Nothing kills a relationship faster than jealousy. And, with smartwatches, tablets, laptops, and smartphones, there’s no end to the snooping. The possibilities are endless. If you suspect your partner is stalking you online, or pretty much anywhere else, here’s what you can do to stop the unwanted behavior and save your relationship.
Don’t Confront With Hostility
The biggest mistake most women make is to lead with antagonism or hostility. Here’s the thing: your leading with antagonism or coming across as being adversarial automatically starts a fight. Perhaps you are angry with your guy. And, maybe you’re totally justified. He did snoop on your devices after all. That’s a massive invasion of privacy.
Ask yourself this question: do you want to have a fight with your guy or resolve the problem? You cannot do both. You cannot attack and expect him to sit calmly and have a rational discussion with you. If you attack, he attacks back and “suddenly” you’re having a fight.
Now, if you want to have a fight, by all means, go and start screaming at him. However, if you want to resolve the issue, you must muster up the courage to have a non-confrontational confrontation. In other words, you need to acknowledge to yourself, and to him, that you’re not adversaries in this relationship.
Adversaries sneak around, snooping. Adversaries don’t trust one another. Adversaries fight. They’re enemies.
And, when a guy withdraws because you confront him, it won’t solve the problem. None of this is to say that your anger isn’t justified. If he violated your privacy, you do need to address that. But, there are many ways to do that. And, probably the best way that gets him to stop is to lead with empathy and then be firm about boundaries after.
Talk to Your Partner
If you have a reason to be suspicious, talk it out. Instead of going through his things in “retaliation,” use non-attacking language. Explain how you’re feeling, and how his actions have contributed to that. Confront the problem head-on. It’s the only way you and your partner have any chance of getting through this. Snooping only increases distrust.
Ask your partner to have an open policy about viewing each others’ texts and emails. If you think that it can help you trust each other more, it might help.
Of course, ultimately, the solution is to respect each other’s privacy.
If you’re alone in the room with your boyfriend’s cell phone, and you start to get paranoid about what might be in there, stop and think for a moment. You may or may not have a specific reason to search, but try to “press the pause button” on your snooping. Ask yourself whether you really have anything to be worried about. If your friend was about to snoop on you for the same reason, would you support that decision.
Most of the time, you’ll realize that this is not a good idea. You can decide if you’re feeling mistrust for a good reason or because you’re just paranoid. If you need to, share this information with your partner and tell them you’re feeling the urge to snoop but didn’t.
Avoid Snooping Situations
Sometimes, it’s tempting to want to snoop. Remove yourself from the situation if it’s too tempting. If you have the habit of checking your boyfriend’s or husband’s phone when he goes off to bed, make a new habit to pick up a book or watch T.V. instead. When you want to open his email, go for a walk or find some other activity to do for at least 10 minutes. Staying out of tempting situations prevents you from acting on irrational urges.
If your partner has the snooping problem, throw up roadblocks. Make it harder for him to snoop. Change your passwords. Keep your phone out of his reach. Make it so he must confront you if he wants to snoop. Then he will have to admit that he’s trying to snoop on you.
What To Do About Repeat Offenses
If your guy is searching your phone, and you have evidence that he’s been on your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account, stay calm. If you find incriminating evidence of his snooping, your relationship is probably headed in the wrong direction. Talking openly should help resolve the issue.
But, if it doesn’t, then you have a decision to make. You must decide whether this relationship is worth having. If your partner doesn’t trust you, then love cannot flourish. Actually, snooping is a sign of mistrust, which makes real love impossible. Someone who loves you, trusts you.
If you want to salvage the relationship, it may be necessary to seek out professional help — if he’s willing. Otherwise, it may be time for a split.
Aidan Walker has worked as a relationship therapist for several years and enjoys writing articles to help those who are struggling with a love problem. He is thrilled when he reads a comment saying his article has helped fix a problem!