Over the weekend, I attended a brunch where I had an interesting discussion with a few women, some of who hold a rather cynical view of relationships. The cynics believed that all men are capable cheating, and further this makes them justified in snooping through emails, cell phones, voicemails and stalking her significant other (and all potentials for the position) on social media. Their position: if you don't check that a man is cheating, then how do you really know he isn't? Le sigh.
Admittedly, this outlook isn't exactly farfetched. According to a study on Men's Fitness, 70 percent of women do an online search before agreeing to go out with a guy, and 63 percent of guys do the same before going on a first date. The same poll also found that 49 percent of women have checked their lover's computer history, and 76 percent go through the e-mail inbox if it's "accidentally" left open.
If you've ever read anything I've written on cheating and snooping, then you know my position: this is ludicrous. All of it.
Do all men have capability of cheating? Of course. (All women do too.) Do all men-- or women-- cheat? No. There are people, including men, who don't. There is a type of person who is or becomes dissatisfied or just desires what you aren't offering and they leave to explore other horizons as a single person who can do as they please with no accountability to anyone but themselves. That's the type of person we should all desire to be with.
If that's not the type of person you believe you are with, snooping is still not okay. Here's the thing, digging through pockets and cracking passwords is a sign that you don't trust your mate. Trust (and communication) are the core foundations of any relationship. If you lack trust, then I have to wonder why you are there. And further, if you believe all men cheat and you're not okay with cheating, then why do you even want a man? If you have this outlook, either you putting up with cheating or staying with a man who cheats is the inevitable outcome, no?
I threw that logic out there and was met with this: D, you can't really know if a man is cheating unless you check. You should respect yourself enough to want to know the whole truth.
To which I countered: you should have more faith in yourself enough to pick a good mate and know when something's up.
One of the women shot back that she was once engaged-- her first of four times-- after six months of dating. Via snooping she found that the man she was betrothed to had a long-term girlfriend. She said she had no suspicions that there was another woman; she was just going through her routine look-see into his emails. "How else would I have known about her if I hadn't looked?" she asked.
I countered that if she dated him longer-- you know how I feel about dating for seasons to get to know people-- she more than likely would have found out. I also think there were some major signs she must have overlooked. He's juggling two serious relationships and she had no clue whatsoever that something was amiss?
Another woman added that she snooped on her ex and discovered that he had four women on the side. She knew something was up when they had plans to return home after a vacation, and suddenly he had to fly to another destination "for business." So she snooped, found about the other women, and actually gave a call to at least one of them for more information.
"For what?" I asked.
She wanted details.
"But why did they matter?"
I was so baffled by her admission that I don't remember her answer. (My core view on calling another woman to ask about your man is that is her man, not "yours". I mean, she has more information on "your" alleged man than you do, right?)
Back to that first "thing" though: if you genuinely think your partner is lying, then whether they are or not is irrelevant. It's still time to go, either to the exit, or if it's worth it, to a therapist. A relationship without trust is inherently dysfunctional, and going nowhere fast.
I wish more women would recognize this, this being that it's okay to just trust themselves. There's no need to reduce yourself to a a crazed super-sleuth by digging through emails and social media platforms. They're making a simple issue unnecessarily complicated. Trust yourself to pick a good mate. If you can't trust him, leave. Find someone you can trust, and if you can't do that, head to a therapist-- it's not the domain of a life coach-- who can help you deal with your own trust issues.
And this leads me to a second thing: What if you snoop-- with no intentions of getting caught, of course-- and find nothing… but then your partner finds out you're snooping? That's a huge violation, a flashing red sign that you don't trust him, and a sign that he can't trust you. What kind of relationship is that?