Snooping and Spying on Your Spouse: Is it Ethical?

ethicaltospyI saw this too in the listing of search engines  searches by others that led them to my blog, such  “Is it ok to spy on my spouse?”

It’s certainly a controversial question, with no simple answer. I’m sure many spouses out there actively practice this activity — snooping and spying — whether through very active means (key-logger programs on PCs for example), or by means that are more circumstantial. A lap-top accidently left open with a spouse’s inbox. Or a cell phone sitting on a night stand, unlocked. 

Or maybe more extreme measures such as having a private detective follow your spouse around to see what they are doing.  Or attempting to hack into their phone.  Or put some sort of GPS tracking gizmo or listening device into the spouse’s car.  Anything to determine if your gut instinct is correct (or just because frankly you are an untrusting, insecure person and you do this despite any evidence that they are doing anything wrong).

It’s so tempting to just peek, isn’t it?  Not only is it wrong, but it could undermine your marriage/relationship. And some snooping is actually illegal and you could be charged.

In general, I would say that honesty is indeed the best policy, but questioning a mate that is acting suspiciously may or may not bring the truth out.  Anyone with something important to hide is unlikely to reveal the secret just because you try to appeal to their sense of decency as a person and an adult by asking them for the truth.

However, I also think this.  If you feel a compelling need to spy on your spouse based on no real evidence, but only a gut instinct, you already don’t trust them. And if you don’t trust them, your marriage/relationship is doomed anyway.  Done. Finished.  Unfortunately, trust is the basis for a mature, lasting relationship and once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Even snooping will only bring temporary relief (if nothing is found).  “Gut instincts” may be based on some real evidence, or they may merely the excuse used by insecure, controlling and untrusting partners to snoop.

Often, untrusting people are insecure people, and there aren’t enough “hoops” that you can jump through in order to make an insecure person feel secure. They tend to be black-holes of emotional need, and it will never be enough.  These searches, accusations and interrogations tend to continue no matter what.  Few spouses tolerate this type of humiliation and control indefinitely.

Spying/snooping, if done correctly, is without doubt the most effective way to discover the unadulterated truth.   This is where the problem presents itself; what is effective is unscrupulous, and what is ethical (just asking them) is usually fruitless.  It’s an ethical dilemma, I’ll grant you.

Some people will say — yes, the truth!  I can do whatever I wish in pursuit of “the truth”!!  Others will say, by doing so, you are being unethical and if discovered, your spouse will correctly realize that YOU are untrustworthy and dishonest, and may (rightly) leave you because of it.

How many of you out there would tolerate that your spouse went to great lengths to spy on you, especially when you’ve actually done nothing wrong?  That would be more than a red flag to most people.  Anyone with self-respect would recognize this as the end of the marriage and would walk.

And no, I don’t buy the argument that goes something like, “well, if you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t worry about being snooped on!”  That’s a canard.  A lie.  Privacy is not the same as “Secrecy”.   Not only do I think this over-used cliche misses the point, but is a poor justification for violating someone’s privacy and trust. The comeback to this cliche of course should be this: Because I value myself.  Privacy is a basic human need:  Implying that only the dishonest people have need of any privacy ignores a basic property of the human psyche, and sends a creepy message to the recipient.

Fundamentally, this slogan is a weapon. It is used to intimidate and confuse you; to force the receiver to bow down to the authority of the person who said and to be as cowardly and compliant as the person using it.  I guess those people also would have no problem with the Government spying on you, on your phone calls, your emails (re: Anyone heard of the NSA scandal under the current Administration?) — because afterall, if you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t worry about the Government prying into your life, right?  Few people would agree with this and want to set an appropriate boundary with the Government.  But then erase the boundary with their own partners due to their own insecurities and trust issues.

Even in a relationship, everyone has an expectation of basic respect, including that you won’t go snooping through their personal things (including phones and emails), or secretly track their movements, record their conversations or have them followed.  Even in a relationship, we are still individuals. We aren’t one “merged personality”.  We are two adult people. And basic respect still needs to be afforded even a spouse for 30 years.  If they CHOOSE to let you have access to their email, phone or other devices, all well and good.  But, you may have nothing to hide, and still not want your spouse rifling through your things — essentially spying on you.  Who would?  It’s demeaning. It’s being treated like a child.  It’s pure disrespect. 

I think that everyone has a different expectation of privacy within a committed relationship. Some people are more private than others.  This doesn’t mean they are doing anything wrong.   As with many things in relationships/marriages, it should be discussed and agreed upon.  To assume otherwise, I believe, is a dangerous step to take.

Nor can snooping/spying be justified by saying you are doing it to “protect the relationship.”  Crap.  No spouse would consider being spied upon as a positive thing meant to “protect the relationship.”  It’s not protection. It’s controlling and disrespectful.  Period.

And consider this:  If you decide to spy and find nothing, you may find reassurance, but you have violated your partner’s trust which should not be taken for granted.  YOU now have become the person with something to hide, and will have to be held accountable for your actions if the situation is ever brought to light.

And what many of you would-be or actual snoopers don’t realize is that there are numerous anti-spyware programs out there that quickly uncover that a PC or phone has been compromised by a key-logger or similar program.  You may be suspicious of YOUR spouse?  They may get suspicious of you and sweep their phone and PC with available, often times free programs, that will uncover what YOU are doing. And what will you say then?  You could end up divorced by resorting to dirty tricks and completely disrespecting your partner and their personal privacy.  You will be more than a little embarrassed if you are caught spying on a completely faithful spouse.  Personally, i would walk.  Just a fact.  It would indicate that trust does not exist, and a marriage cannot exist in an atmosphere of no trust.  Especially when you are supposed to be reconciling and rebuilding mutual trust.

Do you wish to appear to be dishonest, sneaky, controlling, insecure, untrusting, and paranoid in front of your spouse?  Consider that.

And there is case law that says that hacking your spouse’s email or intercepting their electronic communications is actually a CRIME in some States.  What may come as a surprise, however, is that such spying is illegal.  18 U.S.C. §2510-2521 provides for a cause of action against anyone who intentionally endeavors to intercepts any wire, oral, or electronic communication.  This includes not only phone communications like texts but also computer communications, e.g., emails.  U.S. v. Szymuskiewicz, 622 F.3d 701.  It does not matter if the interception of such communications is done by a spouse, the marital home falls within the purview of 18 U.S.C. §2510-2521.  Kempf v. Kempf, 868 F.2d 970, 973 (8th Cir. 1989).      In addition to there being a cause of action against a spying spouse, if information gained from such spying is used in subsequent legal proceedings, e.g., divorce, the spying spouse’s lawyer has opened him or herself to liability.  The tort of invasion of privacy allows a victim to sue not only the person who spied but also anyone who gives publicity to the information thereby gained.  Wis. Stat. § 995.50(2)(c).  Publicizing such information to the court or information even just to opposing counsel may constitute publicity.  Pachowitz v. LeDoux,  265 Wis. 2d 631 (App. 2003).  And the liability such an attorney opens him or herself up to can be steep; an invasion of privacy tort allows victims to seek punitive and compensatory damages plus attorney fees.  A vengeful spouse who catches you snooping on them electronically could turn the tables against you.

Beware the many websites that extoll the virtues of snooping — most of them are there to sell you a snooping product or service.  Thinly-veiled articles which justify snooping, even if illegal, in order to convince you that you need THEIR website to “catch your cheating spouse.”  They are hardly neutral on the subject.

As one therapist wrote,

“…being an electronic parole officer is not going to make your (spouse) faithful and reliable. You say (they have) put your health is at risk and your marriage is a sham.   So the real question is not whether your snooping is justified, but when you are going to decide to get out.”

Exactly.  Except in extreme circumstances, I think it’s a dangerous road to go down, fraught with peril.  And you who suspects your spouse of dishonesty and betrayal will be going down the same path. And in the end, who is the better person? Neither of you.

As someone on a message board said,

I don’t know which is worse because snooping and cheating are BOTH reprehensible. Once a person starts snooping the relationship should end regardless of what is found because it indicates there is no trust. I would never cheat, but if I found out my history or phone records were every looked at I would end the relationship immediately with no questions asked because I can not be with someone who does not trust me. I also feel that once a person starts snooping (or cheating) they are just looking for an excuse to end the relationship. Cut out the games. If you are unhappy, leave. Simple as that.

Wouldn’t it be better for your mental health and longevity of a relationship to not give into your insecurities and unfounded fears but, instead, have an open discussion about your concerns?  You can tell the person that you love them, but you have trust issues. Tell him that those issues can be alleviated, but it will require some changes and understanding.  Wouldn’t this be a better approach?

In the end, there are no easy solutions. Most people want the truth, but the reality of the situation is that either knowing the truth, or your morals, may have to be sacrificed.  To catch a suspected unethical liar who is maybe hiding something will turn the snooper into the unethical liar that is definitely hiding something.

Bottom line: It has pitfalls.  When you go down this path, you take much risk.  You could end up losing the very thing you sought to protect.

Expect the same from yourself that you expect from your spouse –  honesty.

Snooping in the Immediate Aftermath of an Affair

This is a separate question and I didn’t want to get it mixed up with overall idea about spying on a spouse/partner. It’s a unique circumstance.   After an affair, when trust has already been blown to smithereens and although reconciliation is the goal, the Betrayed Spouse often struggles to trust the Wayward Spouse again, and does a certain amount of snooping to verify that the Wayward Spouse is on the right track again.

After the disclosure of my affair, I know my wife went through my work bag, my drawers and papers. Probably my car too.  I know she went on searches on the internet to see what I may have posted on message boards.   I was electronically stalked by her for at least a solid year.  Web pages I had visited were scrutinized, as was ever Facebook post I made in the past or present.   I’m sure I don’t even know all the things she did to discover evidence and to verify my fidelity to her in the wake of the affair and, frankly, I don’t want to know.   I had to tolerate this humiliation as part of the price I paid for the huge sin I committed.   At least for a while, anyway.  I accepted that, even if I didn’t like it and although, once we were well into reconciliation–after a year had gone by– I began to resent the questions (which really were thinly-veiled accusations) that resulted from her searches and scrutiny.  At some point, I insisted, and rightly so, that this sort of tracking of me end, as did the accusatory questions.  That if I was expected to not be honest and forthright and communicative with her on all things, I expected her to show me the same respect back.  Reconciliation is a two-way street.

So for some of you out there, I do offer this warning:  An affair should not be used as an excuse for long-term, indefinite snooping. I think it’s a mistake and, if uncovered, will cause resentment against you. Maybe even your spouse leaving you anyway.  Is this what you really want?  They gave into temptation and are paying the price.  And if you give into the temptation to snoop, you may pay one too.

© COPYRIGHT 2006, 2007, 2013 Recovering Wayward Enterprises, LLC

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31 thoughts on “Snooping and Spying on Your Spouse: Is it Ethical?

  1. “Often, untrusting people are insecure people, and there aren’t enough “hoops” that you can jump through in order to make an insecure person feel secure. They tend to be black-holes of emotional need, and it will never be enough. ”

    This is the heart of the matter right here. I was married to one of those black-holes of emotional need, and it sucked the life of me. My husband was snooping years before I ever cheated — he snooped and spied before we were married, before we even had a commitment. And years later, when I was caught cheating, he pointed back to behavior that happened before we ever had an exclusive relationship to illustrate that I was untrustworthy. Even though I wasn’t cheating back then.

    I’m not saying that I cheated because he didn’t trust me anyway. But at some point it really didn’t matter anymore. Lie. Truth. Didn’t matter.

    It got to a point where he looked at my Facebook page every day — and not just at comments I made or comments others made on my page. He looked at everything I clicked “Like” on, and questioned me about it. “Why did you like that comment/photo/cute puppy picture?” Everything I did must have had some meaning and he wanted to find out what it was.

    GPS tracker. Check. Phone bill analyzed — he did that for years. Texts questioned. Every movement monitored.

    “Anyone with something important to hide is unlikely to reveal the secret just because you try to appeal to their sense of decency.”

    No kidding. Finally, when there was something to hide, I certainly wasn’t going to confess! I had been falsely accused so many times, like I was going to admit it when it was true!

    Perhaps there is a correlation here. An insecure person marries someone who makes them feel more insecure. The spouse might be an honest, trustworthy person. But then they get constantly questioned, quizzed, badgered and investigated. They have to escape. They leave the relationship. Doesn’t mean they cheat, but some do.

    “It’s not protection. It’s controlling and disrespectful. Period.”

    Absolutely.

    • You make my point. Snooping, unless based on concrete evidence, is usually about insecurity and the need for control. And is in your case, it can backfire drastically.

  2. I’m not against a little bit of snooping here n there in the beginning. Long term snooping is not healthy for building trust. I am WAAAY more in favor of good, non-accusatory communication with a spouse about feelings of insecurity. Insecurity is not a bad thing, but what we do with it could be. Unfortunately in our marriage, communication was the biggest problem. Not that we communicated poorly, but that we just didn’t most of the time. That is where I now try to focus my energy. Do I look at his FB page, of course. He’s my sweetie and I want to be sure I see his posts, that I sometimes miss in my newsfeed. Do I question him, almost never (except when OW#2 followed him). And then it wasn’t really questioning or accusing him, but just letting him know that I suspected that it was really OW#2 using a fake name. And that opened up an opportunity for us to spend some extra time building our TLC.

  3. “Wouldn’t it be better for your mental health and longevity of a relationship to not give into your insecurities and unfounded fears but, instead, have an open discussion about your concerns?” – Same goes for deciding to have an affair. We don’t always think that far ahead or sometimes we simply just do what feels right or good in the moment.

    I agree that snooping is an issue and people need to acknowledge when they have a problem, but most people don’t want to talk about it because of the shame they would feel admitting to their behaviors….just like those who have affairs or do things they know are wrong. And when you don’t talk about your problems, more problems come out of it that affect both people in the relationship.

    Just because someone may snoop doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed. Your wife didn’t decide that your relationship was doomed when she found out about your long-term affair. The opportunity and willingness for change and growth was there, even out of something so awful.

    But, I do agree that if snooping is done without reason, it is about insecurity and that is something only that person can work on, but it would be nice to be supported in that. So if they are discovered, I don’t think they should be shamed and banished….unless it is out of control, then there are even more serious mental issues going on with that person that you may not want to be a part of.

    • well here’s where I disagree. Most people would rightly conclude that if their spouse was secretly snooping on their phones and email that trust is not there. Or they are trying to be controlled. Or both.

      And when trust is that shattered, you don’t have a marriage between two adults who respect each other –instead, you have a “Parole Officer.” And only a spouse without options would stay.

      I’m not talking about spouses in the aftermath of an affair. I’m talking about the ones that do it based on nothing but “gut instinct” that in many cases is just their own insecurities talking.

      It’s wrong. It’s disrespectful. I would walk. Anyone with self-respect would do the same.

      Sorry, but I vehemently disagree with you. I hope that you aren’t saying that you are one of those people that does it.

      I would never stoop to such tactics. How can I verify the honesty and trust of my partner by engaging in dishonest and untrustworthy methods? It’s hypocritical. It’s immature. It’s wrong. It’s ultimately self-defeating. If I had that many problems trusting my spouse, I would get out of the relationship before I would take such drastic steps. The urge to spy would be a sign to me that the relationship was fatally flawed. And if I was on the other side, and found my wife spying on me, I probably would walk at that point for the same reason. I wouldn’t want to live with someone who so violated my privacy and did not trust me. Again, that’s not a marriage. Just sayin’.

      You can disagree. You blog on it yourself. But my blog entry stands on its on. I shouldn’t be restating it. I wrote it because I think it’s true.

      • I am talking about the same kinds of people who snoop. Maybe you don’t understand it because you’ve never been that person. I understand that it isn’t healthy for a relationship, but for someone who has been betrayed many times over in many relationships, they may have a fear of commitment. Does this mean that they should never try to be in a relationship again? No. They just might need help learning to trust and not live in fear that everyone will hurt them in some way or another. It doesn’t mean they are psycho for feeling like they might need to check up on their current partner. It takes empathy and patience to understand this.

        Just like you gave your wife in the beginning. Once the problem is brought to light, then it needs to stop. If it doesn’t, then I would say it’s time to move on.

        I’ve been that person. When Mike and I first started dating and I became really serious about him, I needed to know that he was serious about me. We lived an hour and a half away, so it would have been easy for him to mess around when I wasn’t there. I was worried that because I couldn’t be there for him but every two weeks that I may not be enough for him. I didn’t start snooping until I found a voicemail on his computer from a girl asking him if he needed some company one night. I confronted him and he explained who she was, but I was still unsure about how honest he was being. I never had anything else pop up to make me think that he was being dishonest – except for his ex saying that she still came over to do laundry when he wasn’t there (which he still denies and she admits), but I had to do random checks to feel assured. I can probably count on one hand the amount of times that I checked up on him through our whole relationship and it was mostly in the first couple of years together.

        That’s how I learned to trust him. We talked about it and he understood. We both were ok with sharing passwords to accounts, etc. Even after his affair, I don’t check up on him. I know that if he is going to cheat, that he knows how to do it and not get caught, so I don’t bother with worrying myself about it. If I have suspicions based on changes in his behavior, then I’ll worry. But it took me coming to this understanding to know that snooping does nothing for me. I should be able to trust his word based on his actions.

        But we aren’t talking about affair-related snooping. Yes there are some people who snoop to control or because they have absolutely no trust, but I would think that these kinds of people in relationships would really stick out and throw up every red flag in the very beginning. Your radar should pick up on the signs very early on. For instance, if someone requires that you call them when you leave work….red flag. If your partner gets angry at you if you talk to a member of the opposite sex – especially if it is a simple conversation…..red flag. So forth and so on.

      • I don’t care what anyone’s history is. You have to treat every person with respect. And snooping and spying are disrespectful and wrong. My reasoning is well laid out in the article. You can’t justify it and certainly not based on your past. That’s just holding the current person responsible for the sins of others, or to compensate for your partner’s massive insecurities. It’s just plain wrong.

        And yeah, any self-respecting person would flee from someone that did that to them.

    • I’m sorry, Wendy, but that’s just CRAP. My opposition to your point of view on this matter has nothing to do with you being a BS. Not at all. Nor am I going to allow you or anyone to try and derail my arguments with those kinds of accusations. I can’t believe you are even trying that on me.

      I wrote this because I believe it to be true. So no, I’m not going to entertain alternate points of view. If you want to blog on how snooping and spying on a spouse is just hunky-dory, have at it!!

      But please don’t and try and say that I’m hateful because I don’t agree with you. That’s such utter and complete HORSESHIT. I’m surprised you’re even trying it on me.

      • I have seen the jabs in other posts….that’s why I haven’t responded in a long while. You just seem so resentful when you write now. I really didn’t even want to comment on this post, but I did. I wanted to make a point, but I see that it doesn’t matter what I say.

      • I defend my point of view. If some people don’t like it — Betrayeds or otherwise — well, tough shit. They have their own blogs to present their points of view. But my point of view is not tainted in this way. I am here to help anyone that wants help. But I’m not here to debate my point of view. Sorry. NOt with you. Other BSs. Or anyone else.

        Accept or reject it. No skin off my nose. But I’m not going to let bullshit go either. Sorry. Your accusations concerning my motivations are silly.

      • I write what I write because I think it’s true and hopefully helpful to some. I agree that there are a lot of Betrayed Spouses that are not open to any point of view that doesn’t agree with their own, which is often based on an unending stream of anger and longterm victimhood. I don’t write for those people. They are beyond help. I don’t comment on their blogs. Heck, I don’t even read them anymore.

        I write for those that CAN be helped. That WISH to be helped. Betrayed, Wayward or otherwise.

        But I don’t require or compel ANYONE to read my blog, let alone comment. I just won’t listen to nonsense from anyone. If this makes me “anti-BS” or “hateful” in your eyes, well, what can I say? It’s sad. It’s incorrect. It’s complete horseshit, since I’ve always liked you.

        so be it.

      • I don’t think that you are open to any point-of-view that doesn’t agree with your own either. I agree that you do have some very good topics that you discuss and you make some excellent points, but I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t accept an opposite view that could be helpful to you or others.

        I’m fairly sure that I was able to do this for you at times when we had many long discussions after we first met on here. I don’t post my opinion to make you agree with me, but to make you think…

        Isn’t that our overall goal?

      • I don’t know what your goal is for your blog, but I know it’s different from mine. Your blog is about you and your life, for the most part. Mine isn’t any longer. It’s about the topic. Helping people. You seek the comments and agreements from others on your posts. Your posts are about you and your marriage and the issues you face, so you are very emotionally invested in what you write. I’m not. I’m only indirectly related to my posts, so I don’t feel the same emotional investment about the entries I make. They aren’t personal, largely. I purged most of those entries out. Only the “Letter to the Other Woman” is very personal. Some of the questions that come at me directly about my situation are personal in my answers. But for the most part, most of my blog is not about me. So I think in that our blogs are fundamentally different and therefore have different goals.

        Merely because I don’t accept some posts (and I’ve accepted EVERYTHING you have ever posted on my site), doesn’t mean I lack an “open mind.” I’m sorry, but you can’t lay that on me.

        It however does mean this — I have already considered those points of view when I conceived the blog entry and when I wrote it. I do research whenever I’m conceiving an entry here. I search around. I read various points of view. So by the time I actually publish a blog entry, I thought about it all already. Rarely do I get a point of view here on the topics of affairs I hadn’t already heard, read or thought of. And therefore what I write is what I think is right. But sometimes I do, and I have edited my blog entry accordingly, instead of debating the point in comment boxes. So when I put these things out there, I’ve already considered all POVs and given what I think is not only correct but will be helpful to others. It’s my point of view on the topic at hand.

        But to have someone come along and just yell out, essentially, that I’m incorrect, and therefore, have to RESTATE in the comment boxes what I’ve already stated in the blog to me is an enormous waste of time. It detracts from the blog. It can have a chilling effect on participation, especially by former cheaters, who are used to being shouted down (and shouted at) by militant Betrayed Spouses on other blogs, message boards etc. They often don’t have a place where they can safely post a point of view without being ganged up upon just for being who they are. Mine is not going to be that kind of place. People like you outnumber us probably 500 to 1 in blog-land. I’m not going to allow militant, shrill, overly-emotional people to post bullshit on my site in order to try and shout me, and people like me, down. Whether they are a BS’er or not. I just won’t. And no, I’m not including you in that group. Most of the time, you are lucid, balanced and thoughtful. Sometimes you get over the top. Sometimes I think you’ve done things, written things or said things to Mike that make me shake my head if reconciliation is your goal. That being said, I think overall you’re pretty balanced and fair. Many of your BS friends however are not.

        Just try being a Wayward and posting on their sites a contrary opinion. That you think they are wrong. That they will likely drive their Wayward Spouse out the door if they say something or do something. Just try. Don’t think people like me get shouted down there? Some of my posts on their sites in the past disappeared quicker than a Snicker’s bar at a fat farm. Fair enough. It’s their blogs. Their lives. *Shrugs*

        Sorry, Wendy, I truly believe that most of the people that post on your site are either divorced, in the process of divorce, or will be divorced. And these gangs of Betrayeds can lead people like you astray because they tend to have one mindset. It’s a danger of a real group-think. I don’t do that here.

        I honestly don’t care whether people comment or not, to be honest. I’d rather have my posts stand on their own. I do not seek the affirmation or agreement from others on my posts. Anyone is free to accept them or reject them, but they are my point of view. Honestly given as I can give it. If no one ever commented, I honestly wouldn’t care. Seriously.

        I rarely post on Betrayed’s sites any longer. I feel like it’s an utter and complete waste of time. My words will never get through. So why argue? They are no more open-minded than me, and in most cases, FAR less so. Their POVs ar often clouded by excess anger and rage that I don’t possess.

        My site is not going to be a free-for-all. It’s not a democracy either. I get notes ALL THE TIME from people thanking me for my blog and how much it has helped them — both Waywards and Betrayeds. I could post some of them. So clearly I must be doing SOMETHING right.

        I have no ax to grind against Betrayeds, although I honestly believe a lot of them are saying things and doing things that are marching them to divorce, despite all the hollow words these say concerning forgiveness, understanding, love and reconciliation. Most are trying to pursue justice and revenge while talking about forgiveness. It doesn’t work. I’ve said it over and over again. If you can’t forgive, you can’t heal. If you can’t heal, why bother? Pull the plug now and stop wasting your time and your spouses. Forgiveness is a choice. Not an impossibility. A CHOICE. More people should have the maturity and forethought to choose it, and let go of the ego and fear-driven anger and rage they cling to tightly often years after infidelity has occurred. EITHER FORGIVE THE SPOUSE OR LET THEM GO. BUT FOR PETE’S SAKE, STOP TORTURING THEM AND YOURSELF IF YOU REFUSE TO FORGIVE!!

        That being said, I TRULY hope to help everyone – Betrayeds and Waywards alike. It’s why I keep this blog. It’s part of my personal penance. What you have forgotten (or don’t see in private questions I get) is that often I have been harder on a Wayward than a Betrayed. Or suggested to the Betrayed that they need to wake up and smell the kimchi and dump their Wayward, based on what they tell me. So am I still “hateful” towards BS’ers, Wendy?? Or only when I disagree with some of the dogma they usually read and say?

        But I’m not going to allow it to become a place for people hostile to people like me to come and try and shout down what I think is sound advice. Nor will I let other readers be intimidated by them.

        I invite anyone who disagrees with my POV to post on their own blogs. It’s a free country. I invite anyone who finds my existence and POV grotesque and incomprehensible to not read my blog. I’m not compelling anyone to do so. Other than you, I don’t know anyone here. I don’t really give a shit what they do or whether they are divorced or not. Truly. I have nothing against Betrayeds in general. Truly I don’t. I only care what MY Betrayed thinks.

        I do have a problem with emotional, shrill nonsense. I won’t support it here. From anyone. And certainly not name-calling against me. Do you allow it on yours? If so, why?

        But to suggest that my POV is based on “hatred” of Betrayeds is not only inaccurate, it’s insulting. It’s silly. I won’t tolerate crap here. Maybe you do on yours, but I don’t. It’s a blog — our kingdoms and each of us is the King there. We get to set the purpose and rules. I’m under no obligation to post every comment, especially the stupid ones. And I get them. I will, however, promise to continue to consider all points of view and, when I feel appropriate, revise my blog entries accordingly. As I always have. but I won’t be hung with the moniker of “hateful” or “close-minded” merely because I sometimes disagree with you or people like you. How ridiculous.

        I hope that clears things up. I have nothing against you. I have nothing against Betrayeds in general. I have a purpose to this blog and arguing is both a diversion from that purpose and a waste of time. I’m not being personal. Nor do I dislike you, despite what you’ve said about me.

        Again, so be it.

  4. I have mixed feelings about this topic. For nearly thirty years, it never would have crossed my mind to look through my husband’s phone, read his email, etc. And then a long time co-worker began calling him and texting him much more. I believed his lies. They were just working on a difficult project. They needed to be in close contact, yes even weekends and evenings. Then they needed to go out alone for lunches and sometimes dinners…to discuss said project. As I questioned the relationship, I was told that I was paranoid, jealous and needed medication. Perhaps I even needed to be hospitalized. He almost completely disconnected from not just me but the kids. Skipping school and sports events to spend time “working”. I suffered and the kids suffered. For the first time, I DID look at his phone. I DID peek at his email. And you know what I found? Zip, zilch, nada. He was OH so careful about deleting or hiding files.

    So. I gained nothing. Felt worse about myself. Began to believe that perhaps I WAS crazy! But in the end of course, all his accusations were just a smoke screen to cover his affair. My instincts were RIGHT all along. Do I regret looking? No. If I had found something, we could have addressed it sooner and perhaps be further along on our healing process. The thing is, while I am not a big advocate of snooping, I am also not an advocate of cheating on your spouse and kids. I am not an advocate of making up elaborate lies so you can talk, text and go out with your affair partner. All while your spouse is home cooking, cleaning, doing childcare and generally taking up the slack that a cheating spouse leaves in their wake. It can get overwhelming. It can force you to search for answers in ways you NEVER would have seen yourself doing. It can lead you to take DESPERATE measures to figure out WHAT is going so very WRONG in your marriage. I tried talking to him many, many times. I begged for counseling etc. All to no avail. He was in it too deep.

    Fast forward to today. Today we have trust again. I do NOT look at his emails, or his phone. His actions, his behavior with me and the kids, all point to the fact that he is the trustworthy man I married. He himself chooses to be more open about things. He has told me often that he wants his life to be an open book. That is his choice, nothing I forced on him. I told him I don’t care if he looks at my email or picks up my phone. There is nothing to see, and that is my choice. I would not want something FORCED on either of us. But there is no denying that he broke many things with his affair, trust being one of the biggest. It takes time to rebuild. Would I ever snoop again? Honestly? I probably wouldn’t. I don’t think I would need to. i would know the signs. I would see the behavior. I would be braver about confronting and demanding truth. I am a stronger person than I was then, not as ready to hide in denial.

    I suppose my bottom line short answer would be, there might be a season or occasion where this could become necessary. If this happens to you more than once, get out. You are officially with someone that is willing to make the same mistake twice. Don’t let them.

    • I can’t disagree with you. there ARE circumstances where snooping and spying is both defensible and necessary. But rarely, in my opinion. And I’m not talking about a situation where your spouse has been caught in more than one affair. I’m talking about those people who snoop without merit. Without evidence. Or, like one reader, because she had been cheated on in the past by other men.

      It’s a bad idea. It’s unethical. People will walk away from you if you’re caught doing it. That was my point. I wouldn’t stay one more minute in a relationship if that was happening to me. It would be over and done. I’m not going to live with someone who would be that dishonest and treat me with such disrespect. There would be no coming back from it because frankly insecure people suck. They need to control you and everything. They are never satisfied. Never happy. And they will suck the life right out of you.

      And in all situations, if you feel that you have to snoop to verify your spouse’s honesty and fidelity, you might was well just leave instead. Trust is gone. Just like some of you say, “If you feel the need cheat, leave your spouse first.” I agree: If you feel the need to stoop to snooping and spying, you would show more personal ethics by leaving instead.

  5. Snooping without merit or evidence is always a bad idea. It signals a colossal breakdown in communication. Step one should be to ask yourself WHY you are feeling the need to snoop and step two should be an open honest dialog about your fears and needs. Snooping should always be a last resort. Even then it may not end well, but it also may expose an affair and bring things out in the open that need to be dealt with one way or another. It may allow a marriage to have honesty and healing or it may allow the parties to move on with their lives.

  6. i hate snooping. or rather, i hate that i feel like i have to 😦 I want that full transparency… but at the same time i know, if he wants to keep secrets. hes going to find a way to keep secrets and as much as it pains me, i cant control that.

    After finding out about the affair, yep, i went straight to his email. we have used the same password for all our stuff our entire relationship. he had changed the one on his email. I lost my shit over it heh. He gave me the new password. I think he thought I wouldnt find anything, as in emails from her, which there werent thank god. I dont need that in my head. But he didnt realise the depths we go to in the wake of an affair to get the facts… i found a lot of other clues about what had been going on, pictures on his google+ account, (argh! burned into my memory!) fake sms app purchases in his google wallet… restaurant coupons he had bought (and not taken me!) a hotel membership, his air points account… searches he had made on his phone.

    You can go through all my stuff if you like, I have nothing to hide… Granted, im a stay at home mum, i dont get out much lol. My passwords for everything are still the same (even the new email i made for my blogging has the same password) Im not even sure i know whats going on when i go looking. What am i hoping to find? evidence to grill him over? answers? i dont know,.. i tell myself im trying to keep myself safe., but it also feels like im just trying to do my own head in some more. He asked me if i was trying to ruin everything by snooping… he says i need to stop stalking him… whattttttt? im your WIFE fool!

    • Sorry. I have to disagree. He’s right. At some point, the snooping has to end. It’s corrosive. It’s disrespectful. It’s humiliating. Being his WIFE doesn’t give anyone license to treat someone like that. I certainly wouldn’t do something like that, except in extreme circumstances. I don’t know how far you are from D-Day, but at some point, if you really want to reconcile, this needs to stop. Forgiveness and moving forward needs to be the order of the day — not being his Electronic Parole Officer.

      And yes, I’ve heard the argument — “If you have nothing to hide, then what’s the big deal if I snoop?” . But when can turn this around, “if you trusted me, why do you need to snoop?” It goes both ways. Or saying, “Go ahead and snoop on me, I don’t care” as a justification for your snooping also misses the point and is a lame excuse for treating someone this way.

      Either reconcile the marriage, forgive, heal and give trust again — or get divorced. Treating someone like an ex-con indefinitely won’t work. He will likely eventually get discouraged and move on.

      I certainly would.

      Nothing you can tell me will ever convince me that snooping on a partner without evidence is appropriate or ethical, nor is indefinitely snooping on a partner who had an affair. At some point, either you forgive, or leave. But snooping ? I think it’s a bad idea and likely to backfire in most cases.

  7. I’m a curious person and have taken a peek inside a bathroom drawer a time or two but I do not snoop ony husband. I have snooped a total of three times in the 16 years we’ve been together. He didnt like it as I exposed his hidden gambling accounts. He is a very private person and I respect that now. I am guilty of cheating on my husband. If he requested my passwords I would give them to him no problem. He doesn’t have any desire to snoop through my phone records, emails, or cyber history. If he has a doubt he asks me about it now. Snooping in a relationship is no good in the long run.

    • I guess I had an emotional affair. I was texting an old BF from tenth grade after running in to him while visiting my sister in my hometown. After 2 months my husband of 31 years noticed one of the texts. Things have never been the same in my marriage. I was guilty. I admitted my guilt. Begged for forgiveness. That was 8 months ago. My husband won’t forgive me (not ready). I think he tries but cannot get past the hurt and anger. So much of what you have written is right on the money! His mistakes, my mistakes. We tried counseling, but that seemed to make these even worse. He has no trust in me and says the only way I can recover that trust is to never speak to another man privately in any shape, form or fashion. I believe he is setting me up for failure. He has hacked into my phone in order to locate me at all times, monitors all text and phone calls as well as my web history. I think has used GPS tracking as well. I get why he has done this. What I done understand is the anger when he can’t find anything I’ve done wrong. So he questions me over and over on some random comment I made to my sister in a text weeks ago. I honestly can’t even remember by then and I panic, which he takes as guilt. I am just trying to get through my “punishment” the best I can, but I truly don’t know if I will make it.

      Anyway, reading this information has helped me tremendously. I learned a whole lot about what I have done wrong while trying to recover and save our marriage. Hopefully, I will still have time to put what I learned to use.

      • I feel bad for you. Trust has to be re-earned, but I don’t think that spying on your spouse, hacking into their personal accounts and phone, ambushing them with accusations is very motivating for a former cheater either. Only you can decide when “enough is enough”, and insist that this type of behavior stops or that perhaps you will reconsider your marital situation. He’s trying to reestablish your boundaries. Fair enough.But I think you need to insist on some for him too.

        I too had to put up with a bit of this myself. But by the time a year had gone by, I insisted that these types of unfounded accusations and tracking me electronically stop. Immediately. Because it was discouraging me and fomenting resentment inside of me, and was this what she wanted? I think she got the message. Or at least it’s not so “in my face” any more.

        Anyway, you did wrong, but it doesn’t mean you have to tolerate his behavior indefinitely either. Nobody likes being treated like a child and have their spouse act like a “Parole Officer.”

  8. i dont know what im doing. im trying to detach (so i tell myself?) and i feel like catching his lies out helps me do that? 9 months out and hes still talking to her… i think i need to start looking at smaller pieces of the picture…

  9. Don’t you think people are comparing apples and oranges in a way though? I personally think there are two situations here, and both situations are entirely different:

    1) A marriage where “trust” is already damaged/destroyed because one spouse is actively harming “the trust” by purposely misleading and being dishonest while participating in adultery. In this instance, the disloyal spouse has already shot “the trust” to hell and their actions indicate to the loyal spouse that “the trust” is in trouble. And in that instance, where there is reasonable reason for the loyal spouse to find the truth, THEN it is objective and rational to gather some of the lies the disloyal is putting forth, and make the attempt to verify them or not…and then address the truth even if it’s ugly.

    2) A marriage where both spouses are open with each other, they are sharing their lives, they are including each other and thus there is no damage being done to the “trust” and neither one is hiding things or misleading. In this second instance, it’s neither reasonable nor objective for one of the spouse’s to have lack of “trust” for their spouse. It is reasonable to periodically verify what your spouse puts forth, but after a period where the words and actions are matching, the trust should build. If it does not, THEN it is unreasonable and irrational to continue to snoop on your spouse.

    • yes, I covered this in my blog. I’m not talking about where an affair was recently uncovered. I sort of understand snooping then. But even then, I still think it’s a bad idea and needs to end at some point. If you want your spouse to be completely honest and open with, why would you become the dishonest one with something to hide?

      But as I said in my blog, I’m talking about those who snoop where infidelity hasn’t occurred with their spouse, or there is no evidence. Did you see one comment? A woman here justified snooping/spying because she had been cheated on in the past. BY OTHERS, NOT HER SPOUSE. That’s what I’m talking about. Flat-out wrong.

      If you don’t trust someone, leave. But these tactics make you no better than a cheater. They are dishonest and unethical.

  10. I appreciate this post as this is a burning question I have after my husband’s emotional affair was brought to light this summer, oddly, by the OW. But this wasn’t his first in our 16 years of marriage, and I am so afraid that another one will surface once the dust calms. I check his phone, e-mail, FB from time to time and am delighted that there is nothing to find, but I don’t want to feel I need to do this forever. I feel we are on the path to healing and my trust in him is being rebuilt, but since these little emotional flings have been going on for so long, my question is when do I/ can I stop checking up on him? I want to treat my husband like an adult and I want to trust him 100%. I look into blogs like these for answers because I still don’t know what to expect and at what stage of healing I am in. I find myself almost “addicted” to other people’s stories and how they over came or did not over come so I can emotionally get past the affair and move on, not spending so much time searching for answers. If anyone has feedback about their own experience and how long they “searched” for healing, I would appreciate it. I am considering counseling for myself, but my husband doesn’t feel he needs it, that we can work this out ourselves. I just feel there are so many questions and unanswered things… I just need to talk them out.

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