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Busola Idowu: Should You or Should You Not Check Your Lover’s Phone?

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A thorny issue that arises in relationships, especially romantic ones, is the drama that accompanies going through your significant other’s phone. This could be with or without your significant other’s permission, and includes chats, messages, call logs, even emails and pictures.

The saying Curiosity killed the cat is a common refrain here, though it doesn’t always work out that way. One common line that accompanies the saying is What you do not know will not kill you.

However, in today’s relationships, I prefer What you do not know might actually kill you. Simply put, that phone-check might actually be the life saver informing you that your spouse is treating an incurable illness, or that you are girlfriend no 2 in his harem of 10.

I am a bit of a fence-sitter in this regard, but definitely lean towards the checkers. In previous situationships, I have checked my boo’s phones (in fact, I still check. Reminder to self to keep this article far away from hubby).

Phone checking made me realize that the boo and I had broken up. This was news to me, considering the fact that we were still carrying on as though we were in a relationship. While going through his phone activities for a period during which I was out of town, I came across a series of chats with an unknown woman where he claimed I had broken up with him!

Me? Me that was still building romantic castles in the sky and sending toasters far away was the one that initiated a break up? Fear Yoruba demons Sweet Boys Association members. That was the end of our relationship, and I would have been living in a fool’s paradise if I had not checked his phone when I did.

There are people who give you free reign over their phones and have a justification for every text and or picture you come across. I am in this class because I believe there is very little I should have to hide about my electronic activities (excluding bank statements, of course) from someone I claim to be in love with.

Then there are those in the extreme category. They protect their phones with their lives, using multiple passwords, finger swipe, eye identification, etc., just to prevent their partner from finding out what they are up to. They carry their phones everywhere including restroom breaks to forestall the unlikely situation of it being hacked into. People like this should be feared. I mean they are not to be trusted. What on earth could they be hiding that much?

In as much as I realise that privacy should be respected as much as is possible in a relationship, I also know that there are times hidden information can be obtained by snooping around discretely which would be to the snooper’s advantage. The problem now arises when this snooping becomes a habit and affects your relationship adversely. At that point, trust has been erased and the purport of a loving bond is lost. The ideal situation for me would be where both spouses can trust each other enough to forgo passwords and allow the other browse their phones without any prior notice. After all, if there is nothing to hide, why the need to be extra careful?

So what is your take on the matter? Do you check your spouse’s phones? And to what extent? Whatsapp, BBM, text messages, Instagram/Facebook/Twitter DMs, emails? Where exactly do we draw the line? Does phone checking automatically signify trust issues or is it a regular part of any budding relationship? Share your thoughts.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Busola Abayomi-Adebayo is a lawyer, public servant and occasional writer. she's passionate about information and just about anything newsworthy. Follow her on twitter @busolaidowu'

22 Comments

  1. nnenna

    September 25, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    A friend once narrated how she found out that her husband was trying to elope with another babe when she read his email. so for me please check if you can but be ready to find the worst info.

    • Busola I

      September 25, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      You are so right! check but expect the worst! in her case, it actually gave her invaluable information. 🙁

  2. Anonymous

    September 25, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Snopping made me realize my hubby was consistently talking to his female friend everyday for long hours, hung out couple of times was not really bothered until I noticed
    the frequent calls even when it has nothing to do with
    their school project.Though I know nothing is going on between them just called his attention to it to reduce it at least .
    He doesn’t tell me about their discussion anymore ,deletes call history,and chat,when I asked he said he doesn’t want me to feel bad that he’s respecting me I’m angry that instead trying to reduce or cut discussions he’s making it look like there’s been no contact at all.
    Maybe I’m just overreacting

    • bee

      September 25, 2018 at 5:10 pm

      No you are not overreacting.
      I will feel hurt too but it might just be a phase, maybe he will get over it.

      Now if he does not I feel you should have “the talk” and if it does not work seek help.
      I say that because continued hurt is not good for marriage, it might build up and lead to you to explode over a much minor issue or make you seek revenge at the slightest opportunity

    • Ajala & Foodie

      September 25, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      To respect is to hold someone in high regard. Deleting call history to pretend like the calls no longer exist is not how someone shows that he respects you and your take on an issue. Deleting call history will only make you more wary.

      If you keep putting expenses on an official credit card and it is against company policy, but you pay it off right away i.e you are not trying to steal. Your boss calls you in and ask that you desist. Do you think if you respect your boss and job, you will go back, keep doing it and just pay it off before the monthly statement comes out will still make it ok? Nope!!!

      All you need ask yourself(with regards to your overreacting statement) and your hubby ask himself is if it was the other way around would he consider his action “respectful”?

    • Busola I

      September 25, 2018 at 9:57 pm

      No, i don’t think you are overreacting. it is cause for concern after all… what are they discussing consistently and for so long? As someone else said, it could be a phase, he’ll grow out of soon.

    • Nwunye Tobi

      September 26, 2018 at 12:08 am

      Hmm i smell an emotional affair. Some emotional affairs could be worse than physical ones. A physical affair is most times a one night stand and just sex. Both are bad but emotional affairs eh.. deep stories are shared and memories are formed. Long hours of talking. Usually w a friend or colleague at work who understands you. Harder to pull out, takes grace and strong will. Better to recognize, define and address it. May God help us.

  3. Ms_Sylveeah

    September 25, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Definitely on the side of checkers. Its saved me in the past.

    • Busola I

      September 25, 2018 at 9:59 pm

      Checking aka snooping has really saved some people from being blindsided in relationships so i can’t disagree with checking

  4. Her grace

    September 25, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    Personally, I really won’t be snooping unless I suspect something’s up and if that’s the case, I’d confront you first. I may use your phone for other things like play games and stuff. Snooping is a sign that something is definitely up and if you have to hide your phone or delete stuff, you are definitely up to something and it most likely isn’t good.

    • Busola I

      September 25, 2018 at 10:01 pm

      yeah, i get your point but the 1st reaction when you confront is usually denial. It’s the phone checking that might be actual confirmation that everything is not well in romance-ville

  5. Didi

    September 26, 2018 at 12:36 am

    I used to belong to “team don’t check” until I got married. Hubby and I stayed apart for approximately a year before he finally decided to settle in Canada with me. Apparently, he always talks on the phone with one of the babes who never “gave him face” when he asked her out. I notice that they constantly chat and whatnot. I called his attention to it, he said:” there was nothing”. Anyways, he reduced the frequency of their chats from maybe every other day to once a week or so after I called him out. I do check his phone once in a while to see “how things were going”. Anyways, life has been so busy for him now that I don’t think he has even reached out to her or vice versa since June. Whatever it’s, I am definitely ” team check your hubby’s phone. once in a while.” Agreed, I know if a man would cheat, he will definitely cheat but at least if knowing beforehand helps you feel better or prepare for the unknown or a revenge(depending on the path you wanna take), by all means, go for it.

    • Busola I

      September 26, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Lol! Marriage changes a lot of things… i’m also leaning towards checking. to avoid stories that touch.

    • mee

      September 26, 2018 at 10:50 am

      Can some guys explain this thing for babes that did not give you face until you are in a relationship and you still feel the need to chat with them or be stringed along by them? please help

    • Nwunye Tobi

      September 26, 2018 at 11:20 am

      @mee it is wrong but in a way it is understandable on the guy’s part. This is a girl he was once attracted to, so there is something in her he likes. Being in a relationship may or may not take that like away. What I don’t understand is why the lady who did not give face is chatting with him. Maybe she enjoys the male attention, maybe it makes her feel nathemdeyrushme, or maybe the guy she really likes that made her reject him doesn’t like her as well. The cycle of love continues….
      Most people are not married to the person they are most attracted to, they are married to who said yes to them. But even at that, you should respect your spouse and your marriage and keep away from random chats with exes.

    • iyanya

      September 26, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      I still feel if somehow has turned you down and another gave you a chance, its only fair that you honour the person who gave you a chance by not running back to the former.

      i recall I used to date a guy who was very sloopy in dressing and then I felt he should dress better so we started buying jeans and fitting clothes. (he was fat and used to wear oversize).

      The moment he became a fine boy however he started going to show himself to the babes who turned him down and they suddenly began to give him face. To be candid I was hurt and I kept demanding some respect for putting him on that pedestrian.

      For where uncle was seriously enjoying the sudden attention and was doing everything to sustain it. It was terrible. He was busy wasting resources on these babes that did not like him before and when you try to make him see reason he will tell you he needs to make them see what they lost. My dear it was bad o until I ran . Now I dont tush any guy up again, ifI like you enough, I will date you and we will go like date otherwise i will not date you.

    • demash

      September 26, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      desirability is enhanced when someone is out of reach, that’s why babes that didn’t give you a change before you are married or engaged suddenly become interested,.

  6. Dayo

    September 26, 2018 at 4:34 am

    If one feels the need to check a mate’s phone, then there’s a bigger underlying issue…

    Personally, I do not want anyone to invade my personal space and check my phone, but I would not stop her either since I would have nothing to hide.

  7. team snoop with style

    September 26, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Personally I don’t know if I check or I don’t but i have free assess to hubby’s phone and I see everything from text to watzapp to emails and I even respond for him sometimes IF ITS A MUTUAL MATTER OR HE ASKS ME TO..

    At times he has asked why I opened some messages because he had no intention of making the sender think he saw it but then I still open and he has never asked me to stop directly nor restricted me from his phone.

    Is that snooping? No right? It just happens that I see everything going on.

  8. demash

    September 26, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    This is a serious bone of contention for couples and I have since stopped snooping. My dad said not to long ago, it’s better not to snoop cos except its in cases of outright cheating some folks just send inappropriate messages without understanding the effect on the persons relationship. In some other cases, other’s might deliberately want to cause rancour in a relationship via messaging.

  9. Evergreen

    October 9, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Abeg snoop but be ready for the consequences, snooping made me realise the status quo in my previous relationship, so abeg snoop if it soothes you but be ready for the consequences, which might make you sad but you wont be living in the dark and what you dont know have power to hurt you.

  10. elle

    November 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    This matter again…..snooping is good if you ask me just don’t over do it and expect anything to happen including break up if you see some terrible thing syour sweet heart might be doing

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