Relationship snooping

Monday Jun 9 08:00 AEST

Relationships are based on trust but when one partner suspects the other is cheating it seems many of us are quick to start snooping and spying.

FHM editor Ben Smithurst and relationships expert Trudy Gilbert break down why people spy and what snooping will do to a relationship.

”Modern times lend themselves to spying,” says Mr Smithurst.

Information networks like Facebook and MySpace have created new social communication tools. They not only publicise personal information but they also allow spying partners to track their partners online activity.

”I’m against the idea of invading someone's personal space, however I do think that if you haven’t been playing up or cheating then you shouldn’t really mind because you don’t have anything to hide,” he says.

”The relationship is no good if a person is spying because you cannot assume the person you are going out with is going to cheat on you, this is a very negative approach to any relationship and not a good foundation because there is no trust,” he says.

Ms Gilbert agrees with the dangers of spying and says women are more likely to be guilty of snooping. She says the main reasons woman spy are because they’re suspicious their partner is having an affair, they’re curious to learn about their partners pervious relationships or because they feel disconnected or alienated and want to reconnect with their partner.

”Often the snoop knows that spying is wrong but they do it anyway,” says Ms Gilbert. “The spying partner is usually insecure and believes that investigating the issue is more important than respecting the other person’s personal space and possessions.

Mr Smithurst believes men generally don’t get as attached as women and as a result are less likely to feel like they have something to lose and the nedd to spy.

“I think the fear of losing something or someone is really what encourages people to spy,” he says.

Both parties warn that the consequences of spying can be severe.

”92 percent of the time spying signals the end of a relationship,” says Ms Gilbert. If you have to spy on your partner then your relationship is clearly struggling from a trust perspective.

She also warns that even if the spying partner finds nothing they risk getting caught and losing the trust and respect of their partner.

”I knew a girl that just couldn’t stop snooping, even when she had no reason to suspect her partner was playing up. While she was snooping she found out he had purchased an engagement ring, however she was caught red handed and her partner broke of the relationship because he didn’t want to be in a relationship with no trust or communication.” Says Ms Gilbert.

The most popular forms of spying include reading your partners emails or personal messages, listening to their phone calls, asking friends and family to check up on them and searching through their pockets, handbags or brief cases.

More drastic spying measures include purchasing spy equipment, hiring a private detective or setting traps for the partner.

”It’s sad that some people feel they have no other option but to spy,” say Ms Gilbert. “Rather than going through the drama of snooping I’d encourage partners to listen to their intuition and try talking to their partner about their concerns.”

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