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11 compelling reasons you should not go through your partner’s phone

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To snoop or not to snoop – that is the question.

Whilst today’s smartphones make communication faster, easier, and more convenient than ever, those same devices can potentially be used to hide a secret life.

Your partner’s phone could provide you with substantiated and credible information concerning their private life. That’s why so many people are tempted to snoop. It’s a way to keep tabs on what your partner is up to, who they are talking to, and whether anything untoward might be going on.

However, going through your partner’s phone can do more harm than good. Here are some big reasons not to spy on your partner’s phone, and healthy alternatives to snooping.

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11 Reasons Not To Snoop

1. It is a violation of their privacy.

Every individual deserves some level of privacy, even when they enter into a relationship with another person.

Keeping something private doesn’t mean that you are keeping it a secret. Some things simply don’t concern other people, not directly anyway.

Consider your internet browsing history, for instance. Imagine you were reading some articles about a health concern you might have. Is that your partner’s business? Well, you will probably want to share that concern eventually, but right now you might just be looking for some advice or even reassurance. Until you decide to share your concerns with your partner, they don’t need to know.

A reasonable level of privacy is normal in most relationships. Some couples may choose to share everything with each other, but others don’t. That’s a mutual choice you make.

But when you intentionally look for information about your partner behind their back, you violate their privacy and invade the boundaries that they have set.

2. You are effectively lying to your partner.

A lie of omission is when you withhold particular information from someone else; information that relates to them or your actions regarding them in some way.

Snooping is one such lie. You don’t tell your partner that you are looking at their electronic devices, their emails, or their social accounts. You are withholding information which directly relates to them.

Every healthy relationship is built on open communication, honesty, trust, and respect. Two things come into play when you look at your partner’s phone behind their back. First, you suspect your partner is not being honest with you. Second, you are not being honest with your partner. Both are unhealthy for your relationship.

3. You trust yourself less and act irrationally.

Suspicion and a lack of trust in a partner are not the only reasons people snoop. People also spy because they don’t trust themselves and their own ability to be the perfect partner.

Snoopers often suffer from toxic jealousy, leading them to act impulsively based on suspicion. Their lack of self-esteem leads them to assume that their partner is unhappy in the relationship and seeking happiness elsewhere. Although they have no evidence of their partner’s infidelity, they believe their partner is cheating on them.

If you are concerned about your partner’s fidelity, snooping is a dysfunctional way of dealing with it. The more you pry for validation, the less you trust yourself. It becomes a vicious cycle.

4. You become the bad guy.

Even if your snooping yields results and you do find evidence against your partner, the fact that you went through their phone will not work in your favor.

The moment you start poking around on their devices, you become the bad guy – the untrustworthy one in the relationship. Not only will your partner think badly of you, but so will anyone else who hears about what you did.

5. It causes further breakdown in communication.

Looking through your partner’s phone indicates that there has been a breakdown of communication between the two of you. You wouldn’t need to if you felt comfortable talking freely with your partner. That itself is a bad sign.

But snooping can also raise further barriers to communication. When you choose to snoop on your partner’s phone rather than communicate your worries to them, you reinforce an existing unhealthy communication pattern.

As walls of distrust begin to rise, open and honest dialogue decreases significantly. And if your partner discovers that you don’t trust them, it could lead to deeper communication problems between you both.

6. It causes your partner to lose trust in you.

Trying to check your partner’s phone behind their back means you don’t trust them. But that’s not all. When you snoop around, you reinforce the fact that you are a sneaky person. And sneaky people are deemed untrustworthy people.

So, while you snoop because you find it hard to trust your partner, remember that you could be causing them to lose trust in you. Once there is no trust, the relationship is doomed because it’s tough to regain that trust.

7. You make your partner feel insecure.

Imagine how your partner would feel if they found out about your snooping. Not only would they lose trust in you, they would begin to feel insecure about the relationship and themselves as a person.

After all, you are communicating that you think they are up to no good. You are suggesting that they are untrustworthy, and this can wreak havoc with their sense of identity. They may begin to worry about how others see them and if they have a reputation for being unreliable.

They will also think that the relationship is in real trouble. Having this thought in the back of their mind all the time will cause untold stress and anxiety. Do you really want to put your partner through that?

8. It destroys your peace of mind.

There are only two outcomes of snooping. One the one hand, you find incriminating evidence that will not make you feel good. On the other, you don’t find anything which can leave you wondering if your partner simply did a good job of covering their tracks, and therefore you need to look harder. Both results can ruin your peace of mind.

9. It can lead to paranoia.

When you believe that your partner is hiding information, you will find evidence even if none exists. For example, you could end up misinterpreting innocent messages sent to or received from a close friend or colleague.

There is a significant risk that what begins as an occasional peek into your partner’s phone when they are in the shower, can become a compulsive habit.

Snooping becomes the gateway issue to other trust issues. At some point, you won’t be satisfied with merely checking your partner’s phone. You will become obsessed with checking their computer, car, pockets, personal diary, and more. You might even find yourself stalking them and doing drive-bys on the sly.

10. It is a hard habit to break.

People who snoop around often have a hard time breaking that habit. What starts as mild suspicious behavior can quickly turn into something akin to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

You may even become obsessed with the thrill of finding more hidden information, leading you to take ever greater risks just to look at their phone and find more details secretly.

11. You’ll likely feel awful for doing it.

Nobody likes the feeling of being consumed with distrust and suspicion. When you snoop around, your conscience might tell you that what you are doing is wrong.

You might experience feelings of guilt, and you know that your sneaky behavior is not that of a self-respecting person.

How Not To Snoop, And What To Do Instead

Sometimes, just knowing that it is wrong to snoop is not enough. What you need is a reliable alternative to spying on your partner’s phone.

There are several ways you can get to the bottom of finding out if your partner is hiding anything from you. Here are some of those healthier options.

1. Consider why you want to snoop.

Are you aware of why you want to peek at your partner’s phone, messages, or emails? Are you acting on past experiences? Were you cheated on (either by an ex or your current partner) and fear it will happen again? Are you allowing abandonment issues or insecurity to ruin your present relationship?

Instead of diving into a snooping spree, take some time to reflect on your thought process and why you have an urge to snoop through your partner’s phone.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What makes me want to do this?
  • What do I hope to achieve by doing this?
  • Will this improve my relationship?
  • How can I approach the situation in a way that won’t cause distrust?

The answers to these questions are critical in helping you understand why you are suspicious, so be truthful with your answers.

Another advantage of reflecting on these questions is that your answers may stop you in your tracks so that you don’t act in haste.

2. Tell your partner about your concerns.

If you are worried that your partner might be hiding something from you, the best thing you can do is to talk to them about it.

But you don’t need to blurt out that you think they are lying or cheating or doing something they shouldn’t be doing. You can approach the subject delicately by focusing on your concerns and issues. By doing so, you avoid triggering a defensive attitude in them. You may even trigger a caring attitude instead.

Try something along the lines of:

“I’m feeling very insecure right now, and although you haven’t given me any reason to doubt you, I can’t shake this horrible feeling. I could really use some reassurance from you that you are honest, and that you don’t hide anything important from me, even if you do so because you think it’d be easier for me that way.”

As much as you might try not to make your partner feel bad, chances are they will feel a bit disturbed by this. But it’s far better than openly accusing them of something that they might not have done.

Chances are they will confirm that they are being honest with you. And whilst this may not put your mind completely at rest, it should help for now.

Then again, there is a chance that they will take this opportunity to reveal something they have been keeping from you. They might use this as a way to come clean. They might not have felt able to raise the subject themselves, but since you have started the conversation, they might now tell you everything. If this is the case, at least you will have found out about it in a way that maintains your personal integrity.

There is, of course, the chance that do have something to hide and that they will lie to you about it. In which case, you should be aware of the signs of lying.

3. Ask for more transparency regarding their communication with people.

Whether your worries are rational or not, you might ask for more transparency regarding their communication with other people. Your partner might agree to let you look at their texts, browser history, and call history.

However, there is a chance that your partner might refuse to give you access to their phone. That does not necessarily mean that they are hiding something from you – it could simply mean that they value their privacy.

If they say no, don’t try to force them to by giving them an ultimatum. But you can ask why they would prefer not to give you that kind of access to their messages and conversations. Simply talking about the subject in further detail may, in some ways, help to reassure you.

4. Love yourself. Get help.

People who snoop usually have trust issues. They don’t trust the person they are with, but more importantly, they don’t trust themselves.

If you find it hard to trust yourself, you will find it even harder to trust others. You deserve to be with someone you trust. That means you must first learn to trust yourself and your abilities.

Consider getting professional help to address your trust issues and learn to love yourself more. A counselor can help you delve into your past and dig out the reason for your lack of trust. They will then help you take the steps required to regain confidence in yourself and your loved one.

Once you know self-love, you will stop looking at your partner as a villain and yourself as a victim.

5. Look for signs of trust.

Snooping and looking for reasons to distrust your partner are not the best options when you find yourself driven by fear, anxiety, or suspicion.

Instead of looking for signs of broken trust, take stock of your relationship and recall happier times when you trusted each other. You don’t need to snoop around to get that data. You simply have to think about instances when your partner showed you they loved you and incidents that made you feel secure.

Sometimes thinking of the good times you had in the past can help you get a clearer perspective and put your worried mind at rest.

6. Get more of what you want from your partner.

It’s not uncommon to grow suspicious of your partner when they stop showering you with attention. You might believe that your partner is having an affair and has lost interest in you, which can make you want to spy on their messages and calls.

But consider the fact that your relationship might have simply entered a new phase that most lasting relationships reach eventually. You can’t expect the fires to burn so brightly after you’ve been together for several years or more. The romance should not disappear completely, but it won’t show itself so often.

And it’s natural to rediscover some of the interests that you might have gotten pulled away from during those intense first years of a relationship. This means you might actually spend less time together than you once did.

And, of course, there is the possibility that your partner might simply be busy and distracted with work or other important commitments.

But that’s not to say that you can’t get some of that attention back. Firstly, you should discuss the issue with your partner as they may not even realize that you have drifted apart slightly. They may be keen to spark the relationship up again and spend more time with you.

Beyond talking to them, you can try to engage with them in more subtle ways. Make the effort to compliment them, try to have pleasant conversations rather than depressing ones, suggest that you do something together and be the one who makes those plans. Make spending time with you more appealing and they’ll naturally give you more of their attention.

When they start noticing you again, you might realize that your suspicions were just a figment of your imagination.

7. Understand that nobody is perfect.

Nobody is perfect. That includes you and your partner. Sure, your partner might have quit their job and not told you, or they might be using your retirement money to fund a hobby. But instead of trying to prove their “bad” behavior and poisoning your relationship, try to understand their behavior and give them their space.

If you can recognize that nobody is perfect, you will be able to accept all your partner’s faults and forget about prying into their personal devices.

8. Trust your instincts and consider breaking up.

You and your partner deserve to be in a loving relationship based on trust.

If you do everything in your power to trust your partner but still find it hard to do so, perhaps it’s time to end your relationship.

Although you love them, breaking up would be the right thing for both of you. You deserve to feel safe in the relationship, and your partner deserves someone who trusts them.

If you have trust issues that prevent you from trusting someone, perhaps it’s best for you to be single for a while and to work on those issues, probably with the help of a trained professional.

Still not sure how to stop going through your partner’s phone This is a tricky situation, and one that can easily be made worse with the wrong approach. But Relationship Hero can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. Through regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert (by yourself and/or as a couple), you’ll learn precisely how to create a healthier and more fulfilling relationship—one that can last a lifetime. Learn more about Relationship Hero and get the kind of tactical relationship advice and ongoing support you need.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it ok to go through your partner’s phone?

The short answer is no.

It’s human nature to want to be around people we can trust and who can trust us. Trust is one of the social attributes that helped early man form tribes and communities. To be able to trust our partner and loved ones is one of man’s deepest desires.

Of course, if you have your suspicions about your partner, it’s natural to want to get to the bottom of them. But snooping and spying are things you must avoid at all costs.

Should I go through my partner’s phone if I suspect them of cheating?

No, you should not snoop – even if you suspect your partner of cheating on you.

One of the main reasons is that your suspicions will cloud your view of anything and everything you find. You’ll believe you have found evidence of infidelity in what are entirely innocent messages. You’ll see phone calls to an unknown number and assume it’s their lover. Your mind will go into overdrive at the slightest hint that something might be up.

There are healthier ways of dealing with your suspicions. First, ask yourself whether your fears are founded. Have you seen any of the main signs of cheating such as secretive behavior, changes in their appearance, or avoidance of you whenever possible?

If you haven’t and it’s just your trust issues getting the better of you, consider getting help from a counselor so you can learn to trust again.

If you continue to be suspicious of your partner and need answers, then you might just have to ask them directly. Yes, it will be an awkward conversation, but it will give them the opportunity to come clean. And if they deny any wrongdoing, you’ll either have to trust them or consider whether this is a situation you can live with.

Is snooping still wrong if you find something?

Finding evidence of lies, betrayal, or unfaithfulness can help you end an unhealthy relationship. So, you might think that if you snooped and found something, you were justified in snooping.

However, it would not change the fact that you went behind your partner’s back to dig through their private information – be it phone calls, texts, chats, emails, or videos. That would be a blatant violation of their privacy and property.

Should I own up to snooping?

That is a double-edged sword that could work for or against you. For instance, you could come clean and let your partner know that you have been snooping, and they might forgive you. Or they could lose trust in you, and things might never be the same again.

If you have a habit of snooping, it is best to admit you have a problem and seek help. If it’s something you did in the past and intend never to do again, you can safely keep this information to yourself.

I found my partner going through my phone – how do I tackle the issue?

Head-on. Don’t be afraid to address secrecy and dishonesty with your partner – it’s critical to support a healthy relationship. Let them know how you feel about their snooping. Together come up with a better approach for having more disclosure about each other’s phones.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.