Is it ever okay to snoop on a partner?

Is it ever okay to snoop on a partner?

Is it ever okay to snoop on a partner?

Hi Reality Chick. I’m writing in because things are extremely rocky with my partner right now, for various reasons. I have been contemplating going through his phone (also for various reasons which I won’t go into here). But, I wanted to ask – is it ever okay? Have you ever snooped on a partner and if so what happened? Rosie

Oh boy, I hoped to never be asked that question. Because the truth is, yes I have. Am I proud of it? No. But I don’t regret it either. I only wish I’d done it sooner, because I would’ve saved myself a lot of precious time. This was many years ago, and technically, my ex and I had all but broken up by the time I went hunting for evidence of his affair, but finding it freed me. In hindsight it was the best ‘bad’ thing I have ever done in a relationship.

Of course, the right thing is to respect other people’s privacy. And if your gut’s going crazy and you’ve got a million hunches that something’s just not quite right, confronting your partner is the way to go. But if they lie, and you know they’re lying, you have two choices: leave without knowing and perhaps never knowing the truth (not an option for many people), or stick around in a sad, angst-ridden kind of limbo that can, if you let it, seriously impact on your mental health.

I realise I may not be the most impartial person to ask about this. And my advice would always be to talk to your partner before snooping through his or her things – especially emails and text messages which can be really easy to take out of context. But sometimes, we just know. And sometimes, confirming your worst fears can bring a sense of relief, especially if it’ll liberate you from someone who doesn’t have the best intentions towards you, and possibly doesn’t deserve to be in your life anyway.

Love, reality chick

RC readers… do you agree? Is snooping just flat out wrong? Is it ever okay to snoop? Have you ever snooped on a partner? If not, would you and under what circumstances? I’d love you to share in the comments.

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. Anon 8 years ago


    My answer is GO FOR IT!!!
    My husband, when he was my boyfriend, did some dirt. I heard about it from friends and frankly, I was shocked because he was just so amazing an I was head over heels for him. I had a hard time believing what I had heard. U developed some serious trust issues, which I’m still struggling with as his wife. He hasn’t cheated on me as his wife but I am always on high alert, as this is who I am now. Anyways, back to the issue, my mom told me to give him the benefit of the doubt and I needed to show that I trust him because all I had to go on was hearsay. Time passed and things came to light and he admitted to some things but I still wasn’t fully convinced that he was telling me the whole truth. One night, while he was asleep I took the big leap and went through his cell phone. I never did anything like that before and for some reason I had a really strong feeling that I would get my answer that way. Boy, did I GET IT!! I don’t regret it one bit!! I wish I would have looked sooner so that I could have had the strength to leave him before things got extremely ugly and I became this totally defeated human being. I know what you must be thinking…. why did I marry him? I’d have to tell the whole story and its too emotional to type!!!

    • Author

      Glad you got your answer Anon even though as I said in my answer above, I always think it’s preferable to try and get the answers from the person’s mouth.

      Interesting that you stuck it out and tried to make it work (and got married!). I imagine you wouldn’t be human without a few trust issues but hope your husband is proving worthy of you after his bad behaviour at the start!

  2. Sar 8 years ago

    Like RC, I’ve snooped but only when I already had good cause to suspect, which it sounds like you likely do. Like RC, in the end I only wished I’d done it sooner as it could have saved me a lot of heartache. It’s not a great thing to do, no, sure, but frankly I believe that for most people if you’ve gotten to that point of wanting to there is probably cause. Just be prepared for the fact that you may find out more than you bargained for and some things can’t be ‘unknown’.

    Good luck to you – it’s a horrible feeling to feel the need to.

    • Author

      Will never forget finding out about my ex’s mistress. Such a sick feeling but also a huge relief that I wasn’t going crazy and that I could then make decisions going forward based on what I knew. That’s really empowering.

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