Internet infidelity: Is it time to snoop?
December 22nd, 2011
12:17 PM ET

Internet infidelity: Is it time to snoop?

This is a repost of Ian Kerner's column.  Kerner will be back with new posts in January.

From Don Juan to David Letterman, infidelity has been around as long as civilization has existed, and the Internet is still but a tiny blip in the long jaded history of adultery. But the Internet is also arguably the biggest threat to relationships that has come along since the birth of marriage, and it’s here to stay.

New threats demand new rules, and the next time your partner goes online, maybe you should be worrying about if he or she is also out of line.

These days, cheating and engaging in other secretive behaviors that could lead to infidelity have become easier than setting up a Wii.

Technology isn’t just enabling secretive behavior, it’s accelerating it at record pace: Flirtatious friendships, emotional affairs, the return of the ex, sexting, online porn and cyber-sex—with each new advance in technology comes a new way to deceive, and more and more of us are increasingly leading “digital double-lives.”

In her seminal book on emotional infidelity, "Not Just Friends," the late psychotherapist Shirley Glass implores readers to “maintain appropriate walls and windows. Keep the windows open at home. Put up privacy walls with others who could threaten your marriage.”

But with the threat of the Internet, it’s not just windows and walls we need to worry about, it’s also leaks and seals. The No. 1 danger of Internet infidelity is not that it could lead to actual sexual infidelity, but that it so easily diverts precious emotional resources away from one’s primary relationship.

Emotional infidelity can happen anywhere, anytime, but with the Internet and real-time digital technologies (email, texting,  IMing, skyping, social networking, and others) a small leak, if left unsealed, can quickly lead to a flood.

With its quick hits of newness and novelty, the Internet enables us to easily tune out and turn off to our partners, when we should be making an effort to tune in and turn on. The instant gratification of these technologies stimulates reward centers in the brain, and soon one finds oneself craving the quick hit of an instant connection or lamenting its absence.

So what should you do when your gut tells you that something is wrong, but your partner refuses to acknowledge your feelings?  What should you do when you’ve tried to talk, only to be told that you’re crazy or paranoid and that nothing’s going on?

Well, maybe it’s time to snoop.

You may not agree, but in my opinion too many people wait far too long to follow their instincts, and relationships that could have been saved had issues been nipped in the bud are instead decimated to bits and bytes.

With the Internet too many people hide behind their “right to privacy,” when what they’re really trying to protect is their right to secrecy. But nobody should have that liberty.

The moment you have something to hide – the moment you write an email that you don’t want your partner to see, the moment you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone in front of your partner, the moment you have to delete your Internet history before getting off your computer, the moment you have to set up a special email address for certain correspondences,  the moment you’re uncomfortable sharing your passwords— that’s when the trouble begins.

In a healthy relationship there should be nothing to hide. If someone is hiding something, then they should be found out. Not because they need to be penalized or humiliated, but because transparency and honesty are central to a healthy relationship.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect your partner’s privacy, but respect first and foremost demands a foundation of trust. For example, I have one password for all of my various email accounts and my wife knows what it is.  Does she ever use it? I doubt it, but I can’t say for sure. And she’s welcome to sift through my emails anytime she likes.

But before you snoop or dig around, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does your spouse spend way too much time on the computer and other digital devices such as a cell phone or smart phone? Is he/she secretive about it? For example, is your spouse comfortable leaving his/her Facebook page or email open when not at the computer?
  • Is your spouse in touch with former flames or members of the opposite sex via a social networking site such as Facebook? If so, does it make you uncomfortable? Do you feel like you don’t know what’s going on, that these “friendships” aren’t out in the open?
  • Does your partner call you paranoid when you bring up the subject and insist on his/her right to privacy?

Depending upon how you answered these questions, it might be time to snoop, especially if you’ve tried to talk about your concerns with your partner but have been met with hostility and denials.

Hopefully there will be nothing to discover and you’ll be able to breathe more easily and more coolly examine why you had suspicions and where you might be able to improve your relationship.

But maybe you’re not crazy. Maybe your partner is hiding something.

And, in the end, knowledge is power.

Ian Kerner is a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

soundoff (367 Responses)
  1. Deeplookbasqueguy

    YES IT IS. Talking on my own experience, there is no thing more painful that the suspect about the person you love the most, even more when you are trying your best to make the things work. If add a distance relationship the thing becomes worse. In my case I had to request help to "snoop" and what I found was nothing "nice". Nowadays everything seems to be back to normality and what a relationship is supposed to be but, honestly I know myself is going to take long long time till I will trust fully again on my spouse. The time put everything in its place...

    October 14, 2010 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cheryl

      You found nothing "nice" and are obviously still together it seems? Trust me if he did it once he will definitely do it again...especially since he got away with it and you forgave him. Wake up and take some pride and leave him. Why do so many woman except this behavior?? Dont you deserve better?

      October 14, 2010 at 13:55 | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      or she....

      October 14, 2010 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • temetnosce

      Wow. Really? One strike and you're out? ONE event and you're branded for life? Now, yes, if he/she sleeps with your best friend, that's a different story, but LEAVE them because they stray to the wrong site? Say the wrong thing in an e-mail? Add (what in hindsight turns out to be) the wrong friend to FB? Good grief! If we can't learn (and make no mistake, it's ALL by tial and error, which means someone, somewhere, sometime is GOING to make a mistake) how to get along as couples – two individuals with different viewpoints, different life experiences, different perpectives, different individual histories that govern how we make decisions who come together to create something wonderful, something more – then why bother?

      You say it's okay to snoop. I say it's not. Because if you're reduced to snooping, that shows you're BOTH equally lacking in the one area that has the power to save your relationship: COMMUNICATION. If you can't communicate with your partner, you might as well pack it in. Because without the ability to communicate one with the other, the web, infidelity and snooping ar the least of your problems.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • CeeCee

      Yes exactly...one strike and your out. I wouldnt say you are brandished for life but you would be with me. If you cheat once you will do it again. Like they say if your gonna play then your gonna pay. Life is too short and there are plenty of fish in the sea to worry about such things.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
    • mrmerlot

      More relationships survive infidelity than we know. You only hear about the cases that result in a break-up. It's easy to say "one strike and you're out." But when it's your relationship that's been affected, you'll likely find yourself asking "is this relationship worth repairing?" Of course, most aren't ... but you'd be surprised by the number of relationships that survive infidelity. We made this decision when my wife cheated on me – and it was the right one for us ... thank heavens!

      October 14, 2010 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
    • geehee

      @Cheryl, because it's almost guaranteed you'll just find the same thing in another relationship. It's just a matter of time. Some just hide better than others, but there's really NO difference. It really comes down to taking the Red pill or taking the Blue pill. Sometimes its just better to take the Blue pill. You take the Red every time and your life is going to be Crazy.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      To think that the only true relationship is one that is totally open, with no privacy whatsoever is just wrong. While it can work for some, it will not work for others. Tolstoy was not quite correct in his assertion that "all happy marriages are alike".

      My wife and I have been together since '84. At one point in our marriage, she would open my private mail, and I did have to initiate a conversation about how I didn't like this. I don't mean the credit card statements or other bills, or the Christmas cards, all of which are communal communications, but things such as letters from my grandmother or mother. It wasn't that I had anything to hide, it was just that the letter was a personal communication between me and another person, and that needed to be respected.

      Since the 80's, e-mail has replaced snail mail for the most part, but the sentiment still applies. If friends or family have concerns of a private nature which they want to communicate with me (and they do at times) then I have the right as an individual to ensure their privacy - even from my wife if need be.

      Likewise, I would never demand that my wife share every conversation she has with her sister or mother with me. Communication between my wife and her doctor are between them, and she can share with me what she feels I need to know, or keep private what she desires.

      I do understand the issue of social networking sites making infidelity easier than in the past. But the solution offered by the author of this post is not the answer for all marriages.


      October 14, 2010 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
    • geehee

      What you ladies fail to understand is that Men are born to cheat, its embedded in their genetic code through years of evolution. A man's main purpose on this earth is to spread his seed far and wide. The hormones in his body remind him of this on a Daily basis, you'll have to castrate him to change it. Unfortunately for you ladies that just want to build a stable secure family for your offspring, it's not really the ideal match. I think you'd be stunned to find out whats really going on in the minds of the guys that you have classified as "Good Guys", actually it might be shocking. Their are NO "Good Guys", it just the amount of Truth that you have been exposed too. Some guys are just really good at hiding, I mean really good.
      Please don't call me the "Bad Guy", I'm just sharing the Truth. 😉

      October 14, 2010 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
    • U SEXIST!!!

      @Cheryl, although you already admitted your faulty assumption that the cheater was a guy in this relationship, I think its hilarious that you instantly jumped to that conclusion. Women cheat too...

      October 14, 2010 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • Lame!!!

      Hopefully someday you'll realize that your viewpoints don't represent the entire human population's. When you do, you'll also probably realize that up until that point you've been a narcissist. Or you can just take my word for it.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
    • duhhhhh

      If you are snooping, YOU ARE THE LOSER. Men cheat because women can't fulfill their s e x ual needs. If you can't keep a man satisfied, he will go looking for a woman that can. So if you want to snoop, go right ahead. It isn't going to solve the problem that's really YOUR FAULT.

      October 14, 2010 at 18:02 | Report abuse |
    • Bugsy

      Trust but verify. In my case, something occurred to cause me to want to verify, which turned up some moderately bad ongoing stuff. So the person I trusted the most for an entire two decade long marriage turned out to be a liar and a cheater. This guy was the boyfriend of her oldest dearst friend. I opted out of marital counseling, and instead suggested a bye-bye (her best friend did the same). Very expensive flirtation for her. To this day she insists she did nothing wrong. I will probably never again be able to trust any woman I become involved with. Ignorance MAY be bliss, but I prefer to be cynical and know the truth.

      My point? People will go to great lengths to justify their behaviors, snooper and cheater alike. It's not possible to apply a single standard to every relationship.

      October 14, 2010 at 18:22 | Report abuse |
    • it happened

      I did it. I can not explain it in morality, in reality, I cannot justify it, or rationalize it. 12 years ago we started talking. 8 years ago we met for the first time. Long distance, internet.. we met many times this year for extended periods. I talked to her once. She didn't get it. She didn't get what I was explaining not realizing who she was. We moved on and gravitated back.. we moved on again.. and gravitated back.... I hate myself sometimes.. then think... why has she not looked... why has she not paid attention... why is she always in bed at early.. does she not see what I see?. .. Oprah would tell me to leave and find more self esteem. Dr. Phil would tell me I am crazy... Jerry Springer would make it a circus. After a divorce many years ago.. and dating many.. this brings me to what I want, and need. I am educated, successful and a single parent. It simply is what it is.... it simply is...

      October 14, 2010 at 21:49 | Report abuse |
    • Alittlelogic

      @Geehee...Wow! Good thing I don't belive in evolution then. You say it like you are a guy. You definitely are not a man. As a man I define cheating as the act of desiring, fantasizing, attempting to instigate, or actively pursuing an intimate relationship with anyone other than your significant other. Some say I place myself on a short leash, I like it that way. I can control my thoughts, desires, and actions. Why? Because I'm not an animal. I have a brain capable of logical, rational, and independent thought. If you can't control yourself then perhaps you need help. I have no trouble remaining faithful and I haven't seen my GF in person in nearly 4 months. If you are female and believe this then I truly feel sorry for you, because you obviously found a guy when you should have been looking for a MAN.

      October 15, 2010 at 04:08 | Report abuse |
    • question

      I am honestly at a loss of how to snoop if you don't have access to passwords. My phone, computer, etc. is entirely password free. My husband has everything sealed down like Fort Knoxx. He does get very irrate when questions are posed – so what am I to do ???

      October 15, 2010 at 08:31 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      @ceecee – There are not plenty of fish, there is not plenty of time, and relationships take real work (albeit rewarding, fun, eventful, and challenging) and many mistakes are made along the way. For those that are untrusting, unforgiving, and not interested in the work, then I would say go it alone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being single!! But for those that do try, I'd say try really hard and don't throw the baby out with the bathwater during the rocky times.

      October 15, 2010 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
    • TheFatt

      Emotional infidelity? Sounds like the whining of someone emotionally immature and insecure. A co-dependent personality. The other sex represents roughly 50% of the rest of our population, are we not supposed to have a real relationship with any of them?

      October 25, 2010 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
  2. Junebug

    How true, emotional infidelity cut my core. It's over now and sad that it ended. I moved on and so did he.

    October 14, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Dave

    It will be a cold day in hell before ANY woman voluntarily allows ANY man complete access to every social interaction that she has with anyone. It is fascinating that the author is publicly acknowledging and advocating a level of monitoring that everyone knows, even though he doesn't say it explicitly, will only ever happen, if it happens at all, in one direction.

    October 14, 2010 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      Oh really? Then it is a cold day in hell today because I have given my husband complete access to everything. To my husband, I OWE transparency. To hell with everyone else. I do nit do or say anything I wouldn't do if my husband were in the room, so I really don't care if he looks at my things. He doesn't anyway, because he TRUSTS me. I would never violate that trust.

      Just because SOME women are sneaky, doens't mean all women are.

      October 14, 2010 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • katieroo

      I agree with Valerie! I'm not even married, but my long term boyfriend has the passwords to my email accounts and my facebook account. I've let him borrow my laptop for days, and all of my passwords are stored in the browser – not to mention that none of my files or folders are locked down. Reason for it all is that I have nothing to hide. He could read every e-mail/facebook message and look at every file on my computer, and he'd probably get bored.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
    • LD

      Meh, my partner has my passwords and I'm not too concerned. We talk about everything anyway and if he really wants to see what I'm emailing, I have no problem with that! I Chillax hommie, good people do exist out there.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
    • CeeCee

      Wow Valerie if only all people could be as perfect as you and your happy family.

      Yes that is sarcasm...

      October 14, 2010 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • Truefax

      @The good women who posted in response to dave.

      You just haven't met someone you WANT to hide from your SigO. But in time friendship can become more, and what you where ok with sharing becomes private. I'm not a judge and I say we're all animals under the fancy clothes, but if you really think that this will never happen to you, you’re delusional...

      I really have nothing to convince you otherwise but I've known too many women and men that have strayed to for one second believe that the incorruptible pair bond that you folks are talking and the transparency afforded by it is only tiny outlier in the cesspool of normal human behavior.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • Seraphim0

      Wow. passwords to all your stuff, eh? Does he have your bank account info as well? There's a difference between secrecy and security. My girlfriend and I have been together for several years, we each have our own lives, neither of us knows the other person's passwords for such things. And, frankly, we prefer it that way. It's called trust, communication, and honesty. Usually, the person who reveals everything is the one who is hiding something else. Simple misdirection. May be bitter, but only a fool hands over the keys to their life to someone else completely and totally. I hope you guys never break up. If one of you gets vindictive... wow.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • spikette

      my hubby is the computer tech. he sets up my computer. he installs my password. he ahs total access to my stuff. i dont care. i have never been one to say hurtful or demeaning things about my hubby, to his face or behind his back. i like that i give him the security any person should feel in a relationship.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
    • A

      That's funny...this article prompted me to send my beloved boyfriend ALL my passwords. Not because he questions me....not because he asked for them or even remotely has an issue...but as a measure of trust and faith. I have nothing to hide at all. I WANT him to know about every moment of my day. If i asked him for his, he'd give them to me.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • Alexis

      It's a cold day then! I show my boyfriend everything. There is nothing to hide so why try? Maybe it is you who is hiding things and then placing it on others.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • Veritas

      Wow CeeCee ...
      What happened to you? Who hurt you that bad? Is it so difficult to believe that many women trust their parters and would not have anything to hide?

      October 14, 2010 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • Talliana

      I had access to all my husband's accounts before we were married. He knows where I keep a list of all my accounts/passwords. We have been together for about 8 years now and although I still keep some info from him like my separate savings account he knows that I have book with all the info he needs to get into my accounts. he can look at my email and I am always reading his. I also go through his phone once in a while just to see the pictures he and his friends swap with each other. If you are not in an open relationship then you do have something to hide.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • Margaret

      Wow CeeCee, you really are a ray of sunshine. Some of us aren't as negative as you and lead happy lives.

      My husband and I have been together for 11 years, married for 10. He and I both know how to access each other's FB accounts and cell phone voice mailboxes. The credit union has issued separate access information to us, although all of our accounts are joint. I know his info, he knows mine. We can both access each other's home email if we wanted. He is former military and now a DOD employee and I can access his retirement and civilian pay statements online. The list goes on. The only accounts we CANNOT access is our work email accounts – we both hold security clearances and cannot allow anyone else access to our work email. If there is anything he doesn't know, all he has to do is ask.

      The ONLY time I've ever hidden communciation from his is when I've ordered special gifts for him and don't want him to see receipts. Of course, if he ever bothered to look at our check card and credit card accounts, he could probably figure things out. I also have these gifts sent to a friend's house, as he gets home before me and sees all mail and packages before I do. So, this doesn't even count because it's not a trust issue – I just like to surprise my husband!

      Seriously, nothing to hide here. Life is great when you're with someone you trust!

      October 14, 2010 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
    • Happy Sub

      OK, there are lots of different types of relationship dynamics out there folks. I think Dave is confused because he seems to think the only type of relationship is one where a man and a woman are together under the guise of utter equality. Relationships are fluid and are based on what the people in them want them to be. There are women and men who chose to take a submissive role in a relationship in exchange for the protection of the more dominant personality. In my case, my Dominant has access to all my personal passwords because I agreed to relenquish that trust to him in exchange for his trust in me. Grow up and look around Dave, not everyone is like YOU! haha

      October 14, 2010 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
    • Dave2

      My fiance gives me passwords... to the credit card accounts she wants me to pay sheesh, lol.

      As for my stuff... heck no... get you're own FB and password... this one is mine, lol.

      October 14, 2010 at 23:15 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I agree with you Valerie, and I'm a guy. You've got it right and I hope your husband does too. Because together you can have a great and rewarding marriage.

      October 15, 2010 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff

    wow,, advocating a breech in anothers trust as well as privacy? There is no excuse for someone to invade your email or your computer, and if your partner does such things. Then your with the wrong person. Using someones email without there permission is wrong, no matter for what reason!

    October 14, 2010 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Waleed

      I disagree, because it is better to know the truth than to be the fool later. I know people like you that thinks looking into something is unethical, and they end up having a kid that looks oddly like their wife's "ex".

      October 14, 2010 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
    • Blondegeisha

      I totally agree Jeff. No matter what your relationship situation I believe we all need some modicum of privacy,looking at someones e mail is like looking through someones wallet or handbag.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • Bugsy

      Well said Waleed.

      There seems to be this myth that women are just inherently more moral and trustable than men. But my (soon-to-be) ex wife would think nothing of sneaking through my wallet given the chance. But get caught querying contents of her purse, holy crap?... you'd think the Vatican walls had been breeched by godless hordes. Women are just as ethically foul as men... maybe more so for their mythical facade.

      October 15, 2010 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
  5. Wondering

    Dave has a point. Go to Facebook and I see all my married men friends with open Wall, proudly stating their married status, no ex's. Then I wander to the other side of the gender wall and every woman's Wall is hidden, status not displayed, maiden names (long ago changed) are there for ex's to find, and find they do as they are right their in their friends. A huge double standard that many men have to accept...or have a mad spouse in bed. And let's not get started with using sex as a weapon.

    October 14, 2010 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      Facebook is relationship cancer. Some would say that Facebook can only exploit a relationship which is already poor but I have seen it actually undermine solid marriages. All relationships have cycles with highs and lows, to include a week of boredom or a week of stress. When other men are constantly peppering your spouse with flirtations and indecent invitations, they can occasionally break through to the woman, especially if these other men are attractive ex-lovers. No one man can be everything to his wife, and there will be times she will wish she could have 3 husbands, one for best oral sex (are you sure there isn't someone on Facebook who has not shown her a better orgasm at one point?), the witty millionaire 53-year-old magnate and playboy who knows the owners of all her favorite restaurants, and then you - the comfortable old shoe she can rely on for emotional and domestic support. And with a tool like Facebook, she will eventually give in to one of the many overtures she receives from her "friends." (No one should be a "friend" who does not support her marriage to you. You have a right to ask your wife to cut off any former lover or wannabe who is trying to get in her door).

      October 14, 2010 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • PixelPixie

      @Michael – unfortunately, even as a woman, I agree with you that this group of women does exist. The problem with this type is that she is looking to men for everything and not drawing from her own strength and esteem. I am married and have gone through a rough patch similar to looking towards my husband as being my end-all. I was wrong to place the impossible burden upon him and not strive to be my own person. I didn't stray, though; Hubby actually did, emotionally, because my demands and constant criticism of his apparent inadequacies cut him down and weakened him to a dangerous vulnerability.

      We made it out of that crazy time, thank God. He now enjoys my company, and our house is a home again.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
    • MarriedinTX

      @Wondering: please! Many woman dont show their status because there's just as many sick men out there who purposefully try to bust up a marriage or at least get a married woman to "give in", among other things. Dont presume you know everything there is to know about women; you've just proven that you do not. Michael, I'm sorry for what happened with your wife, dont agree with your "humiliation" methods, but sure hope it works out for you. Unfortunately, I think what Neeneko said is true, and hope you're getting the help you, and she, need.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • ann

      Just because the profile is set to private doesn't mean a woman is hiding from her spouse. Most women like to post pictures of their children etc and don't want anyone but their friends to see that (not some pedofile or werido they don't know). So long as the spouse is her friend on facebook he should be able to see everything. (or if he has her password)

      Personally my hubby has all my passwords. I don't think he uses them, but he knows that I am aware that he could look at anytime. I also would not get mad if he wants to look at my smartphone or any such thing. Why? Because I don't do anything that I wouldn't feel ok for him to know. I feel that most people who want privacy aren't just wanting privacy. They want to be able to do bad things without worrying that they will get caught.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:51 | Report abuse |
    • Playgurl89

      First of all being a woman and having women in my life who proudly display their relationship, I have to disagree with you Wondering. As soon as I am in a relationship I change my status, cut anyone off who crosses the line, AND give my passwords to my significant other. I have no problem proving I don't do anything wrong becasue I don't. I have never cheated and never plan on it. I think it's selfish and if you aren't ready for that then don't get into a relationship. It's all about openess and that's where alot of people fail.

      October 14, 2010 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
  6. UncleJohn

    "In a healthy relationship there should be nothing to hide. If someone is hiding something, then they should be found out. Not because they need to be penalized or humiliated, but because transparency and honesty are central to a healthy relationship"

    The author may enjoy this degree of candor with his wife, and good for both of them for achieving it. But I don't think this is realistic for most couples. There's a difference between honesty and full disclosure. Ask, well, anyone who's married. Except perhaps the author.

    October 14, 2010 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kirsten

      i stand by the author's words- I have this type of honesty in my relationship with my husband. He trusts– totally - and will do nothing to break that trust.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:31 | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    Personally, I don't think snooping on your partner is a productive activity. By doing so, you've shown that you do not trust your partner, so what is the purpose of snooping? If you don't find anything, will you start trusting your partner again? No, of course not. You'll just look harder next time.

    If you have a problem with your relationship, work on that problem. Partner emotionally or physically unavailable? Work on that. Poor communication skills? Work on that.

    Snooping will never fix the underlying problem in your relationship. It is always counterproductive.

    October 14, 2010 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      I disagree. My partner was unwilling to work on the problems in our relationship and she was content to siphon off all her energy into this emotional affair. By rooting out that affair in dramatic fashion and making the details available to her parents and friends, she was humiliated into committing to make our relationship work. By shining the light of day on the secret, she suddenly imposed her own moral standards (and those of others) on her activities and intentions, and she became a changed woman. She apologized, kicked a very confused male mistress out of her life (it took a little extra "prodding" from me but that's another story), and immersed herself in us. From that moment on she discovered how wonderful our relationship could be and to this day she thanks the Lord that her delusions were dispelled.

      October 14, 2010 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • Ex

      I wish I had snooped. My charming husband (who seemed to treat me well ) convinced me that he was more capable of managing our finances and he secretly diverted our bank funds for nearly a year to set himself and his mistress up for the day he disappeared. We refinanced the house and the money we were supposed to use for home improvements he used to secretly pay off his truck before he left while I still had a car payment. The evidence was all there, in the cellphone bill. The midnight calls to his coworker...I wish I'd snooped so me and my children could have been better prepared emotionally and financially for what was quite devastating.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
    • Xilo

      Ah yes, "humiliated into making it work" - and isn't that what we're striving for?

      I agree that secrecy and deception are not qualities one should have in a marriage, but I would disagree that countering it with invasion of privacy is a proper solution. More violations of trust will not help a relationship in the long run. If you're worried about your partner's behavior, confront them. If they refuse to confront the issue and insist on engaging in behavior that you find unacceptable, tell them you aren't willing to be in a relationship that isn't open and honest. You prove that by being open and honest yourself, not sneaky. If someone snooped through my things I wouldn't trust them again, regardless of whether or not they feel they were justified in their actions or what they found out.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
    • Truefax

      @Ml so you told on her to her mommy? What's worse is it worked? Very childish.

      Leave her before you knock her up. Best advice I could give any married man.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
  8. dbny

    If you can't trust your partner without searching through their e-mail, then it is already too late. You don't build a foundation of trust through snooping. The author seems to think that you shouldn't keep anything secret in a relationship...but he advocates snooping. So that's how you eliminate secrets with your partner – by secretively snooping on them?

    October 14, 2010 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      Yes, it is. My partner was unable to work on the problems in our relationship because she was diverting all her energy into this emotional affair. When I rooted out that affair in dramatic fashion and made the details available to her parents and friends, she was humiliated into committing to make our relationship work. By shining the light of day on the secret, she suddenly imposed her own moral standards (and those of others) on her activities and intentions, and she became a changed woman. She apologized, kicked a very confused male mistress out of her life (it took a little extra "prodding" from me to make him go away completely but that's another story), and immersed herself in us. From that moment on she discovered how wonderful our relationship could be and to this day she thanks the Lord that her delusions were dispelled.

      October 14, 2010 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko


      Wow.. How much did you have to beat, threaten, humiliate, or otherwise force her to get that outcome?

      Personally I would have dumped your ass unless I was somehow dependent on you or you were threatening to make sure my life was ruined if I left you. It is always kinda sad when scum is rewarded for its behavior.....

      October 14, 2010 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • Don


      What do you know about it? Some women get caught up with some real scumbags doing some incredibly demeaning things, and they live in this fantasy land where they think they're in luuuuvvv. They have to think that because it's the only way they can justify the horrible thing they're doing - hurting their family, their spouse, not to mention the perverted, demeaning affair sex.

      Yeah, sometimes they need to be humiliated before they snap out of this stupidity. Same goes for men.

      It's NOT OK to cheat. It destroys lives - for what? Delusional sex where two broken people use each other for pathetic emotional validation and escape from their real lives and responsibilities.

      October 14, 2010 at 18:59 | Report abuse |
  9. Chloe

    Wow, this guy's good.
    "what they’re really trying to protect is their right to secrecy"
    This explanation hits the nail on the head and gives needed words to what someone feels but can't quite explain.

    October 14, 2010 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Michael

    I used the same rhetoric to defend my snooping into my wife's emotional affair with an ex. She tried to play the privacy card, and I told her that what she really demanded was "secrecy" not privacy. I downloaded a free keystroke logger onto my laptop (which she occasionally uses to check her work email) and used it to recover her username and password to her work email. There I found a month's worth of sexting and a plot to rendezveau, which I of course interrupted in glorious fashion. Now her ex, a Navy veteran and ex-boxer, ran out of her life upon learning my plans to cut him off - permanently. My incursion was initially greeted with resentment but in the long run it earned me a bravado that saved our marriage.

    October 14, 2010 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      Micheal you do realize she is probably doing the same thing with another man just not using you laptop and is using a new email address that you will never figure out

      October 14, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • CeeCee

      Ok I'm sorry but I have to reply to your posts. So your wife was cheating by sexting an ex and was actually planning to meet him. Then you tell her family and friends to "humiliate" her and then she saw the evil of her ways and ran back to you? So you snoop on her and she gets caught this time so you feel like a hero and want her back?? Crazy. Get some self esteem and kick her to the curb. She will do it again. She is claiming "delusion" only because she got caught and for that reason only.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
    • dbny

      So you fought a guy (or threatened to), so that you could keep the girl that was cheating on you (or arranging to)? I'm not sure that's a win. You should have met them at the rondevous with her bags packed, handed everything to the other guy, and told him good luck with her.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
    • Tibet

      If you do not have any kids, then kick her to the curb my man!! Think how much you will resent her infraction in ten years. When you are mad at her you will think of the things that she was going to do to her ex, and it will make you way more mad. You will constantly try to keep her from others by "heroically?" spying on her, and it will drive her to do it again.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
    • Tibet

      It is strange that you place the blame on the guy. He owes you nothing.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      So, you stole her password and logged on to her employer's email system as her so you could read her messages? Do you realize that that is a crime? I work in IT and have seen people terminated for abusing their access to computer systems. I have also removed key loggers like the one you used from systems owned by my employer, planted by jealous husbands. You could have been prosecuted for that. Keep your integrity, leave the wife. In the long run, she's not worth it.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
  11. Kay

    I once caught an old boyfriend "cheating by email" when he used my computer. He sent sextages to five different women while I slept late one morning. Yes, I had suspicions and he gave me the usual line about how I was just paranoid. On a whim, after he left, I went through the history on my pc and he (stupidly) forgot to log out of his email. Boy, was I glad to have proof that I was not crazy, he was just a liar.
    In a later relationship, I found myself to, in fact, be paranoid due to that experience. Always questioning my bf and eventually, once he got on my cell phone plan, snooping into his phone call records. I was wrong, he was loyal and my snooping proved it. We are now married and I NEVER question his fidelity and he NEVER gives me a reason so I have no desire to snoop.
    Snooping is really just a way to confirm what you already know.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Durine

    Guys cant win. If were not sleeping with someone else where to good of friends. I think that emotional cheating happens, but its not something a guy should be ashamed of. If he turns to another person (guy or girl btw, being good friends with the same sex shouldnt get special rules you homophobes) then thats a big indicator that his current relationship isnt ment to last. Though it is a bit hippocritical because girls has those gal pals that they share everything with, and i have to fight to find out when simple things are happening like her period. Unless these women have a monopolopy on keeping secrets things they think are gross and dont want the other to know about.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Michael

    "Micheal you do realize she is probably doing the same thing with another man just not using you laptop and is using a new email address that you will never figure out."

    I used to feel just like you do and came close to walking out on her for good. I thought I had burned my bridges in exposing her affairs to her parents and friends, but as it turns out, she beseeched me to stay in the marriage, and she has been a changed woman ever since. She knows that if she were to ever get caught again, she would lose the respect of everyone whose respect she wants. But she actually has no interest in other men. I could tell from all the ways she has changed - all the ways she is now invested in our marriage where she wasn't invested before. And these are things you just can't fake. I gave her a reason to WANT to see the marriage succeed and now the marriage is successful. Each day since I raided her account 9 months ago has been the happiest day of my life. What more can I ask for?

    October 14, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MT

      Michael- I read all of your replies on here and really admire your outlook on your situation.
      I went through something similar. Unfortunately, I didn't immediately act on my suspicions. I thought what everyone else on here is saying...if I really love and trust my wife, I shouldn't snoop. Because of that thought, my marriage was severely damaged. By the time I finally decided to check into the situation, a full sexual affair had been happening for 12 solid months. It was the most devastating thing to experience. I think most people who disagree with the article have not had to endure something like this.
      After many long talks and counseling sessions, my wife and I have reconciled and are working on rebuilding the marriage. She agreed to deactivate her Facebook account and gave me access to her email, etc. It has nothing to do with controlling your spouse and everything to do with honesty and transparency. It is still very painful for me to talk about and yes, there are times I wonder if it could happen again. But I don't believe in the saying "if she did it once, she'll do it again." I can see that she is a new and changed woman. With the support of her friends and family (who she told herself), she can remain accountable and focus on us now. My loyalty and love for her has made her realize just how special this relationship is.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
    • OnceBurnedTwiceShy

      @MT – Good luck with that. I was in the same situation. Let me tell you though... if they are going to cheat, they are going to cheat and there is no way to stop it.

      There are 100 different websites to get new and creative email addresses that they don't have to share with you.
      Alternate FB pages shared with just "special friends". Social networking like "SmallWorlds" and "SecondLife" where they can "meet up".
      Skype shows no record of phone calls.

      If there is a will, there is a way.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
    • SF

      Michael...you sound like a controlling jerk....

      Men cheat because they are men, and can't help themselves....women cheat if they are not emotionally satisfied. You need to acknowledge your role in your wife's behavior.

      October 14, 2010 at 22:23 | Report abuse |
    • Bugsy

      So put another way: "Men cheat because they're insufferable pigs; Women cheat because they are poor suffering victims".
      So we should admire whorish behavior in women, and put them up on a high pedestal. In that case, I'd like to nominate my estranged wife as Queen.

      October 15, 2010 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
  14. Manolo

    Snooping is a breach of trust by the person doing the snooping.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. MsZ

    My fiance suggested that I read this article and I really enjoyed it. There were so many good points that I could relate to. That being said, I don't particularly care for the word "snoop" but I do agree with transparency in marriage.

    I have all my fiances codes and he has mine. There is never anything to hide and that makes us both very comfortable. So comfortable in fact, we don't feel the need to "check" each others email accts etc. By no means does this mean that we are not private people. On the contrary, I am about as private as they come BUT I don't keep secrets from my fiance.

    I believe when people say that they must have their privacy it can make their partner feel like they are hiding something.

    Case in point, I know someone who had an emotional affair that became a sexual affair...and it all started on the internet. Which is the very reason why my fiance had me read the article lol.

    All in all, I believe marriage and serious relationships should be held at a higher standard. Privacy is one thing but when there are things that MUST be kept secret in order to protect your relationship or your partner, a line has seriously been crossed. Yay for honesty and transpareny 😉

    October 14, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Michael

    "So you fought a guy (or threatened to), so that you could keep the girl that was cheating on you (or arranging to)? I'm not sure that's a win. You should have met them at the rondevous with her bags packed, handed everything to the other guy, and told him good luck with her."

    That would have felt good in the short term. Believe me - I thought about that. How delicious that would have been. But when you love someone as I do her, I looked at the long term possibilities, and boy did that decision pay off. I would have missed the happiest days of my life if I went the route of revenge/vindication.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CeeCee

      Once a cheater always a cheater.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      CeeCee, that has got to be one of the most STUPID and UNTRUE of all phrases. You must be 16 years old if you actually believe that. What a ghetto phrase that is. Really.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • Valeriy

      You don't fight with the other guy. You fight for a girl. At the end of the day, no matter how much you beat that guy up, it's the girl who makes up her mind. So, the other guy isn't that much of a thread after all and isn't so much of a competition. It's you against yourself.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
    • Ex

      CeeCee is correct. My exhusband had an affair with a coworker, divorced me and married her. Nearly 12 years later, out of the blue, the woman calls me at home to APOLOGIZE for taking my husband! Why? Because she caught him cheating with other women and "didn't realize" how much it could hurt the wife and children! Give me a break. What did she expect? She married a man who was a cheater – he cheated on me to be with her. Maybe she wasn't as "special" as he led her to believe. Once a cheater, always a cheater. It's like an addiction – it can't be changed by wishing it away but maybe it can be treated.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
    • CeeCee

      Valerie let me take a wild guess here: You are the girl who does all the cheating so you are trying to justify your actions in your own mind? Why get so offensive over anothers opinion? Once a cheater always a cheater....you'll do it again. People like you need the attention you obviously didnt get growing up.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • dgatwood

      Although it's not strictly true that "once a cheater, always a cheater", it is frequently true. The fact is, Michael, you got lucky. Go buy a lottery ticket.

      If you really want to know if your significant other is likely to cheat, get to know his/her ex-girlfriends/ex-boyfriends before you marry him/her. Find out why the relationship ended. If you start to see a pattern, don't marry the person.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
  17. Valerie

    Using the words "my privacy" toward your spouse should be a HUGE red flag.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dbny

      Snooping should be an even bigger red flag. I have never cheated on my wife. So she doesn't snoop on me (as far as I know), and so I don't ever have to use the words "my privacy." If your spouse is snooping, then you are doing something to make them suspicious, or they are a nut job. Either way, it is a sign of a larger problem.

      I don't want to read my wife's e-mails. I trust that she is not cheating on me. I also know that I am not perfect, and there may be days where she needs to vent to her friends about her idiot husband. I don't want to read those e-mails. I would rather she told me directly to my face when she is ready to talk, and with words that were meant for me.

      October 14, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
  18. Jennifer

    Guess I am glad my husband is computer illiterate!

    October 14, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ObammaAlabamaSlamma

      Thanks for posting, Jennifer, we'll be alerting Tom of your activities shortly.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
  19. schmacka lacka

    Craziness! My hubbie doesn't need to have access to my occasional email rants about his nutty behavior to my friends. If I'm stupid enough to cheat, then shame on me...ah, never mind, there are so many cheaters out there that I actually see the point of this article. Kind of. What a mess...

    October 14, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. AGeek

    Ian sounds like an incredibly insecure person in a very unstable, immature relationship. I'm a happily married, monogamous male. I have friends who are female. I have friends who are male. I have friends who are turkeys (literally). Having a friendship with a person of the opposite sex is a completely normal, healthy, balanced behavior.

    If my only insight into women were via my wife, how could I possibly be a good husband and know what a rational, reasonable range of behavior is?!

    Seriously, Ian sounds like a uptight, immature, insecure person who needs to grow into a healthy adult before handing out advice.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Neeneko

    Ah, the old, 'if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide, and thus do not need privacy!' argument.

    Lieing is a violation of trust. So is snooping. Pretending one is ethical under the idea that the other MIGHT have happened is just a way for someone justifying their own unethical behavior. Some of this sounds downright co-dependent... asserting the 'right' for your partner to not have an independent life.. asserting a right to know everything, and then claiming that something is 'wrong' with the relationship if partners respect each other's boundaries and existences as individuals. I guess only the 'married gestalt' is supposed to be healthy....

    The worst part is, this article seems to actually justify and encourage paranoia, including calling your partner having an issue with your paranoia a 'warning sign' that you were right all along? Kinda.. disturbing.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sasha

      Nail on the head, my friend.
      If talking to your partner doesn't work, if your partner avoids communication with you, you have bigger problems. Snooping is not a solution. Sometimes, two people are simply not a good match; move on.

      October 14, 2010 at 18:34 | Report abuse |
  22. kat

    My husband and I both have social sites and he is still has his ex's on his IM. They IM him on occasion to say hi. He will say oh, guess who I heard from today. I don't worry at all. While I would not put it past his ex to try to get him back, he says and shows me that what we have is far better than what he ever had with her. My husband spends A LOT to time on the computer, but in his defense he is a software engineer and loves technology. However, I can walk in and he never minimizes anything. I think it all comes down to what type of relationship you have and how you communicate. I talk to my man all time we discuss everything.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Henry Plantagenet

    You really need to make provision for UN-healthy relationships. There are many abused wives who need internet safety and privacy so they can set up safety plans and escape plans; meanwhile their abusive husbands justify their controlling behavior and their snooping by claiming, on no evidence whatsoever, that their wives are cheating on them. A lot of women out there need privacy, not to cheat but to escape safely. Telling these women that there is no such thing as privacy in a marriage is potentially dangerous.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Auloria

      This was exactly my concern. It's hard to know from the onset whether a relationship will be abusive. If you start with strong privacy rules, you can avoid these kinds of issues, and have some kind of way to deal with them. You can always relax the rules later, and once you do, your significant other is less likely to abuse your trust because they know how important privacy is.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • A

      As a woman who escaped such a situation...I completely understand your point. HOWEVER....if these women are trying to set up and execute an exit plan over the internet...they are going about it all wrong. There are shelters. If it is THAT dangerous...call the cops....go to a shelter. Do it right. Trust me. Been there...done that...the WRONG way out of fear. 2 years in the process of trying to get it fixed the way it should have been. If it is that dangerous, secrecy will only compromise their safety more. SHELTERS. COPS. PERIOD.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
    • Henry Plantagenet

      A - you are correct in that it is best to avoid setting up safety plans on the home computer if possible, but sometimes a woman will need to use that computer, particularly if the abuser is also monitoring or limiting her movements. At the very least, she will want to go through her emails, files and other stuff on the home computer, to make sure she has left nothing there that will set the abuser off.

      October 14, 2010 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  24. guy

    We have a turd in the punchbowl. I repeat, we have a turd in the punchbowl.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Josey

    "Once a cheater always a cheater is not necessarily true". People can change, and deserve second chances

    October 14, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Manolo

      If someone has been involved even in one ongoing affair or has cheated more than once, under any circumstances, I think it is safe to say that person will always be a cheater and is very likely to cheat again.

      October 14, 2010 at 18:53 | Report abuse |
  26. Dannon

    My girlfriend occasionally breaks into my accounts but I dont mind. If I were being a jerk I guess I would be up in arms. I understand why she does it as well. She was burned this way and I caught my ex wife having an affair this way. I think its a bit of peace of mind reassuring that we made the right choice and that we still havent been burned.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Shana

    The hypocrisy in all this is that snooping is a breach of trust as well. Relationships need room to breathe. Not every relationship is equal and most people have lots of baggage they bring into relationships. Relationships need room to breathe and grow or else you smother them. The truth is, and many don't want to admit it, that it's okay to have friendships, even deep friendships, with people other than your spouse or significant other. Flirtation is normal.

    Yes, there is a danger of not knowing the line. But, that is for each individual to figure out himself. I disagree with someone who said better to 'snoop' than be a 'fool'. I believe that by snooping you become the fool. Getting hurt by another doesn't make us foolish, it makes us better people and stronger. It makes us unfortunate. But, someone hurting us doesn't make us the fool. Snooping is an indication that trust is gone. And, by that point, you should have gotten out of the relationship. It seems like some sort of 'God complex' to think that we can possibly be the only person our loved ones confide in, lean on, and have fun with – which, in my experience, tends to be what the idea of the 'emotional affair' is based on.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Perskaya

      "Flirtation is normal."

      I think by using the word "normal" you mean "healthy" or "commonplace".

      It might be easy, it might be common, but it isn't healthy, and it isn't smart. Not if you are in a closed relationship.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
  28. john

    The internet just gives people another avenue to interact with people. As did the inventions of cellphones, computers and instant messaging. If someone goes on and starts an emotional affair online, than obviously something was already wrong at home. I think the biggest problem is people these days don't put forth the effort that is needed to sustain a relationship. They become to complacent after a period of time and just suspect their significant other to know they love them. You need to show you love someone in all aspects, emotionally and physically. And when I say physically i'm not just talking intercourse. I'm talking cuddling and all that good jazz. Not that I'm saying cheating is ok but how about people actually start trying for a chance instead of putting the blame on new advancements in technology.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Remy730

    In the military, we had this saying, "NCO's don't expect, we inspect." Meaning, it was our duty to go through every detail with a fine tooth comb to make sure everyone is together and on the up and up. Which is one reason, I'm not in any more. I have better, thing to do with my time and energy than look over the shoulder of another adult to ensure they are doing what they are suppose to. Seriously, if you need to snoop, do you have the relationship you think you have? If you need to take time and resources from other areas of your life and devote it to keeping your s/o on the straight and narrow, is it really worth it? What's done in the dark will eventually come into the light. There's no need to stress about it. If you have the urge to babysit your s/o, maybe just maybe it's YOU that are driving them to do things that you find reprehensible.

    October 14, 2010 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • john

      Amen Remy! People waste too much of their times wondering "is he/ or is she?". Life is too short as it is. Live life and be happy. Show the person your with every day that you appreciate and care for them. If they decide to cheat in the end, they don't deserve your time. Obviously it will hurt but at least in the end you know you gave it your all.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
  30. dbny

    For those of you that don't believe in any privacy in a relationship – do you record all of your casual conversations when you are out with your friends, then play them back for your spouses? It's nice to have a conversation (or email exchange) without anyone else listening – even if the content is nothing inappropriate.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Auloria

      Wow! That is creepy.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
    • dbny

      If you read your spouses e-mails, that is also pretty rude to their friends that sent them. If I write an email to my friend asking him if he knows how to get rid of a crotch rash, I don't want his wife reading that. I sent a private e-mail to him. You are invading the privacy of more than one person when you start snooping in those emails.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
  31. OKx3

    "But before you snoop or dig around, ask yourself a few questions:"

    Hahaha, the first of the three leaves several people open to investigation. What chaps me more are relatives and friends that list their relationship status "generically" or do not list it at all. Meanwhile the husband or wife has one of the other listed, as in "in a relationship with" but the other does not. If you're married or dating someone exclusively, there's no harm in linking to them (or is there). Leaving it blank seems to be leaving room for opportunity, unless there are security concerns.

    On another note I watch my daughter and her boyfriend interact; he can touch her iPhone to "play games" but she can't touch his Blackberry for any reason. Is that suspicious? You bet it is but she trusts him and isn't too concerned, so I am not too concerned.

    Above all, articles like this incite more issues than they help to resolve. If you're going to stray, you're going to stray. If you're not, you don't. If someone is trying to get you to stray and you fall for it, you are weak-willed and weak-minded anyway. Also, TV commercials like Zoosk and MyLife promote this kind of behavior, even suggesting in their ads that you "should" go look for a former lover or someone to have fun with.

    You want my advice? Put the phone down, shut off the PC and grab each other's hands and go for a walk. The internet is the devil. Hahahahaha.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Angelique

    If you're at the point where you feel like your partner might be hiding something & you should inspect their computer, then you've already got your answer. No need to add salt to the burgeoning wound. If you feel that your partner is not telling you the whole truth, that they're being secretive, then your marriage is already in trouble & you've got a communication breakdown. Try spending more time with him/her, encourage them to be with you & not the internet...

    October 14, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Auloria

    Privacy isn't about being able to hide what you've done wrong. It's about protecting you from those who would abuse that power. The same is true of relationships.
    I have seen a strong correlation between those who demand full access and those who are controlling, and even abusive. The right to privacy always comes before the right to a "security blanket".

    October 14, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. jjj

    I am amazed at all the cheaters out there, Im thin and pretty but I cant find one good man let alone several!! People having multiple relationships – cheaters have always have baffled me! 🙂

    October 14, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tibet

      NEWS FLASH!! Cheaters are not good men or women. Go where guys are. Try cross fit, sports bars, pubs. Ask a guy out. Try onlline dating. Get in shape.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
    • Auloria

      Haha... No kidding, cheaters suck. They need to share with the people who actually need the relationship! 0:-)

      October 14, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
  35. C.C.

    Let me guess, this was written by a woman..

    ... with an over romanticized and unrealistic notion that ‘everything’ must be made available and transparent to their partners. Please. Says who? I don’t condone deceitful activity but people need their privacy and their freedom of individuality.

    I think that is on the major factors why most relationships don’t work. People are mislead into a false reality of what a relationship should be since they were a toddler, and then they wonder what happened and why they would ‘be better off alone’ when it doesn't work out. Why don’t YOU define what your relationship should be rather than read crap like this or follow what you were told.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jimmy

      I'd say you guessed wrong. (hint: the writer's name is posted under the article)

      October 14, 2010 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
    • Perskaya


      Busted stereotyping, LOL...

      October 14, 2010 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
  36. pam

    My boyfriend's ex-wife is a perfect example of this article. That's why she's his ex now!

    October 14, 2010 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. John

    I don't mind leaving my email open and my wife does know all my passwords fo rmy accounts cause I dont feel I have anything to hide. My problem is if she is starting to dig though my emails as if she WANTS to find something. To me I always believe that if your partner is trying to catch you cheating, then she is cheating on you....and visa versa. In my case it turned ou tto be correct on my suspician. Turned out one day she was in the shower and her cellphone went off with a text one day and I was goign to take it to her when the screen I noticed it was from my brother with the first couple lines of "I wish I was inside you again"....talk about a kick in the nuts. Needless to say we got divorced and she had my family convinced that I was the cause of the divorce. Gotta love it.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Smilee

    From my own personal experience, I'd say to never ever stop communicating. I should have noticed at first when my ex was being territorial about his cellphone and wouldn't let me see his laptop, and putting passwords on his laptop that I didn't know. Over seven years, we both used each other's phones and computers interchangably–whomever's was closer was used. In the last year of our relationship, I knew of a new female friend from work, but didn't think anything of it since he had plenty of other female friends, and I'd never doubted his fidelity. I wish I had trusted my gut and said something when it could have been addressed–instead of flying off the handle the way I did, which only started the downward spiral to what had been a good thing. In the end, I'm better for it now–I don't know if I would have been able to fully trust him again had we stayed together. However, I know going forward that it's going to take longer for me to trust a guy than it was before.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Peter

    Tough subject. I think the fundamental problem is the wiring . . . I just don't think humans are wired for complete monogamy. I think this equally true for men and women, although I think the situation changes for women once they have children. I think it's a choice. The brain stem is the brain stem.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Y2 Consulting Psychologists

    Very pertinent topic!
    As a clinical psychologist, I often have individuals consulting me for internet infidelity. I was quite interested in the topic and actually wrote a few blogs on the infidelity and facebook and on fear of commitment in today's world. Read articles on: http://y2cp-poppsy.blogspot.com.
    Yaniv Benzimra, Ph.D.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • it happened

      .. So.. I am the other woman over the internet... why... I ask myself a million times a week... and all I can say is.... I love him too

      October 14, 2010 at 21:57 | Report abuse |
  41. Karl

    People need to get over the infidelity issue. It's not a matter of who does, it is a matter of when will that person want to do it. Men will always cheat, and those who don't will always want to. Take an evolutionary psych course if it makes you feel better, but the point is that it is genetically engineered for men to want sex. Women are the reason monogamy exists; they implicitly know that the child "need" greater developmental influences and protection than can be provided by a single parent. However, given the influence of new technology, such developmental short comings can be easily circumvented in todays society. The day all people are free to have sex with who they want, whenever they want (given it's consensual and not socially undesirable), is the day the world will take a huge step forward in revolutionary thought and intrinsic regulation. More and more people are starting to see the triviality of marriage, and, hopefully soon, more people will see the triviality of monogamy.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Y2 Consulting Psychologists

      Given your comments - am curious to know what do you think of the blog piece i wrote on fear of commitment ?: http://y2cp-poppsy.blogspot.com/2010/08/fearing-commitment-i-dont-blame-you.html.
      Dr. Yaniv Benzimra.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:22 | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      Your article sounds like a typical explanation for failures in marriage, no offense. I believe the problem has less to do with effort or commitment, and more to do with the man's unwillingness to see the act as self-regulated. The high divorce rate is not a result of a newly found level of cognitive processing; it is the result of social acceptance in regard to divorce. In other words, divorce rates have gradually increased as the result of a decrease in the behaviors social undesirability factor. I'm sure commitment may play a part, but the underlying principle is that monogamy does not satisfy a humans organismic needs, and, therefore, diminishing the desire to commit. For instance, in studies using primates it was shown that male primates would be monogamous only to the extent that the female would repel other females from coming into contact with the male. Biologically, monogamy is only beneficial to a child's development, that of which is simplified in today's society. Moreover, it is clearly evident that over 95% of all species are not monogamous. For those species that are monogamous, it is usually a result of advanced social dynamics, not necessarily intrinsic choice.

      In all, I think your article is a good way of appeasing the human wish that marriage is how much you put into it (and therefore a matter of controllability). However, like many other practicing clinical psychologists, you do not explain the science and underlying reasons why commitment to such an act is not self-regulating, and, therefore, uncontrollable.

      -Doctor of Clinical Neuropsychology and Social Psychology

      October 14, 2010 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      BS. Women didn't invent monogamy, men did. If men could have as many women as they wanted, when they wanted, there wouldn't be enough WOMEN to go around.

      If I have to share a man, I will pick the richest and most powerful.

      That is why only rich and powerful men get ALL the women.

      Monogamy ENSURES most men have a chance at having a woman of their own.

      But nice little story about how men are wired to stick it in anythinbg with three holes.

      It was amusing!

      October 14, 2010 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
    • Perskaya

      If evolution proves that males must cheat, then why are there monogamous animals?

      October 14, 2010 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • Sasha

      Karl, sorry but men invented monogamy, not women. Specifically, the Catholic Church (a male dominated organization). It was also said church that indoctrinated us to believe that cheating is wrong; a so-called "sin".
      As to the "hardwired to cheat" argument; I just don't know. We are an advanced social structure, some have even stated that we are the "most intellegent" animal on this planet; so to use "lower intellegent animals" as comparison just doesn't wash. The biggest problem for me with the hardwired to cheat argument is that it sounds like "well, just accept it, you can't change it, it's in our genes". Specifically, not so long ago (in historic time, not "real" time), women were married and had kids as young as 12/13/14 years of age; so, in effect, it would be "hardwired" for men to have sex with minors and yet we punish this impulse. It's a bit like taking one piece of information and looking at it out of context.

      October 14, 2010 at 18:48 | Report abuse |
  42. Help

    Hey guys. would you visit SaveStan.ORG, a friend of mine with 4 babies is fighting for his life.... Thanks

    October 14, 2010 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Jack

    The information superhighway (invented by Al Gore) has become the fornication super highway (created by Bill Clinton). Actually, in Clinton's case it's more like the "fellatio" super highway.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. PW

    It is true: if a mate gets away with something once, they'll do it again. Why? Because they didn't get caught, never had to pay a penalty, and feel no remorse. This is not harsh, it is reality. It is true for both men and women.

    Trust your gut. If you sense something is wrong, it probably is.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. rocky55

    I had been dating my now fiancee for just under a month when she went to LA with friends. She had drunken intercourse with a guy they were partying with. I found out through a message on facebook to her from him a few months later because she left her facebook open and i looked. its now almost 2 years later we are engaged and have a young son together. She claims it was because our relationship was so new but she would never do it again ebcause our bond too strong now. Part of me believes her but another part finds it so hard to trust even after all this time (no other evidence or indication of infidelity since then). What are your opinions on this? Am i stupid to trust her or is it possible that it was a one time mistake?

    October 14, 2010 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Y2 Consulting Psychologists

      Though to deal with infidelity! Trust is the key piece in a relationship and while it takes years to build it can be lost within minutes!
      There is no predicting whether she will cheat again or not and you cannot control her every behaviour either - but if she did you would eventually find out one way or another. Instead, focus on having fun with your mate and on making her focus on you! I wrote a few articles on relationships on my blog - feel free to read them: http://y2cp-poppsy.blogspot.com/.
      I also wrote on called: whats love got to do with it : What's love got to do with it? How online flirting destroys relationships.
      Hope that helps!
      Yaniv Benzimra, Ph.D.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
    • Auloria

      You need to talk to her about how you feel, and work through it so that you can trust her, or you'll ruin your relationship whether she cheats again or not.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
    • torocky

      You're stupid. Sorry.

      October 14, 2010 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
    • rocky55

      weve talked quite extensively about it...it was almost 2 years ago. We have gone through alot together since then and she has been quite loving and devoted. I know for a fact she felt serious remourse and self loathing over the issue and it seems as though she honestly regrets that poor drunken decision. I just keep hearing the phrase "once a cheater always a cheater" in my head and I just feel like if she did it once (even though our relationship was brand new) why wont she do it again??

      October 14, 2010 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
    • rocky55

      haha maybe I am stupid but we now have a son and a life together so I guess I have to make it work or risk losing my family and the potential for a great future together (the three of us). I just want to know if anyone feels that its possible for a one time mistake like this to truly be one time or if it will inevitably happen again. I just need some first hand experience or advice because I just dont know...

      October 14, 2010 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • IceT

      Don't force yourself to maintain a relationship for your childs sake. You will always have this cancer in your relationship & it will grow or fester until you crash and burn. What will your child learn from a bad relationship. Let you and your child live knowing a happier relationship.

      October 14, 2010 at 16:59 | Report abuse |
    • MT

      No, I don't believe "once a cheater, always a cheater". But I do think you have to gauge your reaction (or your choices) based on her remorse. If she were to laugh at the experience or brush it off like it was no big deal, then you have every reason to be worried. However, you said she shows remorse. You said she is truly sorry and knows it was a bad decision. If that is the case, she definitely deserves a second chance...which you've given her. Now she needs to continually prove her dedication to you. If she is consistently showing you that she is 100% in this relationship, then put your all into it too. Try not to focus on the past or what could happen. You could end up sabotaging something great. And of course, talk. Bring it up when you need to. Tell her your concerns and how it effects your everyday thoughts. She should be wiling to talk with you and help you through them.
      Sooo.....I think you've made a good decision. Be cautious, but don't over-think things! By the way...I'm talking to myself too. All of this applies to me in my own situation. So I know how difficult it can be!

      October 15, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
  46. Robin

    I caught my husband first posting his profile on facebook and then registering as single on match.com. From there he started posting on the adult site at craig list. From craig's list he hit every available sex site he could get his hands on. All of was discovered within a two week period. I started digging deeper into his past only to find out that while he was stationed in Germany with his first wife during the gulf war, he was paying prostitutes instead of going home to his wife and three daughters. I guess my point is that people rarely tell you about their dark side and by the time you discover who they really are it's probably too late. The internet is just another tool that people who cheat use.

    I agree you should snoop if you think there is a problem. If your partner is willing to put your health at risk by sleeping with other individuals that they may have met on line, don't you have a right to know...to protect yourself since they are only looking out for themselves. You lose the right to privacy when you engage in behavior that can physically, financially and emotionally hurt your partner.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Chuck

    If your on Facebook, your looking for the past, you feel like your missing something, you want to "connect" with old friends (BS). Facebook or something similar to it will and is destroying marriages.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. kazz

    good grief ...

    October 14, 2010 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Patsy

    The only time this is a worry is when there is something seriously wrong in a relationship. If both are loving, supportive, sexual, and kind, this "snooping" will never be an issue. No one strays from something good and fulfillling.

    October 14, 2010 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. 000000

    Ok, To all of you. You're Him/her should not have to look at you're email... If you love them a lot you should trust that they are not cheating on you, you should NOT have to snoop!

    October 14, 2010 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply to mikey in TX


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.