Updated: Feb 10
You are worried your partner is cheating on you. You notice that they are spending less time with you when they used to read and respond to messages in front of you, they now go to the other room to check their messages or take the mysterious call. You start to wonder if they is seeing someone else and you desperately want to find out the truth. If only you could check their phone.
I see many people come in for couples counselling for the reason one partner, either intentionally or unintentionally checks their partners phone for evidence of some indiscretion. Sometimes there is a smoking gun, indisputable evidence of an affair, sometimes not. But at what cost to the relationship?
Most people explain this behaviour away as if their partner didn’t do anything wrong then they should have nothing to hide? If I find something, then they are the one in the wrong and I had reasonable suspicion to check their phone.
A healthy relationship requires both parties to be open and honest with each other. When one party feels that the partner is being secretive and not disclosing enough, they will feel hurt and uncertain about the partner’s commitment in the relationship.
More often than not, looking through your partner’s phone can lead to stalking behaviour, which is a serious invasion of one’s privacy. This leads to two outcomes - one, when you find something suspicious; two, when you do not find anything. In both cases, you are likely to escalate your attempts to obtain evidence even stalking your partner in an attempt to witness them cheating in the act.
Rather than sneaking around and looking through your partner’s phone when they are in the bathroom, have an honest conversation with your partner about the relationship. Talk about your feelings of insecurity or unhappiness in the relationship and let you and your partner have a chance to work on the relationship together.
If you think that your behaviour is due to someone or something that happened in your past - be honest with yourself and seek help with a counsellor to resolve your personal issues. Those snooping tendencies now may reflect a defensive mechanism against a past betrayal, and not because your partner is showing signs that they are cheating on you.
Ultimately this issue here is trust, when trust is broken, it is difficult for the relationship to go back the way it was and would require a lot of effort from both parties. Trust can take only mere seconds to break but requires ages to repair.
If your partner has been unfaithful, then you should seek the help of a couple’s counsellor to work through the issues This could involve the cheating partner to be transparent with their phone messages, calls and social media.
This shows their willingness to be vulnerable and to make an effort to repair the relationship. It will also provide with peace of mind that the third-party relationship is not going on behind their back and they can learn to trust their partner again.
However, when push comes to shove and you think you can no longer repair the broken trust in the relationship, you can consider ending it.
If this article has raised issues for you, please feel free to get in touch. I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation, or if you would like to make an appointment for either a face to face or online counselling session whichever is convenient.