Q. I’m struggling with a huge problem. I have been with my boyfriend for two years and we’ve been living together for one. I am a real snoop, and I was always looking at his cellphone when he wasn’t around, looking at texts and his call log. One day while snooping, I discovered that he had password protected his phone. Well, that just made me more curious, so one day while he was next to me checking his messages, I looked over his shoulder and got the password. At the next opportunity, I looked and was devastated by what I found. He had been texting back and forth with his old girlfriend. I want to confront him about it, but I know he’ll turn it around on me because I snooped. I need advice. Should I confront him and take the consequences of snooping or should I keep this information to myself and find another way to “catch” him?
A. You must tell him what you did, apologize, and then ask, “Now what do we do?”
Did he break the rules by texting his ex? Were the messages inappropriate in nature? Have you always been a big snoop — or has your behavior changed because you’ve been having doubts about the relationship? These are the questions you need to answer together. You don’t win anything by “catching” him. And he needs to know that he’s with someone who’s breaking into his phone.
I can’t speak to the state of your relationship or tell you what should happen after you discuss your misdeeds, but I will throw the therapy card if the snooping has been a long-term problem. Maybe you’re just in a not-so-great relationship and your desire to snoop is the red flag, but if you’ve always been nosy with boyfriends (and friends), you need to figure out why — because that kind of compulsive, disrespectful behavior will ruin good things.
If you want him to be accountable for his behavior, you have to be willing to talk about yours. And I’m pretty sure that if you tell him the whole truth, you’ll get better answers — about him and yourself.
Why are you with this guy? You clearly don’t trust him (not saying you should).
Tell him you’re a snoop, tell him what you saw, and tell him why it bothers you. Maybe you’ll stay together and maybe not, but if you’re being dishonest in your relationship, I don’t see it standing much of a chance.
All that time you spent snooping should now be spent looking for another apartment.
Break up, move out, work on yourself. No need to confront him. You have discovered the information in front of you, so what is there to admit?
I’ve never really understood the whole, turning it around on the snooper thing. Yes, you shouldn’t snoop, but if you do snoop and you uncover evidence that your partner is doing something s/he shouldn’t, then maybe you had good reason? SLINKYDOO
Nosy isn’t always about a lack of trust. Sometimes the person has no life of their own.
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.