1. People & Relationships

Should You Spy On Your Spouse?

By

You might think it is a good idea to spy on your spouse. But it could drastically change the course of your relationship, so you must weigh the consequences beforehand. Many spouses have trust issues. Sometimes, breaches in previous relationships make them suspicious of their spouse. Sometimes, having parents who cheated makes them think everyone is unfaithful. Sometimes, there have already been affairs in the marriage, which makes them concerned. Or there are suspicions of other infidelities besides a physical affair. Think emotional affairs, financial infidelities, or plain old lies. All these doubts an weigh on a person. He or she wants relief from this torture. What will bring relief? The truth, or at least that's what they believe. They get to thinking that spying on their spouse is the answer.

Spying could mean prying into your spouse's business. You could look at his phone to see his text messages and phone call logs or reading her e-mails or rifling through his stuff for any shred of evidence that he's done you wrong. You might even hire a private investigator to tail your spouse, take photographs, or even monitor their whereabouts with devices hidden on their vehicle.

While hiring a private investigator might seem extreme, going through your wife's purse unbeknownst to her is one step away from installing that GPS tracking system on the family car. The point is that either way you are committing a betrayal to prove (or disprove) a betrayal. Once you spy, you can never take it back. You have violated the other person's privacy. As a result, the decision to spy can not be taken lightly. You must really consider whether this is the right path for you. Here are some questions to ask before you spy on your spouse:

1. How sure are you that your spouse has committed a grave error?

People say that when your spouse cheats or is lying to you about something, you just know it in your gut. That might be true. But if you're just going on your gut and think that is good enough reason to spy, you should think again. After all, your gut could be wrong. Then what? Then, you would be the only one committing a betrayal, the betrayal of your spouse's privacy. On the other hand, if you have lots of reason to believe your wife is cheating - she is changing her look unexpectedly, lying to you about where she's been, covering up her phone when she receives strange late-night calls, and being emotionally distant - you might consider spying. Still, however, you should only consider it. First, weigh the consequences. What will happen if you're right and she's cheating? What will happen if you're wrong, and she's not cheating but she does find out that you were suspicious and spied on her? Your answers to those questions should play a big role in deciding how to proceed.

2. If you're certain, why do you need physical evidence?

You have to think about whether spying is even necessary to get at the truth. It should be viewed as a last resort because spying in itself is a violation of trust. And, as mentioned, there's no taking it back once you have done it. You might feel as though you need physical evidence to put the nail in the coffin. In other words, you want to be able to present the evidence to your spouse, so he or she can no longer lie or deny this is happening. You might also have already decided the marriage is over and you want physical evidence for the divorce lawyer. These could be valid reasons. But realize that if you decide to go through with spying on your spouse, there's a good chance that you'll create a big rift between the two of you by doing this. If you don't need physical evidence, don't spy.

Frankly, you should be able to talk to your spouse about your suspicions. Be diplomatic and not argumentative. For instance, say, "I tried to call you the other night when you were working late, but I didn't get an answer. What happened?" That's better than, "Are you cheating on me? Is that why you were working late? You sneaky, little..." Remember that talking things over beats spying every time. Then, if you're not satisfied with the answer and this one time of working late and not answering the phone becomes a habit, you might be able to justify spying.

3. Will your marriage be able to bounce back from your spying? Why or why not?

There is always the chance that you are wrong, and your spouse is not cheating or lying. Before you spy, you must consider what will happen if you decide that you want to stay in this marriage when the spying is done. How angry will the invasion of privacy and lack of trust make your spouse? Will he or she forgive you? How long will forgiveness take? Miscalculating this could mean the end of your marriage. Are you prepared for that? You better be prepared for that possibility before you take on this spying mission.

4. What are you going to do if your suspicions are correct?

Just as you must consider what will happen if you're wrong about your spouse, you must also decide what you will do if you spy and find out you are right. Will you stay or will you go? How will you react? You must prepare yourself emotionally for this result. Although you might feel relief at finally knowing the truth, you are also going to feel pain and heartache. Getting betrayed by the one you love must feel like a knife in the heart, so brace yourself should you decide to spy.

5. What is your gut telling you?

As mentioned, many people feel it in their gut when a spouse is cheating or lying. Consider what your gut is telling you. Don't be ruled by your gut alone, but listen to what it's telling you. It could lead you to the truth. It could prompt you to be more vigilant in your relationship and notice things that will lead you to the truth without spying.

  1. About.com
  2. People & Relationships
  3. Newlyweds
  4. Getting Along
  5. Marriage Problems
  6. Should You Spy On Your Spouse?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.