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If you've ever had a nagging suspicion that something is amiss with your man, you may have been tempted to peek inside his drawers, briefcase or phone. But even if your worst fears are fact, is it ever okay to snoop through his things to find out?
"No good comes from reading his e-mail, texts or going through his tax returns," says relationship expert and author April Masini. "Don't call his mother behind his back and ask her questions about his prior relationships. And don't stake out his friends, amateur-espionage style, to figure out what he really does when he's with the guys."
Rather, Masini suggests, dig into yourself and your relationship to discover why you feel the need to snoop in the first place. Some reasons include:
Mistrust: "Some people have good reason to mistrust a spouse because they have a history of being misled by this very person," says Masini. "That's a legitimate mistrust. Snooping isn't going to help you with the problem, just the symptoms that are various betrayals."
Your history: "Many women have people in their pasts who have deceived them, and the man they are now married to is not someone who's ever deceived them," Masini says. "But he's getting the fallout from your past. Use the opportunity to heal your past to have a healthier present and future."
You're not honest yourself: "Lots of people project onto others what they do themselves, so if you're someone who is deceptive and isn't transparent with issues, you may think others are doing what you are," Masini says. "If you've got a lot of secret passwords on your e-mail and social media accounts because you're living a private life, you'll probably assume he is, too."
That being said, when you enter a marriage, you do have a reasonable expectation that your spouse will be open and share certain things with you, especially those that include your finances or the details of your legal partnership. "You shouldn't feel that wanting to talk about taxes and money is snooping," Masini says. "Discussing and partnering on taxes, money and legal issues is an important part of your marriage. It's learning about your partner to build a better relationship that includes all realms of life, together."
And if you do slip up and snoop, know it's okay — if you cop to doing it. "It's typical to find the wallet he left in your car, and want to go through it, or to use his computer and notice his e-mail account has been left over, and want to read what's there," says Masini. "What separates 'okay snooping' from snooping that isn't okay is, one, your disclosure after having done it and, two, the rigor and priority you give snooping."
What do you think? Is it ever okay to snoop? Let us know on Twitter at @BRIDES!