Privacy and Snooping

by Reid on March 5, 2015

Romantic Senior Couple Relaxing In Park TogetherYour Partner Is Going Through Your Stuff?

Join Reid Mihalko from and Cathy Vartuli from

Cathy: Someone else wrote in to us and said my boyfriend is going through my email and my phone.  He’s snooping.  What can I do, it makes me really uncomfortable?

Reid: Shhh, he may be listening in right now.

Cathy: That’s really uncomfortable when someone’s going through your stuff.

Reid: I’m uncomfortable just filming this video.  Are they watching?  Hey behind you!  I’m Reid Mihalko from

Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from the  If someone’s going through your stuff, and like some people may not have a problem with it but it’s a useful thing to ask why are they doing that.  What is going on.  Is it lack of trust.  Is it intense jealousy or insecurity.  If they had bad experiences in the past with relationships, people lying to them.  Understanding where it’s coming from can at least give you a foothold on how to talk to them.

Reid: Yes, and are you giving them any reasons that they should be snooping in your phone?  Is there anything that … now you can be ashamed of certain things like I like this particular kind of porn and I’m a little embarrassed.  You’re allowed to have a private life, but there’s a difference between I like dating people who are very insecure or uber jealous or this or that.  People who are prone to needing reassurance or people who just like to snoop, like, I love it’s so erotic when they snoop …

Cathy: It proves they love me …

Reid: Yeah, yeah.  There are people like that and there’s some people like hey, my partner’s snoopy and I don’t mind.  There’s a difference between that kind of person and dynamic and I’m actually not showing up in my relationship and being honest and forthcoming and so it’s eroding the trust and the security for the people that I’m in relationships with.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: I’m not condoning snooping, but snooping might be the symptom to the problem that may be being generated in part by your doing, and if you’re basically above board and you have nothing to hide then I would say that’s when you kind of check yourself and also go to your partner and be like, okay, so, hi, what’s going on …

Cathy: Yeah, what need are you not getting met?  What are you feeling?  Why do you need to do this?  The snooping, the secrecy, that can put a tension on a relationship as well.  Even if the other person doesn’t mind that the snooping is going on, someone knowing that they’re doing something underhanded or violating the trust of their partner, but it’s not, it’s not really a powerful way to relate with someone.

If you can talk.  If you can just start talking and Reid’s difficult conversation formula I love, you can use that and say, “Hey, you know, I’d like to talk to you about this, about something.  I’m afraid that it will make you really angry with me or feel even more insecure.  I’d really love it if we can have a better relationship and both of us feel even better about ourselves, and what I’d like to talk to you about is I’ve noticed that you’ve been going through my mail and I didn’t agree to that.  I’d really like to know what you’re trying to get met by doing that.”

Reid: What are you worried about?  What are your concerns?  Why do you feel like you can’t come to me directly and ask?  Then you guys can have a conversation that opens up a conversation about privacy, because we all need some sort of privacy for ourselves.  We’ve been raised for the most part we’re supposed to be open books to each other and in certain ways yes, but you’re also allowed to have your private life.

There should be some fantasies that you keep for yourself.  There should be some … if you keep a journal, that might be really important to you that those are just only your thoughts for your eyes only.  You’re allowed to set in your relationships what your privacy needs are and have a conversation about that.

There’s a great book by Esther Perel called, Mating in Captivity, which talks about how eroticism in relationships dwindles when we know everything about each other.  There’s no secrecy.  So you can use the conversation around privacy to create a little bit of mystery for, for each other but also keep a little bit of your own private space in ways that are super healthy.   So, again …

Cathy: In ways that fit for you.  For some of you it might be like what’s the big deal.  My boyfriend and I share a mail account.  If it doesn’t bother you, like just talking about it and getting everything up front, like, hey, if that makes you feel reassured you don’t have to snoop …

Reid: Or it’s not even, for some of you it’s not even about reassurance because you don’t need any reassurance.  Like it’s everything’s healthy and okay.  Have the conversation about privacy needs and figure out if somebody’s snooping and not being able to stop snooping, if that’s actually a bottom line for you.  You’re allowed to have lines that when they get crossed or get crossed several times, you can end the relationship over that.

Cathy: Yeah.  You’re allowed to have boundaries and if that person can’t respect your boundaries they either need to get help or you need to get out.

Reid: Let us know what you think.

Cathy: Thanks.

Reid: Are they watching?

Cathy: [Laughing]

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