Is It OK To Snoop In Your Partner’s Email?

This is a guest article by Michelle F. from lovingfromadistance.com.

Is it okay to snoop?

Is checking your boyfriend or girlfriend’s email okay?

In a word, NO.

I would never give my boyfriend the password to my email address, and he would never give me his.

Is it because we don’t trust each other?

No. We value our privacy and respect each other’s privacy. We trust each other completely.

Why is sharing your passwords with your boyfriend or girlfriend not the smartest thing to do?

A boyfriend innocently gives his girlfriend his password to his email so she can check something for him when he can’t get on a computer to get online. He doesn’t bother to change the password after, and the girlfriend remembers her boyfriend’s quirky password.

Somewhere down the road, she gets a little suspicion that he may be flirting with another girl. So what is the first thing she does?

Checks his email of course.

She may even try out the password on some of his other online accounts. She may find nothing, but ever since she first snooped, she begins to habitually check his email and becomes obsessive; addicted even.

She knows it’s wrong but can’t help to use this to her “advantage” to keep an eye on her boyfriend.

If her boyfriend found out she’d feel ashamed and embarrassed, but she can’t help but feel tempted to check her boyfriend’s email – and in a way, she feels that as long as he doesn’t know she is checking his email, it’s “okay.”

Should she really be in this relationship if she can’t trust her boyfriend?

The above scenario happens all the time.

Frank and I give long distance relationship advice both on and off our site. We have come across quite a few snoopers along the way.

Most snoopers are good people that acquired their boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s password innocently. If your boyfriend ever gave you his password, might you not feel tempted to go back and read his emails?

Even if you had no reason to feel suspicious? For most habitual snoopers, once they start, they can’t stop.

That is why I advise people to not share their passwords with anyone, not even a boyfriend or girlfriend.

But what if you are a snooper, and you stumbled across something that indicates your boyfriend wasn’t truthful, or is talking to someone he shouldn’t be, or even cheating?

We say, confront him or her.

If you found evidence of his/her wrongdoings, let him/her know you know rather than keeping silent to avoid admitting that you’re a snoop.

Your relationship has problems: you have no trust, and he/she is dishonest. Get everything out in the clear if you expect to salvage the relationship.

A relationship cannot survive if there is secrecy, distrust, and dishonesty.Click To Tweet

You both did something wrong and now is the chance to make things right and get things out in the open.

Want to quit the snooping addiction?

Even if you haven’t dug up any dirt when you’ve snooped, you have to quit snooping.

However, it can be hard to stop when you still know your boyfriend/girlfriend’s password – especially if something comes up that gives you the urge.

If you’re snooping, you have trust issues and now is a better time than never to work on learning how to trust again.

As with any addictive behavior, the only way to begin to overcome the addiction is to remove the source of temptation. Nip this in the bud as early as possible – you have to let them know about your snooping so they can change their password(s) to get rid of that temptation.

As long as you know their password, you will always have that temptation there.

If they had nothing to hide, they will either take it well or they will be really upset that you didn’t trust them. However, like you, they’ll want you to be able to trust them and will be more keen to working with you on your trust issues.

Haven’t snooped yet?

If you haven’t snooped and are reading this because you are wondering if snooping is okay, or justifiable, the answer is an obvious no.

If you ever want to find something out – if you have those sneaking suspicions your boyfriend or girlfriend is up to no good – then the only right way to handle the situation is to simply ASK.

Snooping is a symptom of a relationship with poor communication and trust issues.

When people come to us for long distance relationship advice, their problem is always related to poor communication.

Couples tend to avoid talking about their individual concerns because they are afraid of rocking the boat: they are scared to ask questions that haunt their thoughts (e.g.,. “Are you cheating on me?”).

They resort to snooping to find out the truth, but how good is this evidence if you cannot use it against your partner because you do not want to let them know you are a snoop?

The best thing you can do is bring up your issues, talk them out, ask the questions you want to ask. Your relationship will benefit from it more than you will benefit from being quiet and letting the problems eat away at your relationship without a word.

  • With all due respect, it’s NEVER okay to invade your partner’s privacy. When someone goes through their partner’s emails and text messages, there’s absolutely no trust in the relationship. If there’s any doubt, ask. Hopefully, they will come clean by telling the truth.

  • I’ve been dating a man I met online for 1 1/2 years. A few days he innocently told me his new password, he had to change his old one for a new phone. When he left a few days ago yes, I had a look.

    I found out that he had “borrowed” $10,000 from a woman he had met online, just before we met. She had gone to some trouble and distance to come and meet/sleep with him, he had no vehicle at the time.

    His finances are pitiful and I also loaned him $2000 during the first year, to save him from several dire emergencies and starvation.

    He has made a few small payments to her. I also read lots of sex messages referring graphically to things he wants to do and have done (all talk, little action in reality), there seems to have been a ton of phone sex.

    Nothing since we agreed to be exclusive but….he’s a prostitute! and talks disgusting dirty, so gross. Very little respect for women. GLAD I snoooped and when he gets back online, I’ll be messing with his messages so he doesn’t scam anyone else if I can help it.

  • I don’t care how much people hate on snooping, it’s effective. Big deal, it’s frowned upon and some will say I have trust issues…I could care less. When investing a lot of time and your future into someone I like as much information as possible and need to know they act the same way when I’m not around. Mostly, I’m looking for peace of mind and won’t flip over finding little things like platonically messaging a guy. I’m looking for things that are deal breakers dirty messaging other men.

    If I find nothing, I’ll knock off the snooping and realize I’m with someone great. But I’ve caught a few girls of my past doing shady things and only makes me want to snoop. When enough people say they love/care about you and it turns out to be crap, them you’ll get why people like me snoop. Trust is earned not given.

    • I disagree with your opinion. How does invading someone’s privacy “effective?”

  • Jellybean says:

    In my opinion, there is a difference between privacy and secrecy in a relationship.

  • I value honesty and transparency in a relationship, and have no problem with letting my partner view my communication networks. Unfortunately my ex’s have cheated on me multiple ways finding out either on Facebook, texts on their phone, and left open dating sites on their laptop. You may say that I was snooping, but in reality It was completely accidental. For example the alarm on their phone would go off. The ex would jump into the shower for work, and the snooze alarm went off I would reach over to stop it and theirs a message from a name unheard of stating “your so dam sexy, and can I talk dirty with you” Ok, what the heck. Open the message, and find a long on going sexual relationship with another person. Question the ex once they are out of the shower, and get complete denial, and “OMG you look at my phone you asshole.” That was the moment I left for good. The evidence was so clear, and they had no excuse for the messages nor their actions. So I ask what is worse infidelity and dishonesty or snooping? Even if it was a fluke.

  • I was happy go lucky in love and trusted whole heartedly until he was showing me something on his phone and there on top of everything was a sexy picture from a woman he claimed was sent to him as a laugh. Problem it was in the group of photos that are taken with his phone not in downloads – so it was a picture he shot. Another problem – he had me look up something on his computer, but as i typed, the autofill pulled up a dating web site – again not looking but something just jumped up in front of my face. That lit the snooping fire in me cuz there were only denials about being on the site (old inactive accounts from before we moved in together). Since the dating website was prefilled with account and password, I clicked on it and there was his photo and dates of posts and messages from women, providing his phone number with invitations to call him and on and on. Add on top of that, excuses to get out of the house, being gone for hours to get cigarettes. More photos of a naked woman along with other pictures of her and her family. So was i justified in snooping more???

  • But what if I snooped and I found something I want to ask my bf about?? It is eating me up but I can’t figure out if it is best to come clean or keep it a secret. I love him and would like to work it out but don’t want to push him away. He has been super flirty online with a friend of his (who lives in another country) but I think we can work through it if he would admit it to me. We are in a long distance relationship and it has been hard on both of us so I understand temptation. I know I made a mistake to look and I know everyone will say “well if you do not trust him then you need to reevaluate your relationship”. I think people make mistakes and I’m willing to talk it through to get to the bottom of it. I just don’t know if I can continue to ignore what I saw but don’t know if I want to risk losing him by saying I looked at his email.

  • My relationship just exploded over this situation. Boyfriend snooped through my phone, my Facebook possibly my email accounts, all accessible on my phone. He saw a few messages between an ex and I that were totally nothing. And because I’m stupid and don’t seem to be able to keep up with my emails (and don’t really erase anything) he saw some stuff from before he was around.

    Now, I had told him I would cut contact with this ex, which I did until we had broken up a couple months ago over a scenario which really fed into his insecurities. Again, I was innocent of any wrongdoing but during that breakup I did send a single message to my ex. Anyways, boyfriend totally went on the attack, thinking I’m hung up on the ex, want to reconcile blah blah blah. There is nothing I can do to fix this scenario except apologize for putting my needs during a break up ahead of his security needs. Where, by the way, he dumped me.

    So if you do snoop, all I can say is you’re really asking for it. Like Kavu says, we all have a history. And I’m the kind where I don’t really care if a serious boyfriend has access to that information. Just don’t be making stupid assumptions about what’s going on. Also, if you’re going to confront a partner for things you’ve found in snooping be a little more smart and respectful about it. People don’t remember all their communications, hell I sometimes don’t remember what I did five minutes ago specifically. So, if you’ve already drawing a lot of negative conclusions and you’re so hung up on getting exact details well they’ll get flustered and everything they say will appear dishonest.

    I’m so pissed off at the situation because I really loved my boyfriend. But at the same time, I don’t want to be with someone who thinks so little of me.

    • I am in a similar situation. My ex was jealous of a person I dated briefly before we got together and was friends with. He snooped. Found a friendly email. Read it the wrong way. Made a mountain out of a molehill. Snooping leads to pain and drama. I felt very angry he would snoop instead of talking about how he was feeling. I value my privacy and felt violated. We split up and he kept snooping, reading emails written to my female friends baring my soul, the usual post break up stuff, sometimes sad, sometimes mad, probably painful for him to read. And he shouldn’t have done it to himself or me. I know some have found the truth by snooping but in general I would say don’t! Just leads to pain and drama.

      • Snooping for the heck of it, snooping because of suspicions, snooping to gather evidence, snooping because of past hurts/lack of trust of anyone…doing nothing and not being trusted, doing nothing but thinking about it, doing something that one knows the SO would have a problem with, actual cheating and lying and hiding – such a twisted web this can be! who is really causing the drama and pain? Is it better to live in ignorance while the SO disrespects you and your relationship by cheating??? Is it true that what you don’t know can’t hurt you? Everything has repercussions.

  • I was snooped on by a new girlfriend. She read my texts and my emails. I had been in contact with an ex girlfriend that I never intended to go back to, just someone that was important to me and I wanted to remain friends with. The new girlfriend made assumptions about what I wanted from the ex that were completely wrong. She became very insecure and considers the emails as cheating. What she doesn’t understand is that if she never snooped, I would never have gone back to the ex, and would be more in love with the new girlfriend because I would trust her. There was nothing to know and nothing to find out. Everyone you meet is going to have a history. It will work out the way it is supposed to, snooping is just trying to control the outcome.

  • I think for me by the time I am having to snoop, it is time to really evaluate the relationship. I went to far as to go in the house of my ex when he was not home and snoop. Standing in the middle of his house my thoughts were almost audible..”by the time your doing something this crazy, it's time to move on”. Which I did.

  • Thank God my mother found my wifes facebook password laying out in the open, I would have never known or believed my parents suspicions that my wife was cheating. This article is a crock. You should have nothing to hide.

  • Butifulamy76 says:

    I too am addicted to snooping. Every time I tell myself that I'm going to stop, I do, but only for a while. It happens every year and I want to quit. Well, recently, I didn't want to snoop, but he had just left his cell on the bed and I saw the light flashing that he got a message. So, as curious as I was, I opened it up, and sure enough, his supposedly BFF of 7 months had texted him “Hi Cutie Pie. I just want to say 143”. Was it wrong to snoop or what should I do? He has kajillion times told me that there is nothing physically going on with the 2 of them, but that they like each other a lot. Oh yeah, she's also married. Please advice?

  • Anonymous says:

    My now ex-boyfriend and I had shared passwords, etc.. over the years we were together. There was a girl he knew whom I always suspected had a thing for him. We talked about my feelings and he swore there was nothing there on his end. Close to the end of our relationship I did the worst and snooped in his social network account. Turns out there really was nothing there.. but god, I felt so awful after snooping. I owned up to him right after we broke up and told him he needed to change his passwords… there by removing the possibility of me being weak and snooping again. It wasn't fun telling him I snooped but in the long run it was the right thing to do — for me and for him.

    Long story short… I know the temptation is there (I've felt it) but trust me, it's not worth it. You will feel horrible and the author is right that its a sign of mistrust in your relationship. For me it was also a symptom of my own insecurities and how they manifested and helped cut down the solid base of my relationship.

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