In light of all of this, I asked 15 relationship experts about why snooping is such a bad idea in relationships. I also asked them to elucidate the negative effects snooping on your partner might potentially have on a relationship. Hint: The bottom line here is definitely, do not even think about snooping. And if you are a snooper, there are definitely better alternatives to going through your partner's stuff. From what it reveals about the fate of your relationship to how it'll make you feel, here's what else they had to say on snooping in relationships.
1. If You Snoop, You Don't Trust Yourself
OK, guys, this is deep: "Snooping means you lack trust in yourself," psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. Jedi mind trick alert! But it totally makes sense. "People will say that it is the other person that they do not trust, but in snooping, we are actually feeling like we are not enough," she says. When someone looks through their partner's text messages, emails, notebooks and the like, they're worried that they're not enough (or too much, perhaps), and feel the need to search for validation. Not good.
The answer: Love yourself. "We deserve to be with people that we trust, and we deserve to — if we have intrinsic issues — get therapeutic help to learn to love ourselves more," Paiva says. And work on trusting yourself, while you're at it. "If we don't trust ourselves, we will not trust others," she says. "If we look at everyone else as if they are a villain, we create ourselves to be a victim; a victim is someone who doesn't trust safety in their world, and that is a self-love and self-trust issue."
2. Snooping Is A Gateway Behavior
"Snooping is the gateway behavior to stalking," relationship expert April Masini tells Bustle. Wait, what? Looking through someone's texts leads to stalking? Yes, she says. It might start out with texts, but it can lead elsewhere quickly. "First you’re snooping on [their] cell phone. Then, [their] computer, Next, you’re doing drive-bys on the sly," she says. Whoa. Yeah, definitely don't do any of that. And remember: It's a slippery slope.
3. Snooping Always Brings Pain, Without Fail
There is no such thing as innocent snooping. "The hard truth is that there is never a positive outcome from snooping; it can only hurt," relationship coach Jase Lindgren tells Bustle. When you snoop, there is a "fundamental problem," Lindgren says, which is that you don't trust your partner. Well, clearly, yes. Lindgren says that only two things can happen when you open the Pandora's box of snooping: "One, you find something incriminating." Technically, this is what you were looking for in the first place; but it won't make you feel good, that's for sure.
The second outcome: "You don't find anything, and are left wondering if they just did a good job of hiding it, or [if] you need to look harder — and you're now proving yourself to be the untrustworthy one." Not only do you not trust yourself, as Paiva says, you are proving yourself to be untrustworthy in the process. "When we go looking through someone's private messages, if we look hard enough, we will always find something to be upset about," Lindgren says. "If you value this relationship and want it to continue, snooping will only damage that and likely lead to its end." Don't do it.
4. If You Snoop, You're The Bad Guy
"When you feel compelled to snoop, you’re acting from fear, doubt, insecurity and distrust," Emily Bouchard, a certified money coach, tells Bustle. "These all erode the core foundations of love and trust that support a relationship in being solid." And they lead to an even worse consequence: As Lindgren says, you become the terrible person in this equation. "The moment you snoop, you become untrustworthy," Bouchard says.
5. Snooping Is Actually Rather Stupid
"If you have trust and honesty within your relationship, why check their phone?" Jessica Vance, Lovapp's Lovapp's outreach specialist, asks Bustle. When you're involved in a healthy partnership, snooping is just plain dumb."People will always do what's in their best interest," Vance says. "Trying to stop that is impossible. People need to find strength in themselves and not be defined solely by their relationship."
So your girlfriend texts an ex from time to time or your boyfriend looks at cute girls on the Internet. So what? Don't go through their texts or their Internet history in an attempt to catch them doing something wrong. Just live your life, as Rihanna would say.
6. It Makes You The Untrustworthy One
"If you are snooping around, are you prepared for what you find?" Janet Zinn, a New York City–based couples therapist, asks Bustle. Instead of lurking around like a creeper, go in the front door, she says. "How come you’re not having conversations with your partner about trust and deceit?" she says. And, like other experts, Zinn points out that you become the untrustworthy one when you snoop.
"You are accusing him or her of sneaking something, but you are behaving deceitfully when you snoop," she says. "So you are behaving in the exact manner you are scared he or she is acting." What's worse is that you're hiding this behavior, she says. Vicious cycle — and one best to be avoided altogether.
7. Snooping Is Toxic
"[Snooping is] a sign that you have a serious trust issue that you are not addressing openly and honestly with your partner," psychotherapist and relationship coach Toni Coleman tells Bustle. Calling it "a violation of privacy and trust that often results from a belief that a partner is being less than honest and trustworthy," Coleman says that snooping is a serious no-no. Regardless of why you choose to do it, it's always a bad idea. "It can also occur due to toxic jealousy that has no basis is fact," she says. "Either way, it violates trust and is a dysfunctional way to deal with a concern about a partner's fidelity." Be upfront instead.
8. Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right
"Violating your partner's privacy (and likely trust as well) is never OK, even if you feel justified in order to prove a lie or to discover that they are hiding something from you," Carlyle Jansen, author of Author, Sex Yourself: The Woman’s Guide to Mastering Masturbation and Achieving Powerful Orgasms, tells Bustle. "Two wrongs don't make a right," Jansen adds. "Tell them what your gut is saying and ask to go through the emails together." Well, that's a novel idea! Certainly better than doing it without permission.
9. It Leads To Misunderstandings
"[Snooping] breaks the level of trust that is important in relationships," Rob Alex, who created Sexy Challenges and Mission Date Night with his wife, tells Bustle. "If the tables were reversed, how would you feel if your partner was looking through your information?" Yeah, not good.
"It can lead to misunderstandings. While snooping, you might not read the entire conversation and jump to conclusions; then you would look like an ass once you found out the entire meaning," he says. "I have seen this happen so many times in this type of situation." That actually makes a lot of sense.
"Sometimes things do need to be kept from your eyes," he says. "Maybe your partner is going to try to surprise you for your birthday or a romantic getaway. Snooping and finding those things will ruin a super amazing event in your relationship." He has a great point.
10. It'll Make Your Relationship As Stable As A See-Saw
"It implies you don't trust your partner, so you are taking matters into your own hands to find out dirt that the partner has not willingly disclosed," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "Without trust, the relationship has about the same stability as a see-saw." That's … pretty unstable.
11. You'll Ultimately Doom Your Relationship
Trust is vital in a relationship, and when you snoop, it goes out the window. "It’s called 'trust'," Marina Sbrochi, IPPY award-winning author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life tells Bustle, and if you're snooping around, you don’t have it. "The relationship is doomed," she says.
12. You'll Put Yourself In A Tenuous Place
"Be careful when you go snooping, because you will probably find what you are looking for," intimacy coach Rebekah Beneteau tells Bustle. "It's easy to misinterpret what you read if you are already expecting a betrayal." Then things get worse: "You have to take responsibility for your own emotional state," she says. "And if you are in a relationship where the only way to find out what your partner is doing, and you have reason to be suspicious, what are you doing with him [or her] anyway?" Exactly. If you're suspicious, you might be in the wrong relationship.
13. Your Partner Will Feel Violated
"Even if you discover that your partner is completely on the up and up, by spying, you have committed a violation of the highest magnitude upon your partner," relationship coach and psychic medium Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Why Good People Can't Leave Bad Relationships, tells Bustle.
14. Snooping Is 'Predicated On A Lack Of Trust'
Obviously, if you're pawing through your partner's underwear drawer, the two of you have a serious problem. "[Snooping] is predicated on a lack of trust," Dr. Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With A Narcissist, tells Bustle. "There has to be an implicit trust in an intimate relationship." If you don't have that in place, spying on your partner's personal belongings won't help matters. Without trust, your relationship will be inherently wobbly at best: "You are building the house on a cracked foundation," she says. If you want to be with your partner long-term, find a solution to your suspiciousness that does not involve distrust, and work on building up your trust in your partner.
15. Snooping Can Result In A Breakup
Here's what happens when you snoop, plain and simple: You break your partner's trust in a way that will never be the same, BetterHelp telehealth counselor and psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "You are letting them know that you love them, but do not trust them, and may never," she says. A hallmark of a healthy relationship it is not, she says, and such an action an often lead to the end of a relationship. If you're happy with your partner, re-think things before going through their private stuff.
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