In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states. In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes with Ask Gynomite. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org- all emails stay confidential. Today, Gynomite takes on snooping.
I just found out that the guy I’ve been seeing has a long distance girlfriend that he is still sending pining, swoony emails and texts to. I found this out by checking his phone while he was in the bathroom, but I checked because I was feeling suspicious- he would get a text and giggle to himself, and it just seemed flirtatious. Anyway, I told him I have to talk to him tonight. How exactly do I handle this?
The bigger issue here, to me, is how to deal with damning information you acquired by snooping. Traditional wisdom and romantic comedies will tell you that the cardinal rule is that you never snoop, because if you snoop, you will find out something you don’t want to know. The secondary cardinal rule to snooping is that the information you find is inadmissible evidence in the court of love. Some would argue that if the crime you find evidence of outweighs the crime of snooping, confrontation is allowed (having sex with an entire basketball team > reading someone’s open email account). Some would argue it is not.
The problem with debating whether or not it’s justified to confront someone about information you obtained sneakily is that it’s a moot point. Once you find out the information, you can’t just sit on it. It’s impossible. So when you confront, you have several options. 1) You can just plow through the truth, as DeVore suggested, and admit what you’ve done, 2) You can go with the old “I just have a women’s intuition hunch that you’re seeing someone long distance” and never reveal your sources, or 3) Figure out some legit way to “discover” the information, preferably in front of him.
…I once, after finding out a boyfriend was cheating on me, figured out from the girl’s MySpace profile what her interests were so that I could show that I was also interested in those things, enough to make her friend me. And once she did, I “casually” mentioned my boyfriend, and BOOM! The guy and I were through, but the girl and I remained weird friends. (Note: I am not proud of this behavior.)
But I digress. Situations like this remind me of those couples on the Maury show, where the woman feels compelled to drag the man all the way to whatever smelly cave Maury is filmed in to get irrefutable proof of whether or not he’s cheating. If you have to resort to snooping or Maurying, rather than relying on good old-fashioned trust, your relationship already needs some work.