Checking your spouse’s phone: How ethical?
“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free” — Thich Nhat Hanh
Do you look at the text messages on your partner’s phone? Do you ever wonder if you should and is your partner okay with you looking at his/her text messages? Is your partner secretive with his/her phone and should you be worried?
Well, for the last question, you should be worried, but not actually about the fact that he/she is secretive; you should be worried because it is an indication that there is something terribly missing in your relationship, which is trust.
Ideally, you should have a transparent and open relationship with each other; it shouldn’t be a matter of having to stalk each other on social media or constantly checking your phones. If you find yourself with this pitiable impulse to check your partner’s phone almost every time, then you need to deal with some underlying issues that may doom the relationship in the future if not attended to.
Several studies have actually shown that having an uncontrollable habit of checking your partner’s private messages, including social networking sites and text messages on their phone, is not just about being inquisitive. This impulsive and uncontrollable habit is not actually the problem; it is a symptom and a deeper reflection of the things that had gone wrong in the relationship or in our own private life.
It is appalling to know that most married couples have turned themselves to detectives and investigators in their homes, searching for evidence of cheating, attachment or unusual closeness to a third party by their spouse. There is no substitute for trust in a relationship; if it is not there, then you don’t yet have a relationship.
Mutual trust is sacrosanct to any sustainable relationship and that is why I always advise people to build trust before they start building a home. Trust is fundamental to a healthy and strong relationship. I normally advise couples having issues with encroaching on each other’s privacy to spend their time building trust than on stalking, finding faults or investigating their partners.
A home without trust is like a jungle filled with wild animals, where nothing is safe. When you build trust and invest in good and effective communication, your fears will automatically disappear.
If you have ‘trust’ issues in your relationship or marriage, then it is high time you called your partner and discuss your fears and reservations. You can never get the best out of a relationship that is full of mistrust.
Most times, the decision not to check your spouse’s phone in their absence can be a great source of peace and tranquility. When you are so inquisitive in looking for your spouse’s faults through his/her phone, the truth is that you will ultimately find one. The Bible captured it succinctly by saying: “Seek and ye shall find.”
The fault we mostly find on our spouse’s phone is not really a function of how guilty they are, but simply a function of what we are looking for. If you look out for faults in your spouse’s phone, you will find it. Before you check your spouse’s phone, the first critical question to ask yourself is: What is the motive? If you have an uncontrollable penchant for checking your spouse’s phone behind his/her back, then it may be an evidence of a foundational weakness in your marriage that needs urgent diagnosis and attention.
There are many people that are now spying on their partners and spouses using Spy Apps. They can be miles from their partners, but still know when he/she has sent or received a text message. They know exactly what that text message says and who sent it.
With an inexpensive spy app bought online, people can now spy on texts and see virtually all activity on their partner’s phone without he/she ever knowing and without having possession of his/her phone.
An example of such apps is PhoneSpector, which allows an average person to spy on a cell phone like a real life private investigator. The app will remotely collect and upload data from any cell phone. mCouple is also one of the effective spy apps.
Technology has changed the way we encroach on other people’s privacy, but must it be the doom of your relationship? No matter how much you think you are entitled to your partner’s private information, stop digging into other people’s lives without permission. Be careful, because sometimes you may find out what you don’t want to find out.
There is a hidden red flag when couples don’t trust each other with their private information, and I will list out some of these red flags that are inimical to relationship health.
Baylor Barbee said: “Relationships fail because people take their own insecurities and try and twist them into their partner’s flaws.” Don’t bring your past insecurities to your present relationship.
As a relationship coach, I have observed that insecurity destroys relationships more than infidelity. I have even seen many people push their partners into infidelity because of their insecurity. An insecure partner will definitely be unnecessarily inquisitive, even when nothing has gone wrong.
Stop acting in such a way that looks as if you own a man or a woman. Don’t choke the life out of your relationship through possessiveness, which can be frustrating and irritating.
Everybody has a right to nurture his/her individuality. We must learn to give our partners ‘breathing space’ in a relationship. When you refuse to give your partner a breathing space, you deny him/her the platform for personal growth and experience. Love, many times, need space to grow, just like trees need space for their roots to expand or else, the nutrients could get depleted and their growth stunted. If your love is only a will to possess, then it is not love.
Checking other people’s phone without their permission is a sign of disrespect. If you need to use your partner’s phone, then ask for permission. Intimacy is not an opportunity to invade your partner’s privacy.
Most times, we take things for granted in our journey of intimacy with our spouse. When we take things for granted, the things we are granted get taken. Don’t wait until your partner starts passwording his/her phone before you realise that you have gone too far in invading his/her privacy.
Lack Of Boundaries
Healthy boundaries create healthy relationships. When Winston Churchill, the former British prime minister, was asked the secret of his marital bliss, the charismatic leader responded humorously and sincerely. He said: “The secret is separate bathrooms.” A good set of boundaries is critical to a life that works and relationships that are fulfilling.
I have often realised that those with poor personal boundaries often tend to violate the boundaries of others.
Encroachment On Privacy
There might be a message on your spouse’s phone that is confidential and not for public consumption, even for you, especially where your spouse is involved in support works that has to do with counselling, which requires a lot of confidentiality.
The decision to check your spouse’s phone must be mutually decided and doing so without consent is a typical example of invasion of privacy.
Jealousy in relationship is a mental cancer! In jealousy, there is more of selfish love than selfless love. Someone once said, “Don’t let jealousy fool you. It’s just another name for insecurity”.
Stop spying on your spouse and build trust instead. Spying on your spouse can help you detect infidelity but building trust will ensure that this doesn’t happen in the first place!