Should You Ever Snoop on a Partner?

snooping in relationshipsToday’s guest blog is from therapist Liesel Aranyosi, who tackles a very sensitive subject: snooping! She makes a pretty good case for warning against this detrimental behavior, but it is tough to follow through with this in some situations — especially when you feel a partner would never be honest with you or tell you the truth. I do like her suggestions for how to approach your partner if you think there could be some sort of cheating going on.

In my many years of doing couples counseling, I am realizing that there are many different issues that surround relationships. And the issue of infidelity is just about one of the most difficult circumstances a couple can face. Despite the difficulty, though, there is a possibility of resolution when a couple is hopeful about staying together, willing to forgive human mistakes and wanting to move forward in a more loving way.

A surefire way to act against your best interests is to “snoop” or spy on your partner if you suspect infidelity. Why doesn’t snooping work for any relationship? Because it involves invading someone’s privacy and breaching trust. Human beings are territorial. We want our own space. When someones takes away what is ours, we usually react strongly, going into a defensive mode.

This fact is one of the strongest reasons why you should not snoop. Think about it: it would be a useless cause to attempt to get facts or information by snooping, because the moment you present the “evidence” to your partner, he or she becomes aware that there was a breach of privacy and will react defensively — wouldn’t you? Defensiveness is coming from a “fight or flight” mentality and is not conducive to having a calm discussion about what you have found out in your private eye session (be it negative, neutral, positive).

If you are suspecting an affair, you can actually benefit from suggesting an open conversation with your partner. Here are some tips to make it a beneficial discussion:

Choose a calm and safe place that both of you agree on.

Choose a time when both of you are calm enough to have an open conversation.

Begin with expressing your concerns and fears, and explaining why you feel that way.

State that your intention is pure clarification; don’t accuse.

Be specific about which behaviors from your partner made you feel nervous or suspicious.

Take a moment to step back and actively listen to what your partner has to say.

Reflect back what you have heard and understood from your partner, so as to avoid confusion and misinterpretation.

It is extremely important to maintain a calm stance and tone of voice so neither of you go into a fight or flight zone.

If, while snooping around, you do find evidence of infidelity, work through your painful emotions first before discussing them with your partner. Talk about your feelings with a trusted friend, or perhaps your therapist. It is important to acknowledge what you are going through, because it is in the acknowledgement that you’ll realize you will be okay through the pain.

Emotional pain is not life threatening. It will subside eventually, but you need to ride it out. I’ve seen a lot of couples decide to stay together — even after infidelity. They seek counseling, work hard on rebuilding trust and explore other ways of relating with each other that works for each one of them.

There is hope in life’s most difficult circumstances. And when it all seems unmanageable, know that sometimes you can truly benefit from professional and objective insights.

What do you think — is anyone ever justified in snooping?

More at YourTango:

How to Get Your Man to Propose

Is Separation the New Divorce?


This article was originally published on YourTango: Suspicious Of Your Partner? Here’s A Tip: Don’t Snoop!

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