Snooping Through Your Partner's Email Should Be A Crime
“He was acting so weird, and he wouldn’t tell me what was going on. I kept asking him if something happened at work or something, and he’d say no and go back to Breaking Bad. I just knew he was off.”
“Maybe he was just tired?” (Or it could be that Breaking Bad is just a fucking great show)
“Maybe. But I checked email on his phone after he fell asleep and…”
No. Stop. You’re Doing It Wrong.
The line between what’s private and public blurs a bit in a committed relationship. Your Turbie Twist is out in the open, as is his cold-chili-out-of-the-can-with-a-fork habit. With time, this line only gets blurrier, for better and for worse. He becomes your closest confidant and best friend, but you also clean his nose hairs off the sink. He knows exactly how to make your day, but he no longer feels a need to hide the fact that he ate what you assume is a bowl full of onions before sex.
Image: Corelie Mercier via Flickr
You share more, but you don’t have to share it all. And you shouldn’t expect him to share it all. So keep your paws off his G-mail and make sure he keeps his mittens off yours
There are times, sure, when you’re just curious or trying to be efficient. (He told you he booked the flight, but did he really?) Then there are times when he came home later than he said he would and he got a nice haircut and took the juicer out of the box and he won’t tell you what’s going on.
Then there are all times... and in all times email snooping is wrong.
Secretly reading his emails and texts means you don’t trust him. That’s a big problem--one that no amount of nosing into his business can fix. In fact, if he finds out about your scavenging, I can pretty much guarantee a further tumble of trust. Those quick glances at his sent folder are not inconsequential. Don’t kid yourself, and be smart. Don't stay with a man you can't trust, but don't tell yourself that secret scavenging is justified.
Looking into his e-life also implies that have a right to delve into all of his life, with or without cause.By the same token, it revokes his right to privacy. You become an in-home intelligence-gathering agency, and we all know how cool we are with wiretapping. Digital life is an odd world. We can access it almost anywhere, and we can dig deeper with just a few clicks. But that doesn’t make it any different - from a trust and privacy and respect standpoint - than life off the screen.
If you agree to share everything (you merge email accounts alongside financial accounts, and share phones and generally start growing inside each other), my points are moot. Otherwise, think big picture. Flip the roles and consider how you’d feel if someone dug through your stuff without asking.
I come from the school of open communication, especially in intimate relationships. I have a hard time practicing what I preach sometimes (you should have seen me ask my boyfriend if he’d ever want to marry me), but in general, I find my fears of full disclosure are never realized. In my experience, it’s always best to speak up and speak often.
And never snoop!