My girlfriend snooped through my phone. Now what?
June 27, 2014 3:30 PM   Subscribe

I found out my girlfriend snooped through my phone. I don't know how to proceed.

Some context: we've been dating for approximately 8 months. She's 28. I'm a 32 y/o male.

She opened my text messaging and mail apps while I was showering this morning. Upon seeing that those were not the most recent apps I opened before leaving my phone on the kitchen counter, I asked her about it. She denied it, saying she forgot my password — lying to my face.

I didn't push it further at the moment because I had to leave for work. I texted her later in the day telling her I am hurt by the fact that she's lying, and I wanted to discuss this further. She apologized, and wrote she didn't want to discuss it later because she wasn't feeling well. I haven't responded.

I feel hurt because not only does my privacy feel violated, but I feel worse regarding her lying about the snooping when asked.

She has also been acting very insecure recently — she accused me of checking out another girl last weekend, and if I am out with friends, she's sure to text me often. It appears as if the more time passes, the more possessive she becomes.

I think I am being naive here, and expecting that she will grow out of this behavior. I don't want to end things with her, but I am feeling more and more conflicted about this relationship, and if she can't be honest with me then will be no future. I am also feeling somewhat suffocated by this behavior.

Does the Hivemind have advice on how to proceed?
posted by hobodeluxe to Human Relations (48 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It seems like she hasn't much respect for you.
It seems like you haven't much respect for her.

You both deserve better. Take the door.
posted by Namlit at 3:36 PM on June 27, 2014 [10 favorites]

She opened my text messaging and mail apps while I was showering this morning. Upon seeing that those were not the most recent apps I opened before leaving my phone on the kitchen counter, I asked her about it. She denied it, saying she forgot my password — lying to my face.

She neither respects your privacy, nor you (since she flat out lied). If you can be in a relationship where you have no privacy and can't expect honesty, then stay.

She apologized, and wrote she didn't want to discuss it later because she wasn't feeling well. I haven't responded.

Wow, that's manipulative.

Dump this fucker.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:37 PM on June 27, 2014 [17 favorites]

I think I am being naive here, and expecting that she will grow out of this behavior.

She won't. Snoopers snoop. If you're not okay with that, then you're probably not going to be okay with her. The fact that she lied to you about it and then refused to discuss it like an adult makes me think things aren't on a good path.
posted by xingcat at 3:41 PM on June 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

Thirding the ejector seat, with the addendum that you should always password-protect your phone.
posted by pdb at 3:42 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Forgot your password, like you already gave it to her? Did you all have some sort of arrangement before?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:45 PM on June 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

She goes through your phone, lies about it, then refuses to discuss it with you. She is also apparently escalating this sort of behaviour. With the tangent you're on, things are going to get worse.

It's possible for people to change. But it's very difficult and doesn't happen often. Personally, I would leave the relationship and consider starting it again (assuming mutual interest), after she had changed. I wouldn't stay in the relationship in the meantime.
posted by Solomon at 3:46 PM on June 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

Yikes. For me, this is a big red flag. This trend, It appears as if the more time passes, the more possessive she becomes, is also cause for me to worry. My sensitivity toward this sort of thing may be somewhat rooted in the fact that I'm a cis hetero woman and men who act controlling, manipulative, and jealous are scary to me.

But, I think that the underlying situation is largely the same - she's steamrolling over your privacy in order to fuel a very unhealthy part of her personality. Even worse, she's actively avoiding both talking to you about it and taking responsibility for her major transgression.
posted by quince at 3:47 PM on June 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

Definately a red flag, if not several and in the past I have been a sucker for giving people the benefit of the doubt... but if she has had a horrible experience of being cheated on by someone prior etc.. I'm not saying that makes it ok.. but for me I think it would put a different spin on things.

I am thinking of a very good friend of mine who just did this, he was justifiably pissed off, she never did it again but is a good person and a good partner.. I don't know about your woman.
posted by tanktop at 3:54 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think I am being naive here, and expecting that she will grow out of this behavior.

She is twenty-eight years old.

Dump her and don't look back. There are better women out there.
posted by toomuchpete at 3:56 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Snooping, red flag number one. Lying about it, red flag number two. Not willing to truly apologize or discuss it with you, red flag number three.

This is not a healthy relationship.

I'm in the DTMFA group. If you're taking a poll.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:59 PM on June 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

Two things jumped out at me:

She opened my text messaging and mail apps while I was showering this morning.
Upon seeing that those were not the most recent apps I opened before leaving my phone on the kitchen counter, I asked her about it. She denied it, saying she forgot my password — lying to my face
She will likely learn to hide this behaviour from you but won't stop.

she accused me of checking out another girl last weekend, and if I am out with friends, she's sure to text me often. It appears as if the more time passes, the more possessive she becomes.

This will get worse, not better.

Does the Hivemind have advice on how to proceed?
Run, run away.
posted by Snazzy67 at 4:02 PM on June 27, 2014

Maybe I'm overlooking something, but what I'm hearing is she did the wrong thing, possibly felt shame and tried to conceal it, then apologized when confronted and hopes it will blow over without having to have her nose rubbed in the error?

It's not a great situation, but it's one bad day, and you have an apology. I would chill for now and look for larger patterns later. There's definitely stuff here to think about, but I doubt we have the full picture.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 4:06 PM on June 27, 2014 [49 favorites]

I lean towards DTMFA, but I don't know how strong your feelings for her are. At the least, I'd tell that snooping and lying are utterly unacceptable and that a repeat performance means the end of the relationship. But if were me, I'd be out the door.
posted by tyllwin at 4:16 PM on June 27, 2014

Do you think she would be willing to see a therapist?

Also, if you truly don't want to end things with her, then some kind of couples counseling might be the way to go. She has trust issues it seems with the relationship (not saying you did anything wrong, just that she has issues), and now, because of this behavior, you have trust issues with her. You might want to find out what is going on with the relationship with the help of an intermediary?
posted by gudrun at 4:24 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Snooping is not cool; lying about it is even less cool; avoiding the confrontation about it because of a clearly chickenshit reason is totally uncool.

I don't have the knowledge of your relationship - what motivates this behaviour, where it comes from, how she can control it - but it would be well into Serious Territory if I cared about my partner checking out my phone (I don't, but anyone is totally entitled to care about it). I would have a real long conversation about it this evening. If your GF is not up for that, explaining why she did it, apologising for it, assurances that it won't happen again etc - then I would say that her jealously is more important than her relationship with you and you should act accordingly.
posted by smoke at 4:28 PM on June 27, 2014

Be firm in saying the two of you must talk about it, so if you do end the relationship, you'll know you got the whole story. I suggest that you ask her to explain -- and you should just listen. When she seems to be finished talking, keep listening because your silence will invite her to say more. If she keeps going, she'll probably either make excuses or tell you about whatever she's been feeling that led her to read your private stuff. She might even give a heart-felt apology.

I don't mean that you should overlook anything because she must have had a good reason, or she's sorry, blah blah. Rather, you have an opportunity to find out her point of view. You won't get that if you argue and contradict. When you've heard everything, you don't even need to respond right away if you feel overwhelmed or uncertain.

It's very hard in a loaded situation, but stay calm and don't raise your voice. And when you do talk about your thoughts and feelings, don't let her change the subject. You feel hurt, maybe angry, betrayed. You don't like that she violated your privacy rather than discuss her insecurities. When you say so, stop her if she doesn't directly respond to what you've said.

I think that there are three problems: she snooped, lied about it and tried to avoid dealing with it, and also chose not to talk with you about her concerns in the first place. To me, that last one is even worse than the others.
posted by wryly at 4:30 PM on June 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

Another option would be to tell her that this level of distrust is unacceptable, and see if she would be willing to work on it with a counselor either with or without you. People make mistakes, people operate from a fearful place, but people change too. If nobody changed profoundly from who they are when they were 28 this would be a fucked world indeed. But people change, mature, learn all the time.

That being said, motivation, planning, and ACTION are all part of change. She needs to indicate a clear plan to do so, and you must be motivated enough to hang in the hope that this occurs. I suppose it depends on how much you value the relationship in its entirety. If every relationship in which a lapse of judgment/character arose was immediately terminated the number of extant relationships would be negligible.

It is not like she had an affair, stole from you, or something along these lines. She got afraid and then acted on her fear in a poor manner. When she was caught, her fear led her to err yet again. Maybe being with such a fearful person is not the burden you wish to carry, which would be highly understandable. I am kind of amazed how quickly the hive is willing to stone her however. Let the one who has not missed the target be the first to cast...
posted by jcworth at 4:30 PM on June 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

People don't snoop just for the hell of it. Did you ask her why she snooped? It doesn't sound like it. Is it because you already know why she might snoop so you don't need to ask?

She has also been acting very insecure recently — she accused me of checking out another girl last weekend, and if I am out with friends, she's sure to text me often. It appears as if the more time passes, the more possessive she becomes.

Have you talked to her about why she's feeling insecure? Were you checking out another girl last weekend? Is there reason to worry about your behavior when you're out with friends? People sometimes become more possessive for no reason, sure. But more often they become more possessive for a reason.

My gut feeling is that what you have said here is basically true, but that there are relevant pieces of information that are missing. I think that there would be a different mood in the room towards this situation if she were asking the question and not you. But I think that the advice that she would be getting would be pretty similar to the advice that you're getting.
posted by Kwine at 4:36 PM on June 27, 2014 [17 favorites]

Maybe I'm crazy, it's totes possible. But snooping just isn't really a big deal to me. I don't know why. I read other people freaking out about a Big Trust Violation and I kind of think, meh? She read your texts? So? I mean, it's a little uncomfortable yes. Maybe embarrassing. But, like, rage-inducing and character destroying and Let's Break Up Right Now? Nah.

I dunno, man. Don't give her reasons to be jealous. Don't have stuff to hide. Don't think negatively of her and harshly judge her human weaknesses.

I kind of think if I snooped on my boyfriend's phone, or he snooped on mine, both of our reactions would be amused puzzlement, like, "What? You're that jealous babe? Don't I tell you I'm crazy about you every day? Did you find anything interesting in my grocery list?" And then we'd laugh.

But that's just me. *shrug*
posted by quincunx at 4:38 PM on June 27, 2014 [58 favorites]

Certainly her snooping, lying about it, and then admitting to it and shutting off discussion are all strong negatives, but there is a deeper problem, her insecurity in your relationship.

That she is growing increasingly insecure about your relationship could be all about her, or it could be all about you. We don't know. One thing is for certain, she isn't going to grow out of it, because there are two people in the relationship, and making both people feel secure in a relationship takes both of them.

You could cut the line now, as others are suggesting, or you could see if with a little more effort you two can actually talk about this. If you can, that could actually be a reason for both of you to feel more secure in the relationship. For her part, it could reassure her that she can actually fuck up, and still manage to work through things. Similarly, for you, it should reassure you that she can fuck up and then be squirrely about it and then face up to her mistake and work through the issue.
If you can't, well then, yeah, cut the line and move on.
posted by Good Brain at 4:59 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

She apologized, and wrote she didn't want to discuss it later because she wasn't feeling well. I haven't responded.


Fuck that. I was, up to that point, thinking in my head "so what did she say when you talked to her about it?"

Refusing to even talk about it is refusing to have like, reasonable in-relationship communication. Like to the point that not only is this an unhealthy relationship, but it's probably not even the relationship either of you think it is.

If she refuses to talk about it, she's trying to have a relationship ala carte where she gets to pick and choose which responsibilities of having an actual adult relationship she has. I did an actual double take at her age, because i thought i must have misread it and it was actually 18. That's about the age i'd expect from that behavior, is what i'm saying.

Draw your own conclusion of what to do now, but i see refusing to talk about it as a way bigger problem than snooping. And i think snooping is pretty bad in and of itself. Walling off communication is defcon 1, as far as relationships go. I don't really see anywhere to go but out if she isn't going to talk about this.
posted by emptythought at 5:02 PM on June 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

It's a little early to DTMFA before even having a talk about it. There might be something completely unrelated to you going on in her life that is making her feel anxious about the relationship. Who knows? If she's acting uncharacteristically insecure, it seems likely that something has changed in her life.

I would lay out that you've noticed a change in her behavior, that you take the snooping seriously, and that you take the lack of trust seriously. And let her explain. And bat away the plausible-sounding-but-actually-bullshit explanation without getting angry about it, as a stepping-stone toward whatever's really going on.
posted by adamrice at 5:08 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Draw your own conclusion of what to do now, but i see refusing to talk about it as a way bigger problem than snooping. And i think snooping is pretty bad in and of itself. Walling off communication is defcon 1, as far as relationships go. I don't really see anywhere to go but out if she isn't going to talk about this.

I pretty much came here to say this. If she's claiming to 'not feel good' in order to avoid discussing issues, run. It's manipulative in a way even the snooping isn't.
posted by mordax at 5:10 PM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Just as a example me and my partner discuss attraction to strangers every so often. It's okay if she likes somebody on the street and is okay for me to like somebody else to. We are both secure and trusting enough that attraction does not equate cheating. And we can talk about it with one another. On the same note if I look at my wife's email or texts it is not a big deal. I may ask her about something but it isn't a secret from eachother. Now I don't make a habit of it and neither does she amd also some things are always off limits (like emails to therapists).

I say this to being an example of a healthy trusting relationship.

I don't know you but the signs are there that you don't trust eachother, can't communicate effectively enough to set boundaries and discuss emotions in the open to resolve conflict. Some secrets are healthy but thinking the other had strange motives and isn't invested in the relationship is a huge red flag.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:19 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

First, change ALL your passwords --- phone, computer, email, EVERYTHING. And if you need to write down those new passwords, make sure she can't find that list.

Next, let her know that you will NOT answer any non-emergency texts while you're out with your friends, and that if she doesn't trust you that much, she's welcome to leave. Also if she texts falsely claiming something is a genuine emergency when it isn't, then from that point forward you won't answer ANY texts from her --- and follow through on that, too.

She needs to understand you are her SO, her equal partner and supposedly the person she loves: you are NOT her child to be corrected, nor are you her property to be commanded. She may not want to discuss this, but if she wants to remain your partner she'd better face reality and talk.

Otherwise, DTMFA.
posted by easily confused at 5:20 PM on June 27, 2014

i feel like askme usually leans a lot towards DTMFA, but i think in this case you need to really confront her (face to face, not texting) and perhaps deal out an ultimatum before throwing in the towel. really try to talk things out and explain what isn't going to work for you - the jealousy, the lying, the avoiding discussion, etc. give her a chance to realize where this is headed and make amends first before you walk away.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 5:23 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

OK, I will dissent from many here.

My beloved Bear is a major snoop. His juvenile misdeed was to break into neighborhood houses -- not to steal, but to look around -- and he has retained that curiosity all his life. He has examined just about everything I own, often looks over my shoulder at my mail, and consistently checks out my voice messages on our home phone and my snail mail. (Horribly, he is also a mind reader who knows what is in my head an uncomfortable amount of the time.) I really don't care -- he isn't the NSA and I have no secrets from him.

Also, earlier in our relationship he worried that I'd grow bored with him and was quite jealous for a time. I have gotten pretty comfortable telling him exactly what I am up to and about any outside events, and his anxiety has pretty much disappeared.

My major concern about this event if I were you is that she didn't tell you the truth. But that would be the discussion I'd be having. If she isn't controlling, i.e. limiting your freedom, and if you two can get to an agreement she isn't going to be lying to you again, then the real question is your ability to tolerate snoopiness.

So, this is your call. If you are OK with her snooping, and I frankly admit I'm fine with my husband's, and if she gets on the same page about honesty, I'd keep her around assuming you love her.

However, I will concur with everyone else that snoopers snoop. If that's a dealbreaker for you, or if you just can't get honesty in this relationship, I'd join the "dump her" chorus.
posted by bearwife at 5:27 PM on June 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

Get out before you waste any more of your time. Snooping, lying, and refusing to talk about both? Three strikes right there, IMHO. Best of luck.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 6:37 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

You say she's insecure, so why don't you just reassure her? If she's going to be a paranoid scatterbrain forever, then you can dump her. But maybe you just need to reassure her once and for all that you're into her and only her and then she will stop?

If you have nothing to hide, why would it bother you so much even if she did look in your phone? I guess I don't see what the big deal is or why you're so bothered by it. I mean, you're dating and have been for a while. But it sounds like you aren't really all that comfortable with each other at all. If you find this behavior suffocating, maybe you're not that into her.

I think this thread is full of overreactions. She snooped, got confronted and felt embarrassed, apologized and then didn't want to talk about her embarrassing behavior. And you want to turn this into some huge ordeal instead of moving on? And it's not like you seemed to reassure her or ask her why she doesn't trust her. You just accused her to snooping and told her you were mad. Seems to me you're dealing with this just as poorly as she is.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:23 PM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Especially if it's a recent change, I'd lean toward "something you did at some point gave her reason to worry". SHE is trying to figure out if it's time to dump YOU.

In my experience, people who have nothing to hide don't need to be secretive about their phone, computer, etc., and the ones who are the most bothered by it are the ones with the most to hide.
posted by stormyteal at 8:47 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Snoopers don't always continue to snoop. I was once a snooper, now I'm definitely not. One or two humiliating experiences -- like this one -- can actually be an impetus to change that sort of behavior. Pretty much everyone, even generally honest people, has lied when caught out on something major. That can change too.

Jealousy can grow out of bad past experience. I was a victim of several unfaithful partners, in sequence, and it took a lot of contrary experience and time to overcome my distrust and my learned assumption that everyone was going to do that to me. But this too can change.

The thing that's making alarm bells go off for me is the refusal to talk about what happened. And not just that, but the seemingly irrational, panicky way that refusal is being expressed. It's one thing to say, "I'm feeling too awful about what happened to talk about it, yet." Grownups in grownup relationships sometimes need to gather their thoughts before proceeding with a difficult discussion. It's another thing to beg illness. (She may well feel horrible enough about the situation that it's making her physically ill. But yeah, tough shit.) This strikes me as the equivalent of claiming her dog ate the homework; it's just disturbingly immature. It's something a child would do, or maybe a late-maturing teen. But not an adult.

The snooping and lying are both things that can and should be cause for a serious discussion about the future of a relationship. The refusal to have that discussion indicates that you are not dealing with an adult person who is willing to learn from their mistakes. You're only eight months in, and I'd say it's time to get back out.
posted by credible hulk at 8:56 PM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

'It appears as if the more time passes, the more possessive she becomes.'

I think you're reading her behaviour wrong. It seems more likely that something happened which made her feel insecure, probably from something that you're doing (consciously or subconsciously). This kind of behaviour doesn't just stem from nowhere. Maybe she's seen you behave towards another girl in a way that she feels uncomfortable with. Maybe someone told her that you're cheating on her and she wanted to find out by going through your phone, and now that she's seen that there's nothing there, she feels completely silly/embarrassed/ashamed and wants this to blow over without any more mess. Maybe she did see something in your phone that confirmed her fears and she doesn't want to see you again.

Anyway, I think it's completely probable that she just wants a bit of time to sort out her own thoughts. Give her a night to do so, then persist in getting a face to face discussion again. If she still doesn't want to talk about it, then there's a bigger communication-health issue here. She might be scared of the way you react in conflicts or scared of confrontations in general (for whatever reason). From the way you talk about her though, I suspect the former. Might just be because you're angry about everything, but if I was your girlfriend and I was subconsciously getting the vibe you put off in the way you spoke about me and our relationship as in your post, I'd feel very uncomfortable. Seriously, like some other posters have noted, you don't sound like you respect her too much (and, well, possibly vice versa).

Maybe send her a text along the lines of 'hey, hope you're ok. I still care about you and I don't want whatever is happening to come between us. See you at dinner and we can work it out. love you.' If she still doesn't respond then I don't really have more advice. Maybe ask one of her friends if they know what's going on, or just leave it and wait for further developments.

I personally think all the DTMFA advice here is a bit premature. You've been together 8 months, not 3 weeks. If you're really not keen on this relationship any more, then by all means use this opportunity to leave. If you want to stay though, I think this can also be a good opportunity to work through it and become a stronger couple together.

'I am feeling more and more conflicted about this relationship'
Sounds like she is too.
posted by SailRos at 9:16 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mod note: One comment deleted. We need to stick to offering advice or insight directly to the OP rather than generally chatting or discussing. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:31 AM on June 28, 2014

I think what happens next depends on whether or not she is willing to talk to you about it and whether or not she understands why it made you unhappy. I don't think you have to DTFMA just b/c she snooped once. But if she does it again or can't explain why she did or it or can't understand why it was a violation of trust, then yeah, I'd move on without her.

And for what it's worth, next time you have an AskMe relationship question, I suggest anon posting and no reference to genders - you'll probably get more useful answers and less reflexive assumptions being thrown about.
posted by modernnomad at 3:37 AM on June 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you can have a conversation about it, great. It is possible that something specific triggered her and you can solve the problem.

But, judging by the pattern you have described here, I highly doubt that will happen. In that case, stay with this person only if you are prepared to continue in a situation of constant mistrust, lies, and violations of your privacy.
posted by rpfields at 4:25 AM on June 28, 2014

Are you just looking for a reason to dump her? It is entirely possible she senses that and wonders if maybe you're into someone else, thus the snooping. If you want to dump her just do it. If you really care about her and want this relationship to be long term then give her a break. Snooping on your phone is pretty tame in the larger scheme of things.
posted by mareli at 5:57 AM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm really surprised by all the responses basically blaming you - either for being bothered by the invasion of privacy or for her sudden possessiveness. Granted, yes, you may have done something and she feels insecure. But the solution isn't to snoop and lie and then avoid discussing it - it's to call you on the behavior or at the very least, to talk to you. Sure, there are relationships where this is no big deal - look at bearwife's comment, all the agreement to quincrux' comment - this is obviously an accepted dynamic for a lot of people. But not you. And she can't just retroactively decide that that's how you two are going to operate.

And I know this is by no means universal, but in my experience, yes, people do become more possessive for a reason. But that reason is usually something guilt-causing that they have done. In short, every time someone I've dated has gotten way jealous it's been because they've done something that they know would be considered cheating. It's like subconsciously they decide that if they can catch me doing something wrong that it will equal out what they've done and cancel out their guilt. But you know, take that for what it's worth.
posted by lemniskate at 6:32 AM on June 28, 2014 [5 favorites]

The only time I really snooped into someone else's business was when I was being actively cheated on and the person refused to talk to me about it. It drove me (almost) crazy and made me do things that I would never have done in the past and haven't done since.

DTMF at this point seems premature. Whether she wants to or not, you need to talk about this. If she won't talk about it then there's your answer and the relationship is probably not worth pursuing any further because being able to communicate is VITAL. She could be carrying something over from a past experience, however, and although she's reluctant to talk about it now if you insist that the conversation needs to be had then that might be the best thing you can do as a couple; you get to find out why she's done this and she gets to find out that you are trustworthy and open and willing to talk things out so she doesn't feel the need to snoop behind your back.

Try talking about this first, with as little rancour as you can muster, and then decide.
posted by h00py at 6:42 AM on June 28, 2014

Cut your losses and dump her ASAP.
posted by unixrat at 7:02 AM on June 28, 2014

Maybe send her a text along the lines of


Text is utterly and completely the wrong medium for emotionally important conversations. When you walk out, you owe her a face to face explanation of why you're doing that.
posted by flabdablet at 7:24 AM on June 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you want to make this work with her, I think you should sit her down and talk to her. Tell her the timeline with your phone, how it appeared to you that she had looked at texts and calls. If you love her, tell her you love her but you don't love that behavior.

Privacy is a hugely independent thing. And people who check their loved ones texts and call records usually do it because they feel insecure about the relationship, I think. (I say this as someone who would hear my fiance get a text and he would hide his phone or turn it off or take it with him into the bathroom. Yes, of course I looked at his texts one day and saw that he was involved with another woman. Anyway.)

Some people are just curious. But my feeling is that many people who snoop are doing it because they feel insecure about the relationship.

I would talk to her. Find out if she's insecure. Maybe she is and for good reason. Maybe you do check out other women and don't realize it. Maybe you do hide your phone. Maybe she is really troubled with insecurity and she's got problems you can't help her with. I don't know.

But like most relationship issues, unless you just talk to her, you won't figure this out.
posted by kinetic at 7:59 AM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

She's showing you who she is and how she deals with conflict and adversity with her nearest and dearest.

Some people would be happy to deal with this kind of passive aggressive behavior for the sake of an otherwise really good relationship. Dealing with could mean any number of things, from tolerating and pretending not to notice the snooping, to big dramatic confrontations followed by big dramatic make-ups (fine if it makes you happy just don't make it your friends' problem every time), to a long and arduous joint commitment to working on it, including the backsliding and frustrating parts. I have absolutely no judgment for people who decide that this can work for them.

It wouldn't work for me, I don't think, but there are other things I would put up with in a relationship that wouldn't work for others, so fair enough.

The thing is, you have to accept that this is who she is and how she works and not expect any massive changes. Then you can decide whether it's worth accommodating (not because it's fair for that burden to be placed on you but because that's how life works), or whether you're not actually as compatible with her as you'd hoped to be and you need to let her go.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:10 AM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Snooping is not a good thing to be doing, but it's not that weird, in fact very common. Unless you want to break up with her anyway, it'd be daft to do so for this. Just make it very clear that she should not be doing this and move on.
posted by cincinnatus c at 8:17 AM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm a major snoop. I am not particularly proud of the fact, and I do stop myself from snooping most of the time.

But I've made it clear to all of my boyfriends that I have a snooping problem and the one I married a decade ago was fine with my snooping. If you are not ok with a snoop, please don't stay in a relationship with one.

MORE IMPORTANTLY: she's lying to you and refusing to communicate about an important issue. That would be a friendship ender for me, right there.
posted by waterisfinite at 10:44 AM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can't imagine staying with this person. No trust = no relationship. I could probably tolerate the snooping, but the LYING? That's the line that can't be crossed for me.

Here is the action plan:

- Change all your passwords
- Change your lock if she has a key. Sort of overkill, but for $50 bucks you eliminate potential problems.
- Box up her stuff.
- Text her back saying, "No need to discuss. Where would you like me to drop off your things? I can leave it to friend if you prefer."
- Drop her stuff and then block contact.
posted by 26.2 at 1:53 PM on June 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not sure if this is a huge lack of respect thing. People are people, and we deal with all sorts of insecurities and issues. Yes she is suddenly insecure, so what? Maybe some of your behavior has made her question herself and maybe she has bad experiences in the past (the world isn't exactly full of affair free couples). She lied to you and yes that is terrible. But, is she a perpetual liar? Does she always lie about things or is this the first lie you have seen?

I think it is ridiculous how some of the advice given is to drop her. WTF. You have been together for 8 months, the least you both can do is sit your butt down and communicate about this.
posted by jellyjam at 2:07 PM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Talk to her - in person - let her know that this bothers you, what your boundaries are, and make it clear that part of the reason it bothers you is because she is feeling insecure and you want to address that. Also, password protect your phone.

I don't think this one incident is enough to DTMFA but if there's a second then it's time to go.
posted by bgal81 at 6:27 PM on June 30, 2014

Some posters here have suggested that maybe something has happened to make her more insecure; I would like to propose that the "Thing" could be merely the passage of time. After 8 months, a relationship can seem more serious and, therefore, to some people, scary. You haven't told us how serious the relationship really is: have you told each other you love each other? have you promised that you won't see other people, or is that just assumed? Are you at all flirtatious? Are you really serious about her and thinking about a future together?

Some posters above have said that it's okay for their partners to look at their mail, etc. But these are long-term relationships that are apparently very secure, so it's no big deal. I'm in a relationship like that (23 years thus far) but, eight months in, it would have been a big problem if he had caught me spying on his smart phone messages (luckily there were no smart phones then or I probably wouldn't have been able to resist!).

Then there is the subject of her relationship history, as some have pointed out: is she used to being taken seriously? has she been cheated on? And the gender thing, or, rather, the one-down thing: some people just don't trust at the beginning of serious relationships, but that doesn't mean they're always going to spy on you for the rest of your life.

I agree that it was immature of her to refuse to talk about the situation and to say she didn't "feel well," but it sounds as if she feels terribly ashamed and can't face it. To my 64-year-old mind, 28 isn't so very very old that one always act correctly and "maturely." (and you don't always at 64 either, believe me, especially when love and abandonment issues are at stake)

Then there's the issue of the password -- why does she have your password if she's not allowed to look at stuff?

If you're really crazy about her I wouldn't break up over this just yet, but definitely reassure her that she is the only one in your life (if it's true), you do not want anyone else, and you have nothing to hide from her. Then see what happens. I think all the people who are telling you to change all your passwords, etc., are being rather hysterical about this. She's not a criminal. No need to change the locks just yet.
posted by DMelanogaster at 5:06 PM on June 5, 2015

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