Yeah, we know, snooping is wrong. It’s unethical. It demonstrates a lack of respect and trust. But it’s just so goddamn hard to resist! I’m a Scorpio, which means I am curious by nature (hence my career as a Super Serious Journalist), and I’ve never met a medicine cabinet or open email account that I didn’t have the intense desire to peek at. For the most part, my snooping has resulted in a big fat wad of nothing, though one time I discovered a woman I was babysitting for was pregnant again before her husband knew.
When it comes to significant others, snooping can be especially tempting, but the results of that clandestine investigating can be far more fruitful—and hurtful—than finding out the woman who pays you $10 an hour to watch TV with her toddler is about to add a screaming baby to the roster. Here are seven shocking things you may not want to find out about when snooping on your S.O.
- 1. Snooping Discovery: That he’s cheating
- 2. Snooping Discovery: That he has strange sexual fetishes
- 3. Snooping Discovery: That you weren’t the first girl he ever loved
- 4. Snooping Discovery: That you don’t really know him as well as you thought
- 5. Snooping Discovery: How financially successful—or unsuccessful—he is
- 6. Snooping Discovery: That he went a little wild when you were on a break
- 7. Snooping Discovery: That he’s on meds
1. Snooping Discovery: That he’s cheating
I didn’t do much snooping on my ex prior to our breakup, but when we split seemingly out of nowhere and with little explanation, I was pleased to discover he hadn’t bothered to change his email password. I found evidence that he was carrying on some sort of inappropriate relationship with his subordinate at work, and because it was something I suspected, I felt vindicated, but I didn’t actually feel good. Still, knowing he wasn’t invested in making us work made it much easier for me to move on.
Snooping Verdict: Worth it.
2. Snooping Discovery: That he has strange sexual fetishes
A friend of mine was dating a guy a few years ago and one day while he was at work, she discovered he had a pile of porn featuring women who were supposed to look incredibly young, including the series “Faces with Braces.” Mind you, none of the women in the movies were underage, and he certainly wasn’t a pedophile who trolled Catholic junior high schools, but knowing he found girls with mouths full of metal hot made it hard for my friend to continue being hot for him. Their relationship fizzled and he never knew he had his innocent pile of porn to blame.
Snooping Verdict: Probably not worth it.
3. Snooping Discovery: That you weren’t the first girl he ever loved
OK, so I lied. I did do a little snooping on my ex before we broke up. Early on in our relationship, he went on a week-long trip to Bermuda and I stayed at his place while he was gone. I took the opportunity to turn his apartment over, looking for any and all evidence of what his previous relationship was like. I found a diary—a dude diary!—that he kept briefly in college, at the height of their love affair. In it he described how he felt about her and it just made me sick to my stomach. Of course I knew that he had loved someone before me, but suddenly I found myself comparing how he felt about me to the way he seemingly felt about her and I was jealous that he wasn’t keeping a diary about me. Worst of all, I couldn’t tell him how I felt because I was the a**hole who snooped through his private things—including his effing diary!—when he had entrusted me with the care of his apartment.
Snooping Verdict: Not worth it.
4. Snooping Discovery: That you don’t really know him as well as you thought
A friend of mine also did a little snooping in a boyfriend’s apartment when he was away and discovered a treasure trove of journals that she couldn’t resist reading. What she learned painted a far different picture of the guy she thought she knew and loved. “In one of the journals, he wrote about how proud he was for having the good sense to see the long-term financial potential after the September 11th attacks—exploiting the real estate market after that tragedy allowed him to buy an apartment downtown, where prices had taken a nosedive. I mean, I get that it was a smart move, but he just seemed so psyched and proud of himself. People died, dude.”
Snooping Verdict: Worth it if it illuminates personality traits that you definitely don’t want in your S.O. Not worth it if it just puts a knot in your stomach.
5. Snooping Discovery: How financially successful—or unsuccessful—he is
Money is an uncomfortable topic for many. Personally, I would rather walk across a bed of nails in bare feet than talk about how much money I make. When someone borrows money from me, I find it embarrassing to have to ask for them to pay me back. Money, point blank, is not something I like to discuss with anyone, including my accountant, which makes things difficult come tax time. Anyway, when you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s important to get over that awkwardness and to be straight-up about your financial situation, especially as you’re considering any sort of merging of assets via moving in together or marriage. And you want to get that information through a little thing called talking not based on what kind of toilet paper he buys (generic or Angel Soft?). Because imagine if you, uh, snooped through your S.O.‘s bank statements or pay stubs and discovered that how much he has/makes is vastly different from what you thought? Your inevitable money conversation just got infinitely more awkward.
Snooping Verdict: Not worth it.
6. Snooping Discovery: That he went a little wild when you were on a break
A few years before my college girlfriend married her husband, they split up for about a week. The seven days was awful for both of them and when they just couldn’t stand being apart a moment longer they reunited in a sea of tears and “Oh my god, I love you so much” proclamations. After some great makeup sex, my friend sat down to check her email on her boyfriend’s computer and accidentally discovered—thanks to his email being open to a message he sent to a friend—that he had gone on an ecstasy bender with a prostitute three days into their split. Now, my friend wasn’t snooping for information, but she certainly didn’t close his email and, in fact, willingly kept reading the minute the words “ecstasy” and “hooker” jumped off the screen. Upon being confronted, my friend’s now husband used the Ross-from-“Friends” defense—“We were on a break!”—and in the end, she didn’t really have a reason to be mad so much as hurt. But she got over it and now they are very happy.
Snooping Verdict: Not worth it.
7. Snooping Discovery: That he’s on meds
I generally don’t divulge to guys I’m dating that I take anti-anxiety meds and anti-ADD meds, but I don’t hide it either. Should a fella spend the night and then get up in the morning to brush his teeth, he will see the prescription bottles for both in my medicine cabinet and if he can’t hang with a chick who’s on either, then he’s probably a secret Scientologist and I don’t want to be dating his Xenu-worshiping ass anyway. However, a friend of mine was dating a guy for about a month when she decided to look through his medicine cabinet (she turned on the shower to cover her tracks) and was dismayed to discover he had both Viagra and medicine for the management of schizophrenia. Poor dude hadn’t mustered up the courage to tell her he was kind of crazeballs and that he had a hard time keeping it up. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to feign surprise when he finally did tell her, she called things off. It was too bad—he was a nice guy.
Snooping Verdict: Worth it, because chances are you’ll find something far less worrisome than what my friend found. In fact, if you’re lucky, you’ll find something fun, like Vicodin!
Original by Amelia McDonell-Parry