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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 (358 Responses)
  1. IceT

    Don't take this type of relationship lightly. A healthy long term relationship is mostly emotional & psychological. Internet infidelity is a real connection between 2 very real people, it's not like your relationship with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue!

    October 14, 2010 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. boot

    If my wife wants to go through my email and facebook, have fun dating your new hacker boyfriend, cuz gtfo. Nothing to hide is the entitlement to invasion of privacy.

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

      Is not" the entitlement

      October 14, 2010 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
  3. Shawn

    Hi Scared,

    You're arguments about privacy that is allowed to exist between you and a friend or family member are exactly what I also posted. Giving up that privacy is also giving up the privacy of another person. Even though we are married, we are individuals who are entitled to a level of privacy. You're comments about the interception of an actual letter made me laugh, as this is exactly what happened early in our marriage (back in the 80's) and was when I first had this conversation with my wife in a non-internet age. I had to let her know that letters from my family or even friends are not her property to open. They are a trusted communication between me and another, which I will most likely share with her, but which may contain personal information that the friend doesn't want to share with others. In my case, the information is primarily medical or financial information that a family member wanted to share or obtain advice on.

    I do disagree with your statement that people under the age of 30 don't view the computer/laptop/cell phone/internet as tools to to spy on their partners. I'm happy that you two do not, but peoples' motivations have not changed and they sure as heck do use technology to spy on their partners. I agree it's foolish, but I also realize that people of all ages do this. If anything, the younger generation who grew up using the tech are likely to be more adept at knowing how to do this.

    Regarding your observation that most people in their 40's or 50's are in their 2nd or 3rd relationship, this is a generalization that doesn't add anything to the argument. In my case, my wife and I have been together since '84 , since we were 18 and 20 years old. We perhaps beat the odds (getting married young and having kids young). We are in our 40's now (with 3 kids and 1 grandkid). We had a few rough patches, but are doing fine. My sister has also been married this long, as well as my wife's brother. However, I have also seen the marriages of all of our non-family friends but for one end in divorce - some after 15 years of seemingly happy marriages. I have given up predicting who will make it and who will not.

    I do know that even after 26 years together, I cannot take my wife for granted, for that leads to a path of arrogance and pride in one's marriage. Marriage is based on commitment, love, listening, partnering, helping, understanding, tolerance, respect, kindness, nurturing, family, and religion. The exact mix of the above varies from marriage to marriage (and the mix even varies between partners in the marriage). It is not based on pride or insecurity or the silly notion that if we just live a life of 100% transparency in all our actions, thoughts, writings, and communications with others that somehow the marriage will work.\\

    -Shawn

    October 14, 2010 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • scaredofinternet

      My argument regarding people in their 40's being on their second marriage was intended only to show that a strong relationship is a strong relationship, regardless of age. It is totally possible for someone to be in a relationship that lacks trust in your 20's or 40's or 60's. I think Facebook is new (relative scale, last 2 years) to alot of users in their 40's and as a result it brings a new question of ethics to relationships that may have been strained independent of social networking.

      Younger users relationships have always had social networking sites as a variable, and as a result these issues are not new to us. many of us have likely had relationships end as a result of things said/shared on any number of social networks. It is engrained in our understanding of what a relationship is. If someone is in a strong 26-year relationship and they are suddenly faced with social networking and all the old aquantences that come with it, I do not think they are going to have trust issues. You sound fortunate enough to be in that camp. I hope I am still in the same position 20 years from now. Thanks for the feedback.

      October 14, 2010 at 18:27 | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Hey Scared,

      Ah, I understand what you are saying. Strong relationships can happen at all ages. The same goes for insecurity, jealousy, or anger. One would think that all people become less insecure or jealous with age, but it's not necessarily the case.

      If one throws social networks into an established relationship which had not previously had to deal with them, then the individuals may have to adjust to new technology and the intersection of that with their marriage. But if the individuals (younger perhaps) grew up with the technology, then they have already embedded the technology into their lives and it's less of an issue in their marriage.

      I wonder if similar issues occurred with the mass integration of TV into homes in the late 40's and 50's. All of a sudden, spouses who previously spent evenings interacting with one another (or work, or reading, or house chores, or kids etc.) all of a sudden were exposed to a technology which could take them away from their spouses. I think it wasn't too disruptive, as TV could be watched together. But if one spouse becomes enamored with the content of the television and the other did not then it could lead to marriage troubles. Just a random thought.

      -Shawn

      October 14, 2010 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
  4. Sue

    The author is a control freak. A healthy marriage is not a confessional booth. Nor should you have to divulge your every conversation with your partner or spouse. Most healthy adults have numerous relationships with members of both sexes without a hint of impropriety. Anyone as paranoid as the author of this post is transferring their own guilt about infidelity.

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

      Sue – A healthy marriage doesn't include gratuitous snooping. Nor does it include one spouse doing secretive confiding or flirting with a member of the opposite sex (for hetero relationships for example). Infidelity is in the eye of the cheatee. There is one difference... snooping because of bad hunches. It's true, if you suspect foul play, you are very likely right. That gives a bit of justification. This authors arcticle is not about 'healthy' relationshps. I't s about troubled ones.

      October 14, 2010 at 18:02 | Report abuse |
  5. Puptent

    Oh, just get off your high horse and look the other way while your partner has an occasional physical fling. It is the best way to ensure emotional fidelity. Men and women are most often simply seeking variety when they stray. It is not as big of a deal as this article would seem to suggest.

    October 14, 2010 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Yendi

    I'm rather amazed at the cynical responses. My hubby & I have been married 22 years this November. We share the same logbook that holds our pws. Even though we have separate offices one or the other usually moves a laptop in to be with the other. We don't need secrets because we are each other's best friend. When we got married (much to the disapproval of several family members) we decided that it was me & him against the word. And we have kept it that way ever since. We are each other's first line of defense. Not to say we don't have the occasional argument but it is never a trust issue. Happy & contented marriages can and do exist. I know this because I am in one.

    October 14, 2010 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Austin

    I recently ended my marriage over emotional infidelity via the internet, etc. It's DEFINITELY time to snoop. In my opinion, if there's nothing to hide, then there's no problem with snooping. On the other hand, if your spouse is hiding something, then depending on how much you find, or the severity of the implications, then it's time to think about seperation or divorce. In my case, my ex left her facebook open and I DID snoop, and I found evidence of an affair. So I snooped some more, and I found pictures of naked guys in her e-mail, with her responding positively to them, and saying that she just had some baggage to get rid of first. So I snooped some more, and found that she'd been talking to this person for over 70 hours in one month on her cell phone. So I snooped some more and found that she'd sent naked pictures of herself to this person, along with phone sex and "sext" messages. So I decided it was time for a divorce. She was obviously not in love with ME anymore. I haven't read every comment, but had I not snooped, I would still be in a sham of a marriage.

    October 14, 2010 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Prism912

    Forget about her passwords. I just wish she'd give me the PIN number to her bank account! 🙂

    October 14, 2010 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. eric

    What a slimy mind you have! It is NEVER time to snoop into your partner's email etc. Even the CIA shouldn't do it (though they do, of course). If you can't respect your partner enough to grant him / her privacy, you have no chance of a solid relationship.

    Yes, people do find partners for infidelity through the Web. So what? There are also art clubs, political organizations, libraries, museums ... all fertile grounds for philandering spouses to find a partner.

    What good does snooping do? Sometimes sleeping dogs are best let lie. If things are sour in the relationship, snooping won't fix 'em.

    October 14, 2010 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Mikey

    I have no facebook, tweet, or other electronic accounts, except email provided at work and at home from my cable supplier. To me, "staying in touch" is the last thing on my priority list. If I want to speak with friends or family, I call them. When I'm invited, I visit them. The emails I receive are far and few in between and consist mainly of online publications to which I subscribe. All in all, I'd say I spend about 30 minutes (or less) a day on my personal computer at home. I don't own a cell phone; the one I carry belongs to the company that employs me. I received a 50 dollar award not long ago for being the oerson in my work group whose phone expenses were the smallest (my cell phone bill was about $4.50 that month. It usually runs a whopping $6.00.) Crazy, huh?

    Facebook, tweeting, and all other forms of electronic communications are simply a waste of time. There are too many other things to do besides sitting in front of a computer, a television, or a cell phone waiting for a next "fix" of instant gratification. Anyone ever hear of reading a good book? Or going outside and enjoying a beautiful day walking with your spouse or girl friend? How about going on a picnic or traveling to a different country (if you can afford it) and investing in learning about someone else's culture? Did you ever try to go back to school to obtain a better education? (That would be a good thing for all the illiterates who have posted comments here.) If you take offense to the previous sentence, that means you are in the group. Otherwise, you aren't.

    On a separate issue, how many of you have ever been with a person at a restaurant only to experience an awkward situation because that person received a cell phone call that lasted for more than a minute or so? If that ever happened to me, the date ends on the spot. I'll pay my tab and she can pay hers.

    Now, let me preempt some of your responses. For those of you who might believe I lead a boring life because I don't have a facebook account, a tweet account, or some other electronic account, that is simply untrue. I'm just not addicted to the instant gratification process that electronic media brings with its continuous use. I don't need to stay in touch with everyone every moment of the day. If someone wants to get in touch with me, he has my phone number. Or, he can simply tap me on the shoulder.

    With regard to the date, you might say, "Well, what if she received an emergency phone call?" I suppose emergencies do happen, but the likelihood of one occurring while on a date is remote. And remember, I said, " ... more than a minute or so?". If she actually did receive an emergency phone call, I would do whatever I could to help her in any manner. (And, of course, I'd pick up her tab as well.)

    Snooping? No need. My girl friend trusts me and I trust her. If she ever does cheat on me, I suppose one day I'll find out and I'll deal with the problem then. Life is too short to worry about such things. We would much rather enjoy it than find ways to undermine it.

    October 14, 2010 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Mikey

    person, not "oerson". Sorry for the typo.

    October 14, 2010 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mailman

    @ "In a healthy relationship there should be nothing to hide." - This is simply ridiculous, especially the example given of passwords. Internet history is one thing, but some things, like passwords, should be off limits. Passwords are personal. I am certainly not sharing my passwords with anybody, even my life partner; we all need a privacy bubble, even from our spouses. The argument that if somebody wants privacy, it must mean that they're doing something wrong, is a complete fallacy.

    October 14, 2010 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. mikey in TX

    Sorry, but I just didn't have time to wade thru most of the drivel in this post. Possibly I missed something. Bottom line tho – intrusions (ie. snooping, opening other people's mail, etc) are a major, and unforgivable violation of a major reason a couple is a couple. TRUST. If your realtionship lacks that you shouldn't be a couple. It's that simple...So, anyone who thinks its OK to intrude on the other's privacy is either kidding themselves or a downright idiot.

    Have a nice day.

    October 14, 2010 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Joey

    If my wife ever asks me for my smart phone, I will give it to her gladly. Without argument. But I will keep the battery.

    October 14, 2010 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Trent Hamm

    If you're snooping, there's no trust in your relationship anyway, so why are you there? Relationships are based on trust. If you can't trust your partner enough to not dig through their browsing history, what is your relationship, really?

    October 14, 2010 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joey

      You can have trust in your relationship, unfortunately, you can't always trust when someone tells you when they are straying. Especially, if it starts off as "innocent" flirtations- whatever that is.

      October 14, 2010 at 18:15 | Report abuse |
  16. authorsnote

    First, I'm amazed at the sheer volume of responses to this article. It clearly touches on issues affecting many people–an indication of the increased speed in communication and networking available to us.

    One thing that is obvious here is that many people are holding fast to some firm beliefs without acknowledging that this comes down to individuals and the vast diversity in our society. Some men cheat, some women cheat, some have secret emotional relationships which need to be exposed. Sometimes the pain from broken trust can be repaired, sometimes it can't. My spouse reconnected with two old boyfriends through Facebook. It hurt me deeply, but after thirty years of marriage, it would have been wrong to have thrown it all away. My wife and I worked through it and it took a while. Others would not have been able to.

    There are no hard and fast rules as many here might suggest (Cheryl, not all men are going to immediately move on to next cheating situation. At least talk about the issues between you and your partner, and if it works out, then move on. if it doesn't, then you also move on. But, if you are very quick to toss your relationship out the window, then you weren't really ready to commit anyway.

    October 14, 2010 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bugsy

      If you are indeed the author, then bravo for sparking a lively discussion! You should let it runs it's course - wouldn't it be hilarious if this thread spawned some extramarital activity between participants, which then further inflamed the thread?
      B

      October 15, 2010 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
  17. AK

    A "seminal" book on emotional infidelity?

    An appropriate choice of terms... 😉

    October 14, 2010 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. authorsnote

    Addendum–
    Mikey, I admire your resolve to ignore the social networks and need to respond to every new form of communication. Bravo. It seems too often people are measuring the worth of their lives by the amount of friends they accumulate of Facebook.

    October 14, 2010 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. wtf

    After reading comments by duhhhhh
    and geehee--so glad I'm not married! These buffoons give "love" a bad name.

    Sorry ass lies. so sick of hearing these lousy excuses for cheating. "its embedded in their genetic code"-I like to know who your partner is-and why the hell they are buying into this flimsy ass excuse. They should throw you & your worthless bags out the door...

    October 14, 2010 at 18:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Manolo

    If you ask your spouse or partner directly if they are involved in any romantic/sexual/emotional way with someone else (or however you feel comfortable phrasing the question) and the answer is no, and you then feel the need to snoop, that means you do not trust your spouse/partner and it also means that you are untrustworthy because you are violating trust by snooping.

    I agree with those who have said that if you have to snoop, you should not be in that relationship.

    October 14, 2010 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Trust killer

    There is NEVER a right time to snoop. My wife read my emails without permission and, while I had nothing to hide, it betrayed my trust in her. If you don't trust someone it is more to do with your own feeling of inferiority than in your mate's reliability. I became less willing to share with her and it drove a wedge in our relationship that took years to overcome. Don't snoop. If your relationship is so fragile that you have do that you may as well pack it in.

    October 14, 2010 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Davette

    ... my hubby doesnt have my passwords to anything......because he doesnt care.. He knows I am not going to do anything to undermine our relationship so its a non issue... besides, if he wanted to see all my facebook crap I would only be embarrassed because its so boring.. *L*

    October 14, 2010 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. aroundtheworld

    Is this obsession with openness and "no secrets" and trying to brand behavior as unforgivable "cheating" working? Well, I dont think so. The key is that we now live in a society of disposable sexual relationships. As long as you do it before you "cheat" first, its OK to "end the relationship," i.e., desert your current lover/wife/husband. Its fine to urge women to leave their husbands for sending a secret email message or peaking at a "forbidden website," but are you going to comfort them when they join the millions of middle-aged, overweight and very lonely single mothers who have little prospect of getting anyone, much less anyone better, and in the mean time have deprived their children of a full-time father.

    October 14, 2010 at 19:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • You pig

      Sexist rotten pig, I hope you find someone who cheats on you and leaves your sick a$$

      October 14, 2010 at 21:04 | Report abuse |
  24. thinkingman

    Women confuse their men's interest in other women with how they would feel if they were interested in another man - which is pure betrayal. A normal woman has no desire for an extramarital fling. Women seek another man when they want to leave their marriages - its a rejection of their mate. On the other hand, men are by nature polygamous - even if they love their current sexual partner, they still can desire and love other women. So it is against nature for the man to have eyes for only one woman, but can be done. Just like a woman can stay and love her man when he is a financial failure, or otherwise a disappointment, even if she wants to leave for better prospects. We expect the man resist his biggest temptation and focus only on her, but we let the woman off the hook with her biggest temptation, which is deserting her unsuccessful husband in the search for a more successful one, or just to be on her own.

    October 14, 2010 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • spikette

      when you men talk like this, it really shows your insecurity as much as you think it is the opposite. the stroking and carressing your ego is so evident. women screw around as much as men. they do it for all kinds of reason, same as men. there really is not a lot of difference between the genders. it is more in the character. but keep telling yourself these stories.

      October 15, 2010 at 01:31 | Report abuse |
  25. maria k

    Okay, I'll try to make this short. I have NEVER written in or chimed in on any subject here or elsewhere. To the women with the name Stacy at the top. I applaud you for writing honestly. I do not know how your husband tracked what you were doing and followed it for months and then said something. It baffles me, and maybe he did have help. I understand you though, and you are not alone.

    I am married. I have a long distance marriage and my husband and I are apart much (no excuse for infidelity), however, I have a high sex drive. I have spoken to my husband open and honestly about it many many many times. He is very busy, and is typical type A, and even though a man, business is so very important to him, that he needs to "wind down" at times to be ready for sex. I give him all the time he needs, and thensome. I have never hidden my deisres. I figured he was a "man", as a previous writer alluded to, and well, that sex was all MEN thought about, and that us women ought to get used to it. I can write I know he is not having an affair, and I do not need to say how I know, as it it lengthy, but I do know.

    As mentioned, I told hiim how I felt. I thought of sex all the time. I enrolled in a site of adults and put up provacative pictures of myself up on my site. I weeded through email atter email of gentlemen (hey, I say gentlemen, but they were just as I was, and perhaps I should not define myself as a Lady). I realized not everyone on the site was "real". Heavens, half of the information provied was probably false. Who knows if their photos were real. I craved attention. I first tried to let my husband know this.

    I sent my husband email after email of provactive situations and fantasties,and even sent him the exact same photos of myself that I had posted online. He is a busy executive. He told me I was hot, but that was as far I as I got.
    I enjoyed conversations I had online with gentlemen I met on line "whether gentlemen is right word or not). Beside the point. The conversations were raunchy talking of sex, and what we liked, and it was arousing. I attempted same thing with my husband. I told my husband that I was looking elsewhere to fulfull the desire of the craving I had. I don't know how he took what I meant. Regardless, I would rather have these erotic conversations with my husband of 20 years. We have not lost interest because of weight or looks, and he turns me on, and honestly he tells me what turns him on. I will point out a beautiful woman to him withut insecurity. However, I attempted very hard to express my growing need for sex. It is not just MEN who think of this or want it all the time, and it is the MAN'S God given right as the person stated earlier. It is not my right to go out and do whatever I please as well. I know that. I discontinued my account on the adult site. I had sex talk with men, one in particular who livied nearby. Was he real? He eventually gave me his information. I gave none of mine. It turned out we were near each other by destination, and I met him to see what he was like. We craved exactly the same thing of what was mising in our own relationships. I do not think this was right. I'm not proud. Yes, the internet has opened up all sorts of things, but so many point fingers as the saying would go "do not throw stones when you live in a glass house".

    No one is perfect. Yes, there are marriages that keep things in tact. We are human and all desire different things at different times. This does not make us bad people. We are human. It is not right to have an affair.

    To the gentlemen who says " a man needs to do what he must as it is in "his' make up? What – does he think men have the market corned on this? Perhaps men and women alike need to TALK with their partners about their feelings no matter how difficult. This is the only way to get the feelings out in the open and dealt with so with God's grace it will go no further.
    Everyone will have their own opinion on the internet infidelity.

    Remember, it is their opinion only. What is important is your own relationship, and what your spouse and you do about your feelings. The most important is making it right with God in the end or now or whenever. I do not preach, as I am a part of this. I've learned. It entices me daily. I'm not perfect, but get better in time by talking. Everyone do your best, the best that YOU can do, and not what anyone here, whether they are a pschologist or not tells you. Seek the help that is right for YOU and YOU and YOUR SPOUSE only. What works for one is not the answer for the other. Good luck on your own journey. I will continue to make mine the best it can be. I place no judgement, not even onthe ones who claim they know the right way. I applaud them for sharing their opinions. And in the end, it doesn't really matter what I think about them anyways. Good luck everyone in your own individual quest of challenges of what faces one and tempts one today with technology.

    October 14, 2010 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stacy

      Thanks Maria K.......I was being honest.....there is alot more to my story.......however didn't have the time to type it all out. My Anniv. would be next month-24 yrs. Like I said....we did divorce in the past 6 months and I have moved back in recently. He and I have learned alot from our mistakes and our lives are so much better than before. We both want to be with each other and spend our free time together. It was a horrible mistake and I don't like thinking about it.

      A couple should be open and honest with everything, feelings, thoughts etc. I still think that the spying that was done, was not right. It has left scars and right now they are still very fresh and every so often there is a reminder for me or for him of what we went through and it is sad. I am still amazed at the things he was able to find out about what I was doing. And I have found out alot about sites like the one I was on. Which by the way was: myyearbook.com I believe now, that there are alot of lonely people out there looking for the same thing i was. Alot of people say things that are not true, make up names, places they are from and fake pictures. When I think about the amount of time i was spending on this site, i was hooked-bad. And to see the number of others that were on the same amount of time or more that I was is just amazing.

      I know that people don't understand how this can happen, but in todays day and age with technology changing all the time, its going to happen.

      October 15, 2010 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
  26. AC

    HECK YES. That is how I found out the SOB was cheatin on me. He was a straight Myspace H@....He got caught cause he copied & texted me some crap that he sent her. Then I found out by snooping that he was going to end it once he got his money together to move out of my house. As he put it.....part ways. I parted with his carp on the curb...and when he asked why I told him it was time for us to part ways....U are now..HOMELESS..

    October 14, 2010 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • downtoearth

      AC, you two weren't married, were u? Isn't shacking up inherently dishonest, putting aside what your man did? You sexually bond with another person in a marital-like union that, just like marriage, has the potential to create new life and a family, but lacks its essential nature - a permanent commitment. The distinctive element of shack-ups is that the couple deliberately avoid committing to the other person - it is a tentative and conditional relationship. Its like a pretend or phony marriage. Perhaps that explains the origin of the expression "make an honest woman out of her" when a man decides to marry his shackup.

      October 14, 2010 at 20:38 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff S

      @downtoearth

      I see what you are trying to do there but your logic is flawed. Marriage and commitment are not exclusive. My wife and I dated for 4 years before we got married, we lived together for two of those years. Marriage didn't complete or cement our bond. That happened long before we said our vows. I can appreciate that some people believe that a relationship is not real, that there isn't a commitment until there is marriage, but just like s3x and marriage are not exclusive neither is commitment and marriage. Living together prior to marriage is not a recipe for disaster as many people would like you to believe. But staying in a relationship without trust is. The act of marriage doesn't automatically cement your commitment to each other, and it doesn't automatically give you trust.
      Of all of our friends that got married around the same time we did, my wife and I are the only ones still together. I can't say that living together prior to marriage is what has enabled us to survive all the ups and downs of marriage, but I can say it didn't hurt us. If anything it made us stronger as a couple. There was many reasons that led our friends to get married, some were bad reasons, some were good. But in every case the marriage fell apart because it was lacking trust and commitment. The problem was those things weren't there before they got married. Perhaps living together would have helped them spot it, like it did for AC, or perhaps it wouldn't have. But to claim that a relationship was doomed by the act of shacking up is a little off base.

      October 15, 2010 at 01:58 | Report abuse |
  27. 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 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Jayson

    There are only three reasons bitches lie to their Men.
    1: They are closet lezbo’s
    2: They haven’t been boned hard enough, or their current guy has a pencil dick, hence haven’t been boned hard enough.
    3: Ugly bitches, nuff said.

    October 14, 2010 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • spikette

      and there is one big reason you never get anything. your post. enough said.

      October 15, 2010 at 01:27 | Report abuse |
  29. AlmostLostItAll

    Watch out, people. I reconnected via FB with my first love from 30 years ago. I was the first to kiss her. She was the first I would have killed for. We were kids...14. When we reconnected, the years disappeared in SECONDS! Exciting, yes. Troublesome....HELL YES! This a an internet phenomenon that is not understood completely, as the internet is new in the grand scheme of things. While my marriage of 26 years survived, it was not an easy ride. Neither my junior high sweetheart nor I planned things to get out of hand, they did. It was very painful for ALL involved. If you are thinking of reconnecting with an old flame, think again.

    October 14, 2010 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeff S

      Really? Just because you were conflicted in your feelings we are all in danger? I still talk to some of my ex'es. Some of them I trade emails with regularly. Some I have gone out for drinks with since being married. Some of them have met my wife, some of them haven't. I reconnected with some over facebook. I have occasionally flirted with them but not once have I ever got "caught up" in the excitement reconnecting. All those relationships didn't work out for a reason. If they were meant to be they wouldn't be ex'es would they? And thankfully I have a wife that understands why they are ex'es and she is my wife.
      This is not an internet phenomenon. This is a "not sure of your feelings" phenomenon. The internet doesn't play a part in any of this except allows you to make that connection without seeing the person face to face.
      You may not have planned for things to get out of control, but you didn't exactly keep things under control either from the sound of it. If I was to guess, I would say you still have strong feelings for your first love, perhaps even regret the lost of that relationship and maybe even have held on for years after it was gone that it might still work out. That's what fueled the fire Not the internet, not facebook.

      October 15, 2010 at 01:33 | Report abuse |
    • Elle

      I'm going through this now – my husband of 11 years of sparkling life reconnected with his school love... and I don't know what is going to happen now. I am .So. heart.broken....

      October 15, 2010 at 02:41 | Report abuse |
  30. Andrew

    Regardless of how one views the morality of this author's position, he is extremely irresponsible for advocating a position that will doubtless lead readers to commit a crime involving the invasion of privacy. As an attorney, I can assure you that in most states it is at least a misdemeanor to access another person's electronic account without their express permission. I read this article carefully for any cautionary instructions about this, and unfortunately the author did not provide any. Some poor fools will snoop, as the author proposes, and will be charged criminally for invasion of privacy. In my opinion, the incitement to criminal behavior without any warning is a gross ethical violation. I hope this author is willing to pay the criminal fines of every poor soul who takes his advice and is detected.

    October 14, 2010 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Michael

    "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."

    I'm afraid that is not as axiomatic as you make it sound. My wife has been apologizing for some 6 months now, acknowledging that she was getting everything any woman could have wanted from me and that she simply developed the classic male case of cold feet when it came to being married. Everyone familiar with us as a couple have heard her speak of how I have been there for her emotionally in ways no man has ever been before, and that this may have scared her. She had grown accustomed to abusive man, including the pugnacious fella she almost cheated on me with. When I first met her she had found me to save her from that man. He was insensitive to her needs, controlling, and verbally abusive. He had anger management problems and picked fights with strangers to prove his masculinity. He was not educated. He was also not a psychologically sophisticated fellow. He had no insight into himself or into her and no curiosity about human nature. In me she found someone with whom she could share an engagement of life on all planes. So why did she have an emotional affair with him? Because she has a problem with needing to please men. She is also a friendly woman with no boundaries who gets anxious when she has to say "no" or tell someone something they don't want to hear. So while he stalked her throughout our courtship, denying and eventually ignoring his many texts, phone calls to her work and cell numbers, and emails, stress built up in her until finally one day she gave in because he reveaked that he had in his possession a photo of her she had left behind in his house. This was his way back "in." And at that point, he was so charming and friendly, setting aside all his usual anger (what else could he do without any leverage?), she was drawn back in and thought she could enrich her life with a secret friend-with-benefits relationship with him. She never in a million years thought I would discover this. But how could I not? She was not as giving as she used to be and there were all sorts of signs she was having some needs satisfied elsewhere. Because everyone who ever met him hated him, she embraced him as the sellacious bad boy. Then she got caught. And immediately she realized what she stood to lose and condemned herself and him for this affair. She is now a changed woman - capable of telling men she does not want in her life to get lost.

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

      it is stupid michael. this was used decades ago using the female stereotype and male stereotypes for that matter to come up with this little formula. women can cheat for sex and no emotional commitent as well as any man. and i know more men that into the emotional committment than women because men are not so good at the emotion thing and they use woman for that connection. this is just another one of those conditioning roles that society likes to feed us.

      October 15, 2010 at 01:25 | Report abuse |
    • maria k

      Michael,

      Where do you get off with the ridiculous statement of "Men cheat because they are men and can not help themselves." Get a grip. Honestly. Some women sure have an emotional connection as well as some men. Some women just cheat because they can not help themselves either. Men NO LONGER or really never did hold the market on this. You are full of yourself, and probably full of so much insecurity that you have to cheat to get affirmation.

      October 15, 2010 at 21:44 | Report abuse |
  32. Michael

    Recreational snooping that comes from a place of insecurity is dubious; however, strategic snooping to answer a gathering curiosity about the presumed roots of a change in a relationship (i.e. spouse not invested), is not only appropriate, but it is your responsibility as caretaker of the relationship. If I had not snooped, my marriage may have ended and I would never have known why. I would never have known the root cause. I would have gone through life laboring under either confusion or misapprehension. But because of my timely snooping, I now have a rock solid marriage that is actually stronger for what we went through. Forcing her to confront her choice brought immediate clarity to the situation. She invested in the marriage and since then has regarded her decision to marry me as the single best decision she has ever made in her life. In the two days she thought I was leaving her (after I discovered her emotional affair and plot to rendezveau), she cried on the phone with her mother about the mistake she had made. I fielded many calls from her mother trying to broker a reconciliation, begging me on her daughter's behalf not to leave the marriage. And my decision not to leave the marriage has turned out to be the best decision of MY life. We have never known greater intimacy.

    October 15, 2010 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Hoss

    if the girl looks as good as the one in this picture...I'd let her "go out" once in awhile if she wanted too..I'd hit it th enext day. No biggie. And chances are..you'll never get a girl that hot again anyway. I don't mind sharing...

    October 15, 2010 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. yesfantoo

    Most of the men lurking and surfing the net, sniffing around for women, are married. Very many are posting on adult oriented websites. It's disgusting.

    October 15, 2010 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeff S

      Why is it disgusting? Perhaps he is in a relationship he no longer wants to be in. Perhaps he just likes the chase not the end game. Perhaps his wife is are out doing the same. Perhaps he is doing it with his wife's approval. Perhaps we shouldn't care why they are doing it.
      Marriage doesn't mean set in stone. Tastes change, feelings change. Yes I agree that it isn't the nicest thing that he is doing it while still "married", but disgusting no. As human's we all crave interaction with fellow humans. If he isn't getting that from his spouse or friends then he is going to go looking for that interaction somewhere else. And just because he is looking for woman on the internet doesn't mean he wants to cheat. He may just be looking or some temporary interaction.

      October 15, 2010 at 01:14 | Report abuse |
  35. dontbuyit

    If you anyone thinks they need to snoop around their partners computer or anything else they just violated all trust in that relationship. Snooping around is no better than the sneaking around. Learn to COMMUNICATE!!!
    My fiance knows the passwords to all of my accounts and locked files, and at any point she can ask me and I'd let her get into any of them. Butif she ever used them without letting me know our relationship would be over. Its not that I have anything to hide but I won't be in a relationship lacking trust.
    Trust goes both ways.

    October 15, 2010 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Jeff S

    You are damn right I have a right to privacy and that includes secrets. Everyone has secrets. Secrets don't equal infidelity. And yes, guys cheat, women cheat and all have their reasons. To those that claim cheating is in grained in man's genetics you are wrong. Infidelity is not genetic, the urge to reproduce is. And yes there is a difference. One is controllable, the other not so much.
    But ladies (and guys) if you feel that you have to snoop either to assure yourself everything is good or to catch your spouse doing something they shouldn't the relationship is over. The trust is gone at that point and without trust there is no relationship. Stop fooling yourselves. It doesn't mean that your spouse is a bad person, it just means it didn't work out. Yes it sucks. Its happened to me. But married doesn't mean that you have to give up everything for the sake of making the marriage work. It doesn't mean privacy is gone or there can't be secrets. Sorry, there should be privacy and there will be secrets. But you either trust your spouse of you don't. If you don't, then leave. Don't try to make it "work". Neither of you will be truly happy.
    Trust is everything in a relationship. Its the foundation, its the thread that binds you. When the trust is no longer there then you do not have relationship that can support a marriage. A friendship, perhaps, but not a marriage.

    October 15, 2010 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • spikette

      this is the new cult like religion for men. their evolutionary behavor. it is another way to instill the patriarchal oppression. women equally cheat. this new cult says men have gotta, it is biology. yet women? well, just cheaters. if this were the case, women would be getting every man she could during that time of the month to ensure preg. but this cult doesnt think of that. they want to assure the old men that the young girls want them. reality is, she would pick the 19 yr old. who is at his peak. this evolutionary behavior has hit every insecurity of males and pumped up their ego, and men are falling for it all.

      the majority of people of both genders look for a single mate. from beginning of time, until today, we are programmed to find one person to connect to. but this is always left out of the equation.

      men are being conditioned thru our media, and cnn is a good place to see what they are continually feeding our society, helping to create a new norm. less and less of us are willing to grow up, and live grown up lives and be responsible in our grown up lives with priorities beyond the conditioning of what society is feeding us.

      October 15, 2010 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
    • spikette

      sorry jeffs, my post was meant for a poster above talking about evolutionary biology crap. did not mean to post it to your comment

      October 15, 2010 at 01:20 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff S

      Spikette...I know you didn't meant post to my comment but I had to respond. Men are programmed with the urge to procreate. Its not something media is conditioning us for, it is something nature has conditioned us for. And I can tell you as a guy, that urge is really distracting. I have been faithful to one woman for the last 15 years, and plan on being faithful to her for the rest of my life. But that doesn't turn that urge off. If I was insecure in my relationship with my wife I can see how urge could drive me to be unfaithful.
      While you are right on with the idea that infidelity is not part of our evolutionary behavior, that urge to procreate, to mate with other woman is constant and unwavering no matter what commitments we have made to our spouse. Is that a reason to be unfaithful? Absolutely not. And anyone using it as justification is doing just that. But to say the media is programming us to have those urges is a little short sighted. Every animal species is programmed to reproduce. Its part of life. It is an instinct.
      And since we are talking biology, how do you explain the fact that men are able to produce offspring into their 70s? That's long after their "mate" would be able to reproduce. Why is that? Was that just an oversight by nature? Or does it signify that nature intended the males of our species to be reproducing over a longer period of time that females? I'm not saying it justifies it, I'm just pointing out it seems awfully suspicious that men and woman would mate for life and at one point the man could still reproduce but his mate he chose for life would not especially since for life to continue it has to reproduce.
      The media, and religion tells us we should have one mate, that there is one person out there for us to marry and have kids with. But I'm not sure the science backs that up. In no way does it justify infidelity, I'm just not sold on the idea that nature intended humans to be monogamous. Men and woman have different clocks in terms of reproduction. A woman's fertile range is shorter than a man's. Perhaps it was intended that way so that woman had a larger group of suitable mates, or perhaps it was so that men could have several attempts at reproducing over his life span. In either case it appears that mating for life reduces the changes of producing off spring for both genders. That isn't much of a concern today with our medical advances but 300 years ago it would have been a serious issue.

      October 15, 2010 at 02:32 | Report abuse |
    • spikette

      jeffs, the male peaks at 19. the sperm begins deteriorating at about 24. what was old back in the beginning of time, 30? because SOME males can still ejaculate at 70 and possibly get a woman preg has nothing to do with the beginning of time. but since their sperm begins to deteriorate so early, surely it is biology dismissing that male. biologically the sperm is in pretty bad shape by 70. why would biology be encouraging an old man to mate? per biology then, every month at a certain time of the cycle a female should be having an urge to gather men and have s8x with as many men in a period of time to ensure preg. and the strongest of the sperm be the success. women should be only gathering the alpha males and the beta, omega men wont be getting any. they will just be around to raise the children.

      so though i am faithfult to my hubby i have this never ending urge to have s8x with a group of other men monthly. it is so distracting. but... being the good gal that i am, i fight of that urge every single month.

      with s8x and sexuality fed to us as a constant, an obsessed society to an extreme of the pearl clutchers, provacation at every turn, why would we ignore the conditioning of our culture today and buy into what life was tens of thousands of years ago and guess our way into who we are.

      October 15, 2010 at 07:20 | Report abuse |
    • spikette

      and jeff, per evolutionary biology, as male has that urge to procreate constantly, a continual urge that allows cheating, all about biology and being males, why are women cheating equally to men? men do it because biology is calling? why are women equally cheating and that biology is not calling? somewhere along the line women have been pegged that we do it for emotional connection. it is so lovely how we pin each gender with our stereotype. have you not seen a woman that wants sex and that is it. that woman is not so unusual today, now that we are no longer sexually repressed. amazing how women leaped bounds in the evolutionary progress once we gained our sexual freedom. all of a sudden, all this evolutionary binding famished, disappeared, within a decade or two.

      October 15, 2010 at 07:27 | Report abuse |
    • spikette

      vanished. not enough coffee yet, need my glasses, and need spell check, sorry.

      October 15, 2010 at 07:29 | Report abuse |
  37. El B

    The basic problem is not the internet, it's the fact that a relationship is already broken when one partner starts seeking satisfaction elsewhere. And I don't just mean sexual satisfaction, that's an overused cliche. How many millions of marriages around the world are there that should have never happened? Somebody marries out of convenience, to please the family, or other totally wrong reason and spends the rest of their life being miserable. Or something happens that changes the feelings of a partner for their spouse. Alcoholism, drug abuse, etc may turn up in a marriage seemingly out of nowhere, but upon reflection, there were signs of a problem before the marriage that weren't recognized for what they were. Not everyone can deal with such pressure, especially if the person with the problem is unwilling or unable to admit there is a problem. That's a family killler if there ever was one. Bottom line is, it's better to end a long-dead relationship than it is to coast along in neutral pretending everything is OK and being miserable forever. Life is way too short for that.

    October 15, 2010 at 02:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • El B

      One thing that is being largely ignored here is that there are laws against snooping. They vary from state to state and country to country, but an individual's privacy is protected and for good reason.

      October 15, 2010 at 02:37 | Report abuse |
    • spikette

      thati s true EL. there are a lot of marriages going on for many reasons that should have never happened and there are easy outs of the situation, too. so to see so many messed up marriages has little to do with the ability to have a solid marriage. i hear people say... everyone cheats, it is inevitable. if a person grew up in an environment see a less than healthy married environment, that would be their take. and there are many. but there are a lot of people that stepped into marrieage, having grown up, an ability to be responsible and satisfied in life, where marriage really is pretty easy.

      October 15, 2010 at 07:34 | Report abuse |
  38. Averguy

    I am with many people on here. I could care less that my spouse has all my account passwords. If she feels the need to look, and is feeling insecure I am more than willing to talk to her and she can read the hours and hours of boring communication that I have. I do not see anyting wrong with total transparency. Like that author mentioned, if you are secure in your marriage it will not make a difference because the trust will pretty much keep you from snooping. At the same time total openness shows the other that you dont and will never have anything for them to worry about, at home, work, or afar. I let my spouse know all my passwords so she can access the accounts if she needs to, or heck if I end up missing. You can still have total transparency and privacy. Many of you might also know them as love and trust.

    October 15, 2010 at 03:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • spikette

      good for you. what i dont get is so many people need to keep it private and have the total trust of the other as a condition of being loved. as if leaving all the possibilities tucked in private, giving mate an inability to see yet insisting on absolute blind trust in a society that actively promotes infidility, as an insurance they are loved. what a position to put a mate. that person is really the insecure one. what a struggle and effort we demand on our mate all for our own reinforcement that we are loved. i have absolutely no desire to do that to the man i committed to for life. i dont want him to have to work at, struggle with trust. i want to make it as easy for him to trust me as i possibly can. i dont want it to be challenging for him. i dont want him to batlle or struggle with the question of fidelity, or his own ego of worth. in our marriage, i want this as easy for my husband as i can possibly make it

      why not? why wouldnt we want that for our person. so he is in a secure, safe, comfortable environment in one part of his life, where there is not an emotional battle of struggle at all, ever.

      i dont get why, if we are committed to a marriage, we would want to challenge a mate in this matter. love and committment would dictate we would want to do all to ensure happiness. altruism is the key to successful marriage, happiness, health. and in the most unselfish way, altruism is the most selfish gift we give to our mates. he wants the best for me, thinking about me over himself. and i want the best for him, thinking of him over self. we both get the best, giving it to the other.

      again i say, aver, good for you.

      October 15, 2010 at 07:49 | Report abuse |
  39. deb

    If you have trust there's no need for transparency. Transparency is a requirement that is supposed to prove one's trust. So the need for transparency actually cancels the effect of trust. Oh, wait, I get it......... trust is behavior built on one's need to know everything and once they do..........they trust. Right.

    October 15, 2010 at 04:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • spikette

      what you give to the mate with transpercy is a security and comfort that they dont have to focus any time and energy of concern in this aprt of their life allowing them the freedom to go thru life knowing, nothing is going on. it is a gift to a mate, allowing him to never feel jealousy, or inadaquitcy for the simple reason that your ego does not need to be stroke and loving a person enough to take away any possibility of struggle they may have in trust. with all the divorce, and all the infidility and all the possibilities adn a society that encourages, it is not unusual for a person to feel at times an insecurity. why would you ever want your mate to have to feel that painful experience. i dont need to make mate jump hurtles to prove anything to me, least of all that he can withstand all the negativity and give me blind trust. i make it easy for him to trust.

      why is that a bad things. he gives it to me. makes live really easy. makes marriage really easy. 16 yrs, and it has been easy. maybe it is because, we dont feel the need to make the other work in a relationship. there is enough work we have to do in life. in our homelife, we chose easy.

      October 15, 2010 at 07:55 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      No, transparency is the result of trust, not the other way around. Transparency is simply the absence of secrecy. For example, it's not possible for my spouse to snoop on me because I choose to keep nothing private between us! I trust my spouse to allow me to be myself, I trust myself to put my spouse first. We don't "enforce" transparency, that wouldn't really be transparency now would it? Transparency must come from within and be offered willingly. To start, you must first trust your spouse. Then you must be open about everything (of course, in a sensitive way). After that, if there is magic, it will come alive.

      October 15, 2010 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
  40. Tony

    I was inforrmed by my wife of 15 years recently of her intent to get a divorce because "she was not happy". She also said that there was no one else. well i found out that was a lie. yesterday morning while she was in the shower her cell phone was ring off the hook. i turned it on a sext from a guy she met on FB telling her to cum again. after asking her about it she said i shouldn't be upset because we were getting divorced plus she liked the attention she was getting from a total stranger.

    I admit i have not been the perfect husband but i have tried my hardest to make her happy. i had my suspicions that some thing was going on especially when she started coming home at 4 and 5 in the mornings and moved up to the bedroom on her computer when we both used to sit across from each other while on the computer. she used to have all my passwords to my email and fb to which i have changed. she could look at all my stuff while i could look at none of hers. when i asked her about this her response was i have nothing to hide, which in hind site was also a lie. i'm glad i looked at her phone even though what i found broke my heart. but would do it again. if that makes me an "snoop" then so be it

    October 15, 2010 at 05:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      Sorry to hear about your situation. It sucks. I doubt that people who enjoy attention from strangers or love on the internet generally end up satisfied. Too bad they give up the real thing for a fantasy. I think they find out what they are missing after it's too late. I hope I never end up buying into that hollywood made myth and internet traded fantasy love. I know old age is creeping up -which is terrifying- and after a few decades it's easy to become complacent in my relationship, but I hope I'm always clear headed enough to appreciate my relationship and work to maintain it. Because I will never again find the unconditional love and acceptance that I have now. Never. I hope you find that too, with the right person and no strings attached.

      October 15, 2010 at 18:54 | Report abuse |
  41. Bob

    Can anyone think of a time when there was no internet and how today the internet enables the recording of the things that we do. If you can then think about how the same information would have to be conveyed to your spouse about your activities and or correspondences doesnt it seem rediculious! So in todays world the same applies. Mind your own business. Only control freeks seek out things that are beyond their control. Control freeks ruin most marriages and relationships.

    October 15, 2010 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. vman

    @Cheryl I assume you re single dear Cheryl..

    October 15, 2010 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. No one cares about your opinion

    I can't believe you people spend your time writing on these walls... I get a kick out of how you people think the other crazy people on this 'blog' are going to listen to your opinion and be enlightened.

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

      Consider me enlightened.

      October 15, 2010 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
  44. Brian

    Is Gupta crazy?! Setting up a Wii is NOT that easy...

    October 15, 2010 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. twoyearplan

    Look folks; here I want to talk to just the women, you men tune out. If you don't want this happen then lose the pounds, light the candles in the bedroom, and dress in the lingerie buried in your closet ( if you haven't thrown it out) and make your guy feel human again. OK you read the Nancy books on how to bag a man but guess what she hasn't written a book (yet) on how to keep a man; why because she can't keep a man herself. Sex is Male EGO until the day the man is dead; don't get it home you can get it someplace else deal with you righteous christian chicks.

    October 15, 2010 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • spikette

      two, a clue in for you. women today feel the disdain the man like you feel for them. though they may stay in a relationship for all kinds of reason, generally for the health of a kid, when she feels such disdain and disrespect she will have no problem finding a man that will appreciate and value her. the thing is, it is much easier for the wife to find a playtoy, than it is for the man to find his play thing. those extra pounds you aquired and loss of hair will not be an incentive for other women, unlike the acceptance of a woman willing to put on the ring. yet a pound or two on a woman is no hurdle at all, if she choses to play.

      women are simply more adept at hiding the betrayal than men are. so, in your arrogance of conversation with us ladies, you might check your womans smart phone.

      October 15, 2010 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I think there's chemistry here....

      October 15, 2010 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • Bugsy

      "more adept at hiding the betrayal " ??

      sneaky
      weasel-like

      October 15, 2010 at 19:57 | Report abuse |
  46. Who is AJ334?

    Hi Everyone, this article came out two days after I found out my husband has been on several cheap dating websites speaking to countless women. We were separated for a good amount of time during which he was communicating to women on those sites so I wasn't too upset. However, I also saw an email on September 20 he sent to a woman he met at a bar. That devastated me because in September we decided we were going to make our marriage work. I was unbelievably happy and elated to know that we finally had a happy and loving marriage. He lied to me and now I do not know what to do. We do not currently live together but were working to move to be with him (we have a beautiful 2 year old). I gave my two weeks notice at my job so that we could finally be a real family. I want to leave him b/c I feel that if he could do this while we were happily married he will do it again. I am broken down b/c of what effects it will have on my son, but I would rather he have a good role model then one who will hurt his mom. Please help....I never knew how much he could hurt me.

    October 15, 2010 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Marian

    Reading the article was uncomfortable, like watching a bad car wreck...except the bad car wreck was my marriage. I can probably claim bragging rights as one of the earlier casualties of the internet. My ex spouse bought a computer into our home in Sept 1998 and by June 1999 the marriage was effectively over. What happened during those ten months was painfully described in the above article. The symptoms of a problem appear classic and I have yet to meet another man who is willing to have a "transparent" healthy relationship. Word of advice if you are single forget eHarmony, Match.Com and Chemistry.com the sites are FULL of guys like my ex who are NOT single. Some people entertain themselves with the fantasy world of video games, others create their own fantasy world using others in cyber space.

    October 15, 2010 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Rob

    Never snoop. If it's time to snoop, then it's probably over or never was anyway. Clean your own house. Be loving, supportive, kind, and strong. If you must leave in an unselfish manner to protect yourself, then so be it. Beyond that, it's out of your control. You cannot control your partner and will only destroy things if you try. Snooping is a feeble attempt to control your partner.

    October 15, 2010 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Lisa Johnson

    This is why I will never marry again. I've been married twice and divorced twice. Both times the feeling of relief and joy at having my own room and having some privacy back were so astounding and intense they brought tears to my eyes. I will never give up that privacy again.

    I will never again give up the right to talk to who I want, when I want, about what I want, and not have someone peeking over my shoulder. I will never again make *any* promises about the content or non-content of my conversations–not that I ever did in the first place. I will never again make more than limited, negotiated promises, specific to our relationship, about what I and my partner do or don't do with what other people and when.

    It is not "cheating" if you never promised it in the first place. It is especially not "cheating" if you were explicit about not including it in your promises in the first place. But the second you sign on the dotted line at the registrar's office, society piles a whole lot of "promises" on top of you that you were specific and explicit about not making in the first place. And then when you follow the up front, in the open, relationship rules that you and your partner agreed from the get-go, you get branded a liar and a "cheat."

    No more.

    I will not marry again unless it's for strictly legal reasons, and if I do, there's gonna be one hell of a pre-nup to make sure it's completely "transparent" what the relationship ground rules are. And those ground rules are going to include *boundaries* between myself and my partner. I'm not saying "anything goes." I'm saying clear communication between myself and my partner, up front and written down so *neither* of us can misremember and mentally re-write it to what we later wish it was.

    The above author is completely dysfunctional, having no sense of healthy interpersonal boundaries in relationships. It is *never* okay to open someone else's mail, search their purse, briefcase, or wallet, or hack their computer or phone. If you want to know, you *ask.* If you and your partner can't agree on what it is and isn't okay to ask about or do, then at minimum you need to go to family counseling and start working on whatever your real relationship issues are.

    And if a partner *asked* me if they could look at my phone or some of my email, chances are I'd be hurt that they asked, but I'd let them-unless the particular correspondence was one where I'd promised someone else, explicitly or implicitly, confidentiality. As a pastoral counselor, I *have to* be able to promise confidentiality to even a casual contact if I counsel him or her. On the other side of that, as a counselor, I don't mix therapy with pleasure, either. Healthy boundaries. Obviously the author above has never heard of them. I devoutly hope he doesn't see patients.

    October 15, 2010 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      @Lisa – Very well written expression. It's ok to be single of course, as it's ok to be married if one prefers. Personalities and needs are different for different people. My spouse never needs to snoop or dictate terms. My correspondences and friendships are open and transparent. We always do what we both want to do, together. We each let the things that we both don't want to do drift out of our realm, or we encourage each other to explore it independently if it's safe. This has worked for the last few decades, sometimes well, sometimes less well. Just like life in all situations. We'll see how it works for the next few. I'm hoping it continues to meet both of our needs, as it is very nice to have a companion in life. I don't see this ever happening again in mine.

      October 15, 2010 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      I guess you have never known the benefits of real intimacy. The author of this article is not condemning conversations with the opposite sex unless they degrade your capacity for a quality relationship/connection with your spouse. If your spouse feels a loss of emotional engagement, estrangement, or interest, he has a right to know why his life is not what it used to be. There is an epidemic of "relationship ADHD" now with Facebook and other social media and techology. I have met a number of young women (and they tend to belong that 18-27 generation) who do not feel they can be content with any one relationship partner. Even after they're married they need to hang out in dance clubs and make the acquaintance of new men. Maybe there is a reason for this. Maybe people are not what they used to be. Maybe God, and the educational system, are turning out cheap knock-offs of human beings who are just fragmented personalities incapable of giving another person an appreciable amount of what they need. Polyamorous is the new buzzword. It's not enough we are a world divided into smokers/non-smokers and those who own/love dogs and those who think dogs are just animals. Now we have to screen people for their position on polyamory. Back when I was dating, my philosophy was that if you want to date me, you have to date me exclusively. I understand if you want to kick me to the curb after a week, two weeks, or a month, but in that brief time give me your best and allow me to give you MY best. Get to know me. I understand you may want to kick the tires of a number of different men, but I ask only that you test drive one car at a time. This is too much for many young or modern women, who need to date 5-6 men at once, all while remaining friends with ex-lovers. ADHD!

      October 16, 2010 at 00:35 | Report abuse |
  50. Lisa Johnson

    Oh, and hacking someone's phone or email, or looking at their mail or searching their stuff surreptitiously? That's just as bad as an affair. The snoop is sneaking around behind their partner's back, trying to conceal their suspicion and lack of trust from their partner.

    When someone cheats–by which I mean does things that violate their own, mutual relationship promises–they're trying to have their cake and eat it, too. They're trying to have some gratification or other from other people while deceiving their partner that their partner is still in a relationship with mutually stricter limits than that.

    Snooping is the exact same relationship sin. The snoop is trying to have their cake and eat it too. They're trying to have their lack of relationship trust satisfied while deceiving their partner that the partner is in a relationship with more mutual trust than that.

    Snooping is sneaking around on your partner. Snooping is in itself cheating.

    If you don't trust your partner is following the rules–and you may have reason for that mistrust–it's not okay to sneak around and pretend you still trust them. If you ask for access and they say no, then either your trust issue is a problem, or their behavior is a problem, or both. Trust issues and cheating behavior issues arise from deeper relationship problems, and ignoring those problems or sneaking around–on either side–is asking for a broken relationship.

    Privacy and secrecy are the same thing by different names. Relationships need clear communication beforehand about how much privacy/secrecy is okay–where the relationship boundaries are–and both parties need to respect the relationship ground rules they've previously agreed upon. Rules may change over time within the relationship, but rules that change because of emotional blackmail never work.

    I know plenty of people who have happy, long-term relationships–people who are functional and happy in their daily lives–whose relationship boundaries include a defined range or area of privacy/secrecy where they have mutually agreed the information or activity within that area is none of each other's business.

    Plenty of these people do not meet the diagnostic criteria for any illness in the DSM, nor are they suffering, nor is their behavior "vivid," nor is their behavior resulting in adverse life consequences. It is unethical and out of line for a professional to define those relationships as "broken" or "lacking intimacy" or the people in those relationships as "broken."

    Psychology has very careful rules of thumb for defining what's broken or ill and what's not, just for the reason of keeping professionals from getting away with defining their personal prejudices as "pathologies." There are gray areas, but happy relationships where the participants pre-defined, pre-communicated boundaries include areas of privacy/secrecy are nowhere near that gray area.

    That the author feels justified in advising people to commit felonies, which *do* carry massive adverse life consequences, is evidence that the author is closer to the pathology line than the people he criticizes. Physician, heal thyself.

    October 15, 2010 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      I agree: snooping is as bad a cheating. It's a trust issue and a control issue; The roots being found elsewhere. However, I also think that a mistake on either front can be tolerated, as long as they are recognized as harmful and damaging. And are treated so.

      October 15, 2010 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Johnson

      Agreed. If relationships didn't survive mistakes, there wouldn't be any relationships.

      October 15, 2010 at 13:20 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      I am not a practitioner like the author, just a research psychology Ph.D., but I agree wholeheartedly with him. The author is not talking about snooping as a lifestyle choice, but as a single act designed to uncover the truth at the source of a major change to his own life. If I feel estranged from my spouse in a way that adversely affects the quality of my relationship and my life, I have a right to know why. If I smell smoke, I am going to feel each door for heat to determine whether there is fire. So commit the act of snooping and upon discovery, confront your spouse. Be open and honest about what you did to acquire your information and why.

      Your powers of intellectual discrimination resemble more a blunt instrument than a surgical tool, as if you were scarred by an incident of snooping that has you ideologically entrenched in some indiscriminate and inflexible political platform against research/intelligence-gathering/detectivework in all instances. If someone made a habit out of snooping and it came from a place of character weakness - chronic insecurity, marked jealousy, or possessiveness - then yes, I would agree with you. But that's not what this author is talking about.

      October 16, 2010 at 00:50 | Report abuse |
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