Thursday, 2 October 2014

Spying fever

It seems that a lot of people are now so mistrustful of their partners that they're secretly spying on them to check on what they're doing and where they are. They're so suspicious of what their partners are telling them - or not telling them - that they're obsessively monitoring their activities.

They're looking at emails, texts, computer files, photos, GPS locations, bank accounts, call logs, calendars, website histories, Facebook accounts, you name it. There are now apps that can quietly track just about every aspect of your partner's life and give you any information you want at the touch of a button.

And apparently lots of people are doing just that. According to one technical surveillance firm, business is booming, especially among women trapped in abusive marriages who need to discredit their husbands in order to get a divorce.

Increasingly, people are no longer accepting what their partner tells them, or shrugging off the odd dubious explanation, but are bothered enough to find out just how truthful and trustworthy he or she actually is.

It must be dreadful when you lose trust in your partner and are sure they're hiding things they don't want you to know. But can you really justify such exhaustive snooping on everything they're doing? Is it necessary self-preservation or is it totally obnoxious?

Personally I've always trusted Jenny and I've never felt the need to spy on her every move. I often have no idea at all where she is but why should that make me suspicious? Why should I imagine she's secretly seducing someone or topping up a concealed bank account?

But the fact that such detailed surveillance is now so widespread and easy to use would make me think twice about bedding the next-door neighbour. If I knew that my supposedly private phone calls and texts could be instantly relayed to someone else, I think I'd keep my libidinous longings to myself.

26 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

I agree. It would almost be better not to have a partnership than feel you have to spy on your partner all the time.

Grannymar said...

Spying on a partner is a sure sign of a lack of trust. Not sure I could live in a relationship like that.

John Gray said...

Bloody hell......I never think of checking on Chris............perhaps I should?

Ursula said...

Nothing to do with "trust". You don't spy on anyone. Full stop.

U

Bijoux said...

My BF from college found out her husband was having an affair by checking his cell phone while he was in the shower. If you are reasonably suspicious of your Significant Other, I think it's in your best interest to check up on him or her.

Nick said...

Jenny: But the problem comes when you have suspicions but you don't know if they're justified or you're simply being paranoid. And a bit of furtive spying might give you the answer....

Grannymar: But if you basically trust your partner, and you just have a few vague suspicions, then what?

Nick said...

John: Yes, who knows what Chris is really up to? A three-day academic conference in Vienna? A likely story....

Ursula: That's the obviously principled position. But if you have a few niggling suspicions that won't go away, wouldn't it be tempting to do a bit of probing?

Nick said...

Bijoux: I think you're right. The only alternative is to keep on ignoring your suspicions, telling yourself you're imagining things, while your partner is maybe getting deeper and deeper into another relationship.

kylie said...

I have been in the position where there was a keylogger on the computer and my milage, bank account, emails, facebook, phone etc were all checked and postal mail opened. probably still is at times.

It's a stupid thing to do, once a person is under scrutiny like that the relationship is over even if it wasn't before.

Nick said...

Kylie: That level of snooping must have been pretty distressing. And yes, the relationship is effectively over when the mistrust is that extreme. Looking at your partner's phone is one thing, systematic surveillance is quite another.

CheerfulMonk said...

Snooping doesn't appeal to us!

Nick said...

Jean: Glad to hear it!

Ursula said...

In answer to your reply to my comment: "Probing"? Yes, you probe by asking the other person a question, not by snooping.

A friend of mine, geek, snooped on me - by his own admission. I didn't go ballistic. Just lost all respect for him. One thing is for sure, turn the coin round: People who snoop on you do not trust and are not to be trusted.

U

Nick said...

Ursula: "People who snoop on you do not trust and are not to be trusted." But suppose you yourself aren't to be trusted? Suppose you're up to some shenanigans you know your partner wouldn't approve of? Would you still think they shouldn't snoop on you?

Suburbia said...

I would hate to think someone was looking at all my communications, I don't even check my kids phones but I do know parents that do. I felt violated when my step father read my diary when I was 14, it stays with you, that feeling.

Nick said...

Suburbia: I would hate it too, I would feel somehow soiled and contaminated. I'm glad my behaviour has never justified such extreme measures.

Yes, a diary is something very personal and I can understand your feeling violated. I don't keep a diary myself but I write very personal notes about things which I wouldn't want other people to read.

Wisewebwoman said...

Rock and a hard place comes to mind if you are suspicious. But then again is there anything salvageable in the relationship once the trust has been broken?

My experience has been nay, something goes AWOL forever.

XO
WWW

Nick said...

www: Rock and a hard place indeed. If you snoop and discover something nasty, that destroys the trust between you. On the other hand, if you snoop and don't find anything nasty, that also destroys trust.

But if you have nagging suspicions you can't resolve, that's constant emotional torture.

A situation like that is just a big tangled mess.

bonsaimum said...

Hubby and I have always trusted each other. At the beginning we said we would always be honest with each other, and we have stuck to that.I could not live any other way.

Nick said...

Bonsaimum: Jenny and I said much the same about honesty when we first got together, and like you we've stuck to it. I can't imagine what a permanent feeling of suspicion and doubt would be like.

kylie said...

nick,
you say you are glad your behaviour has never justified such measures but such measures are never NEVER justified. it is abuse.

Nick said...

Kylie: Given that you've been subjected to that level of surveillance, and given that I haven't, I accept that you see it as abuse pure and simple.

Liz Hinds said...

I've never for one instance doubted Husband. Not even when someone in work sent him a valentine. (He brought it home innocently thinking it was from me.)

Nick said...

Liz: You obviously totally trust each other, so the odd Valentine would cause no question marks whatever.

Rummuser said...

Dear Nick,

I have never written to you before, but I really need your advice. I have suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. The usual signs. phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up.

My wife has been going out with 'the girls' a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, 'just some friends from work, you don't know them.' I always try to stay awake to look out for her coming home, but I usually fall asleep. Anyway, I have never approached the subject with my wife. I think deep down I just didn't want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to really check on her.

Around midnight, I decided to hide in the garage behind my golf clubs so I could get a good view of the whole street when she arrived home from a night out with 'the girls'. It was at that moment, crouching behind my clubs, that I noticed that the graphite shaft on my driver appeared to have a hairline crack right by the club head.

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the golf shop where I bought it?

Thanks.

Ramana

Nick said...

Dear Ramana, clearly there's more than a hairline crack in your relationship. I strongly suspect another man lurking in the shadows. I should follow your wife until she meets him and then give him a good smash over the head with your golf club. That'll stop the extra-marital shenanigans.