard to confront. Some problems with significant others are easier to share with someone else, and most things are easier to say through a screen. It is really hard to ask a guy what’s up, especially when you are feeling doubtful. It’s hard to ask the tough questions when you can already expect the tough answers. Consequently, many girls go straight for the snoop.
We live in a bizarre time where social media is intertwined with nearly everything. It is easy to text someone you probably shouldn’t, reply to a message in a way you know is wrong, or save a picture that is not worth saving. Information, even the kind we’re not supposed to see, is at our fingertips. It is so hard to say no. But I think doing so is avoiding a bigger issue.
If he’s texting someone else romantically, talking about someone else in a sexualized way, or speaking unkindly about you, the relationship has hit its boiling point. He is a coward because he chooses to express this in a secretive, mean way. But so are you for seeking it out instead of finding the root of the problem.
If you already want to open up his phone because you’re feeling the heat, it’s already over. When that trust deteriorates, what else is there? If you are opening his phone and finding nothing, even having gone there means something is not right. Going there and finding everything means it is seriously time to get out—but you should have already known that.
Every woman I spoke to said that when she snooped, she found something. Some things worse than others. But I’m forced to think of anyone picking up my phone and reading my messages with my best friend. She is the one person on earth I can speak completely unfiltered to. My feelings of impulse, anger, obscene happiness all go to her, and it’s not for anyone else’s eyes! We all have our go-to venting gal, so why shouldn’t he? I’m not saying you have to like it, but I encourage you to look at yourself and think of your private vent sessions with girlfriends. If your relationship is good, why go looking for something you are also guilty of, just to start drama? Everyone is allowed their private outlet and for many it’s through text messaging. Some impulsive moments are meant to stay private. Invading that privacy never ends well.
None of this is to say that you can’t fix what is broken but realize that snooping smashes an already cracked glass. Those warning signs I mentioned: the unfizzled fight, unanswered messages, stopped slumber parties, these are the subjects of conversations worth having. If you want to repair a relationship, this is where you have got to start talking.
“What is going on? Where is your head at? Where are we at? I want to work on it. I’m sorry. Let’s try again.”
There can be so much good gained from one conversation, even if that good means that it’s over. There is a lot more harm in sticking your nose where you know it does not belong. Asking questions, although harder, is far more productive.
You know the guy standing in front of you. You know if he’s lying, you know if he’s trying, you know if it’s worthwhile to hang on longer. Admit to yourself if you feel something is going on. Ask the tough questions, get the tough answers, and settle your nerves.
Snooping is wrong. It is wrong to invade someone’s privacy who expects you to trust and respect them. It wrong for someone who you trust to abuse the security that you should feel in a good relationship. Everyone deserves a private outlet. The same way you need your trusted confidants, so does your significant other. He is allowed that right, but he is not allowed to disrespect you or your relationship.
Contact Staff Writer Dani Pinkus at email@example.com.