To Snoop or Not to Snoop?

Let me be clear: I do not snoop.  But not because I’m made of morally superior stuff.

I don’t snoop because I don’t like being hurt.

The last time I snooped through a guy’s things, I was in my late teens or early 20s.  I suspected my then-boyfriend of cheating.  He denied it, but I remained suspicious.  I used the first opportunity I had to be alone in his apartment to go through as much of his stuff as I could in the time it took him to go to the grocery store and back.

Of course, I found the evidence I was looking for.  I didn’t find panties, or used condoms.  I didn’t hire forensic scientists to do DNA analysis.  This was old school.  I found love letters, from her to him.  She wrote, in the flowery language of youth, of her love for him, and how safe she felt lying in his arms.  The English major in me wanted to red pencil the grammatical errors and send them back to her for a redo. 

I didn’t feel guilty about reading the letters.  My then-boyfriend had violated my privacy the year before by reading my personal journals, then confronting me about what he had read in them.

When he came home, I flung the letters in his face.  Much screaming, wailing and throwing of things ensued. 

Of course he denied everything.  She may have had feelings for him, but he didn’t feel the same way.  Yes, he had once held her at night, to comfort her over her sick/dead/dying mother (I’m not being rude, I can’t remember which one it was), but nothing ever happened.  Yes, he may have kissed her, but they never had sex.  He didn’t know why he kept the letters, but they meant nothing to him (this said as he dumped them in the garbage).

We talked about it all weekend and decided not to break up.  I said I forgave him, even though I didn’t.  In hindsight, not breaking up was a mistake.  For me, the damage was irreversible.  Regardless of whether or not they had sex, he admitted to caring about her.  The emotional betrayal was devastating. 

From that moment on, I felt no obligation to remain faithful to him, physically, emotionally, or otherwise — which is why I should have ended the relationship.

I vowed never to snoop again after that experience, and I haven’t broken that vow.  Here’s why:

1.  Unless you actually catch him in the act, whatever you find isn’t dispositive of anything.  See #2.

2.  Evidence can always be explained away.  One guy told me the black thong panties on his bedroom floor belonged to his ten-year-old daughter.  They must have gotten mixed up with my things in the laundry, he said.  I smelled them.  They were freshly laundered.  Call me nasty all you want. 

He had made no effort to hide them, and told the lie so effortlessly, I accepted it.  Which leads me to point #3.

3.  You believe what you want to believe, good, bad or otherwise.  Did I really believe those panties belonged to that guy’s daughter?  No.  Even before I had a ten-year-old daughter, I knew ten-year-old girls didn’t wear black thong panties.  But I wanted the lie to be true, so I talked myself into believing it.  (Of course he was lying.)

You can also convince yourself that a truthful man is lying.  Hence, point #4.

4.  You don’t have to snoop to find out the truth.  You don’t need to go through a guy’s cell phone, copy down all the females’ numbers and call each one.  Or hack into his Facebook or Twitter account and see who he’s private messaging or DMing.  The evidence is usually pretty visible on the surface.  Be observant.  That usually yields more than enough information to enable you to ask intelligent, informed questions — and to ascertain whether or not he’s lying.

5.  If you suspect he’s lying, by the time you’re tempted to snoop, you already know what you’re going to find — so why do that to yourself?  This isn’t always true, but it was certainly true in my case. 

If you need that final confirmation: finding the emails, the sext messages, the hotel receipts, the flavored lubricant he’s never used on you, to know for certain he’s cheating, you should do what works for you.  For me, it’s just too painful.  I’d rather trust my instincts than find all the damning evidence that hurts so much.

I totally understand the reasons people snoop.  I don’t judge those who do.  For me, though, the violation of privacy feels wrong.  And I believe the evidence you need of whether to trust or not to trust the person you’re in a relationship with often lies right on the surface, so long as you’re willing to trust what you observe, as well as your instincts. 

Ultimately, what’s right is what feels right to you.

Question: How do you feel about snooping?  Do you snoop through your lover or partner’s things when he or she isn’t home?  Do you worry about your lover/partner snooping through your things?  How would you feel if he/she did?


8 Responses to “To Snoop or Not to Snoop?”

  1. cocktailsattiffanys Says:

    This post is great, I have definitely snooped before and found what I was looking for too, you’re exactly right, it only causes pain and typically doesn’t end the relationship because guys that hide things can also make up lies on the fly, so sad but so true.

  2. Courtney Says:

    I’ve snooped, kinda. Recently. My ex (who I was engaged to, living with, and caring for his child 24/7) went out of town for HU’s homecoming. I was looking thru our SHARED email acct for one of my emails. Instead found letters to her about what I DIDN’T do and how they planned to meet up. Saw him give her room numbers and he even left her a key @ the front desk. I then read the messages describing the “great time” they had. Never even gave gave him a chance to explain. Just printed them out, packed my things and left.

    With that said, would I ever snoop again? No.

    But I would have never known about him cheating. So is not knowing better than knowing?

  3. Tweets that mention To Snoop or Not to Snoop? « Carolyn A. Edgar -- Says:

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  4. Foxy Brown Says:

    this sounds like a lawyer wrote—oh, wait, lol.

    i don’t snoop. if my suspicion is that intense, i would probably just brake up. that feeling would tell me that i don’t trust them, and if there is no trust, then what am i sticking around for.

    i don’t worry about my girl snooping because if she did, she would not find anything she doesn’t already know about. if i found out she did, well, that whole trust thing comes up again. if she don’t trust me, then why is she sticking around.

  5. TH O'Connor Says:

    I dont snoop, as a diary keeper I would feel it is a total violation of trust to read my private thoughts, so I treat others as I like to be treated. With that said, if I felt I needed to snoop I would end the relationship as there is no trust. So no I dont snoop, nor do I forgive if snooped.

  6. Peter H. Fogtdal Says:

    Oh, how could you, Carolyn? I thought you were a Saint, I thought you walked on water, but now it turns out you’re just a …. a … HUMAN BEING!

    Shame on you, Miss Edgar. (But it was a nice blog though :-))

  7. A.Smith Says:

    My last b/f and I would go through each other’s phones. It was pointless. We were in a LDR so being together meant weeks (if not months) of planning. We were always prepared for the inevitable phone swap.

    Before we both did it in front of each other, I was doing it behind his back and I suspect he was doing it behind mine, as well. I guess it gave us some semblance of assurance, but it was dumb.

    I wouldn’t do that now. If he’s gonna do something foul he’s going to do it and do I really want to see the evidence of it? Nah. I’d rather him either just come clean or trust my instincts, but I don’t need to see the texts or the emails or whatever.

  8. @wizardofoz321 Says:

    Never snooped but thought about doing it many times. Not sure about it now, but if it was necessary….. Time to leave him. 😐

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