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Is snooping on your partner's phone ever okay?


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Last week Jools Oliver admitted that she regularly snoops on husband Jamie’s phone to check he isn’t cheating. It appears she is not alone: 20% of 2000 married respondents in an Oxford University survey revealed they would do the same. But just what do these snoopers hope to gain from invading their partner’s privacy?

Trusting your partner on the basis of their clean website history or innocent phone inbox cannot be compared to a trust based on your faith in their good nature. Unfortunately successful relationships require us to let go and make ourselves vulnerable; it is possible we may be hurt but equally, the chances are we won’t be. 

While some may argue that snooping is only a protectionist policy, rationalising this behaviour will only leave you ashamed if confronted and make any case against a cheating partner seem weak and unfounded.

Of course, checking your other-half’s texts occasionally could be deemed harmless but where do you draw the line? I once knew someone who would check their boyfriend’s social networking chats daily and even talk on their behalf to suspicious female friends. The virtual world complicates relationships; you only have to look at how a facebook relationship status officialises a couple to see the extent to which our love lives have evolved with the web. The very public nature of online relationships has led us to forget the importance of respecting privacy. Virtual infidelity may be a very real threat but snooping online will no more solve the issue than reading personal letters would have done a decade or so ago.

The recent introduction of the ironically named itrust to the app store demonstrated how expectations among couples are at an all time low. The app provides a fake home screen image which can be applied when a phone is abandoned so as to prevent snooping partners accessing real programmes. However, in this case it may be better to provide a cure for relationship insecurities rather than seek preventative security measures against their negative influence.

A friend explained her decision to dump a snooping partner by referring to the old-age adage ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’. Essentially, she viewed her partner’s snooping as a new breed of infidelity and felt his actions had only exposed his own faults. Unfortunately, in delving for secrets that may not exist, you risk bringing the very relationship that you intend to preserve to a premature end.

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