Picture this: You’re on a dinner date with your boyfriend at your favorite restaurant. You just sat down at the table, you’re discussing which fried Italian appetizer you’re going to split and you can’t help but notice that he’s glued to his phone.
You try to shake it off and engage him in an exciting conversation about the game coming up or his Fantasy Football league. Still, despite your best efforts, he seems more preoccupied with what’s happening on his iPhone than he does with you. You can’t help but wonder who he’s talking to, or what he’s talking about.
When dinner’s over, you head back to his place to watch Netflix. He gets up to go to the bathroom, leaving his phone on the couch. You try to ignore it, but it keeps lighting up with Snapchat and text notifications. Now’s your chance to see who he’s been talking to all night.
Do you check it?
With so many social media networks, it can be tempting to want to know what your SO is up to at all times, who he/she is talking to, and if they’re being loyal to your relationship.
For some girls, “snooping” is just an indirect way of keeping up with his day-to day. Nicole, a junior at Temple University, feels that there should be no boundaries between two people in love, and that checking up is totally fine.
“I don't think it’s unhealthy to want to snoop on your boyfriend,” she says. “I have been in a relationship for three years and I still look in his inbox, not because I don't trust him, because I do. It’s just natural to want to know what they are up to and who they are talking to. I think I would snoop less if I was scared I was going to find something.”
Sarah*, a sophomore at Temple University, learned the hard way that social media can have a negative impact on a relationship. She began noticing that her boyfriend was constantly Snapchatting other people, but never responding to her own snaps. She later discovered that he was Snapchatting multiple girls from his past while she was dating him, after asking to see his phone. Still, Sarah believes that privacy in a relationship is important, but if you suspect something is up, it’s fine to ask your partner about it.
“I’m not saying look at each other’s phones on the daily, because privacy is also a key factor in a relationship, but if something pops up that bothers you, it should be okay to ask questions and find out what is going on with your significant other or the person you’re worried about,” she says. Trust is key in any relationship.
In a study published by The Telegraph in 2013, it was discovered that guys are actually twice as likely to snoop than girls. The study also found that 31 percent of those surveyed said that if they discovered their partner snooping, they would end the relationship entirely.
Is snooping worth jeopardizing the relationship?
Mae, a junior at Temple University, feels that if there’s trust in the relationship, there’s no real reason to snoop.
“In the past I had my ex-boyfriend’s password for Facebook and I never needed to go on it until he decided to end things with me,” she says. A week later, he goes out with some other girl! I still had his password, and boom, I found out he'd been talking to her for a while. My recent ex always had his phone on hand, and wouldn't let me look at it or anything. One day this girl Snapchatchatted him in the morning, and he was sleeping and I knew his password too and decided to look."
So, what do you do?
According to relationship expert and college speaker Sheryl Kurland, snooping is not the answer. “Snooping is wrong, wrong, wrong,” she says. “You may not find evidence of what you’re suspicious of, but I guarantee you'll find something that raises a red flag. This creates more problems. Additionally, reading what someone wrote can be interpreted many different ways, all of which are probably inaccurate.”
While snooping may give you reassurance, there are definitely some repercussions, especially if you find something you don’t like.
Invasion of privacy
When it comes to snooping, it may be best to practice the Golden Rule. Would you be comfortable with your boyfriend/girlfriend going through your phone? If yes, then you should be comfortable asking your SO about anything that’s on your mind, especially if you suspect that something may be going on. If they find out, they may have difficulties trusting you in the future, and feel that they has to hide things from you even more, perpetuating the issue.
“It all boils down to trust,” Kurland says. “If you can’t trust your significant other, you shouldn’t be in a relationship with him or her.”
We're creatures of habit
If you snoop once, you may want to continue snooping. Depending on what you find, you may feel like you can always get away with it without him/her realizing. In a way, it might be a bit thrilling. Chances are, if you start, it will be very difficult to stop, especially once you start knowing every little thing going on in their life.
It may represent a larger issue
If you really feel inclined to snoop, there may be something more serious going on with you two than just being on the phone too much. This can mean a number of things, ranging from your own insecurity or to having little faith in the relationship.
*Name has been changed