Walking to the bathroom, by instinct, I picked up my phone. I looked back at my partner and saw puzzlement etch across his face. Gently I placed my phone on our table and walked off. As I came back, he casually remarked, “Your phone went off. I pressed it and your friend messaged.” A complete lie – my phone was on silent and I’d already seen my friend’s message earlier. But for argument’s sake, I played dumb. Is checking your partner’s phone ever okay, and how many of us are doing it?
How to snoop through a phone
A Pew Research Centre survey found “34% of “partnered Americans” have admitted to snooping through a partner’s phone without their knowledge. Pew’s results suggest women are the more-likely spies. Last year, a Standard article mentioned a study where 4 in 10 Brits confessed to snooping their partner’s phone weekly. My Instagram poll results showed many of you would go through a phone if you suspect cheating.
Just the thought of losing my mobile makes me quiver. How many times have we rummaged though our belongings in panic, only to figure our devices are charging peacefully or in a different pocket? We put so much faith in our phones – someone monitoring mine without my consent feels like infidelity. How dare you force my phone to commit adultery when it’s done nothing but stick with me. I’d rather a partner rummaged through my bedroom drawers and stumbled upon my ‘no one is going to see these pants’.
But, oh, how tempting can it be when you have a partner who’s SO protective of their gadget child? Or when you have a partner who actually uses their phone. Not one of those: I don’t like texting and I don’t have a password because there’s nothing on here types. And, can anything beat the allure of checking your partner’s phone when you suspect cheating?
Cosmopolitan asked four women how they snuck on their partner’s phone, and two relied on secretly knowing passwords. One woman ordered food on her partner’s phone, and then quickly gathered information to research later. If you can create a reason to use their device, you have a perfect opportunity to check their DM’s and scroll through their WhatsApp.
The many ways to discover adultery online
Fox News explain how phones linked to a shared account (email, laptop) with location enabled, can help you find your partner. You can type “find my phone” on iCloud.com or on Google for Androids. Another trick they note: simply typing letters in a search engine bar and seeing what comes up on auto-fill. Even the smartest cheaters can mess up and forget to delete a dating site browse.
One guy from a brief relationship, treated his phone like a new-born: Always by his side, never left alone. When he started texting a lot while I was round his, the secret detective inside me knocked on my brain. We made introductions:
Me: I’m not this kind of girl, why am I plotting how to catch him out?
Secret detective: You’re not fooling nobody, you’re definitely that type of girl…
This detective told me to track down his hidden social media. I became convinced he was on another Insta or Twitter chatting up women. I found one of his friend’s Twitter accounts and from there, came across his. And yes, he was Mr. Desperado flirting and trying to meet girls when I was telling guys about my relationship status.
Checking your partner’s phone: Is it always wrong?
I already know experts will say, yes. As my mum asked me, “If you don’t trust your partner, why stay in a relationship?” Going behind a partner’s back to source possible proof doesn’t align to commitment, faith and all the other silent vows couples adhere to. Not to mention, the huge privacy breach isn’t legal. In the UK and US, you need a person’s permission to access their personal property. You also have to be careful about snooping through work emails and messages – potentially breaching work confidentiality.
What if you check your partner’s phone and find out their innocent? How bad would you feel knowing you’ve invaded one of the only private belongings they have, creating deceit and guilt? You’re either lying by not telling them, or you’re causing hurt by owning up.
But if you really must spy…
Work out how you feel about each worse-case scenario. Does flirting with another person count as cheating? What could you forgive and what’s worth breaking up over? What excuse from your partner could change your reaction?
Decide on the evidence beforehand. Is their possible infidelity more about you feeling insecure; needing more attention – or do you have tangible evidence? Clues include a change in schedule and behaviour, not being upfront on whereabouts, a lack of intimacy between you, secrecy over their phone and other devices, wearing different clothes, and not answering calls and texts within a reasonable time phrase. Ultimately, adapting their activities and conversation.
Ask if it’s really worth it. Do you want to stay in a partnership filled with self-doubt? If you’re already certain your other half is cheating, what’s snooping going to achieve? Besides giving you an addiction.
Once you’ve found some breadcrumbs, you’ll start investing in a sandwich. When I spotted my ex’s secret social media, I initially intended to take a peek and log off. That peek transcended to daily checks. My embarrassment led to me pretending to a friend that I didn’t know much about it. If I hadn’t had found anything, would I have given up? It’s easy to let analysis and curiosity fester – keeping you awake as you picture someone else touching the person you love.
With that being said, I understand the intrigue as well. The longing to have truth from cheating concerns. Insecurity can smear our judgment and make it hard to tell whether we’re overreacting. If you’ve always trusted your partner and enjoy a loving relationship – does it make sense to end everything because you’ve put doubt in your thoughts? What if you struggle to separate low self-esteem from evidence? A quick snoop may calm your nerves and remove your adultery theories. Yet in the process, remove relationship confidence.
How do you feel about checking your partner’s phone? Is it ever okay? Suggested next read: Single Women Wanting Married Men