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  1. Snooping, lies, and distrust

    I have decided I am manipulative and have serious trust issues. I may be controlling as well, I'm not sure. I also obsess over stuff and contanstly doubt things, including peoples motivations.

    My girlfriend is emotionally unstable and has problems with honesty. I've caught her in several small lies before. Of course this only magnifies my trust problems.

    I have no doubt we both love each other very much. We are just very flawed human beings, with serious integrity issues.

    Let me explain ...

    A long time ago over chat my girlfriend told me a guy friend of hers knew her email address. I teasingly asked her to give it to me. She wouldn't, but was stupid enough to give me the hint that it has something to do with "math". I have a good memory. A couple of months later ...

    She has the phone in her hand while talking to her dad, and needs to check her email to tell him something. She leans across me, and very slowely types in "c", "a", "l", "c", as I look on. Of course that is all I needed. I felt total and utter contempt for myself.

    When she logged in I noticed she had recently received 3 emails from this online friend of hers she had told me about. She used to have rather spicy converstaions with this guy, according to her own admission. She said he is a foot fetishist and into S&M.

    Over the next few days I monitored her email religiously, trying to find out what was going on with this guy. I was totally obsessed.

    This is what I know:
    This really is a fairly innocent online relationship. From her emails, I seriously doubt she would ever take things any further with this guy.

    My girlfriend sent this guy pictures of her feet, after I told her not to. I suppose she thought it was innocent enough, and that my request was unfounded. I think it was innocent, after reading her emails, but I don't think my request was totally unfounded.

    My girlfriend tells the partial truth about things, in order to lessen the consequences. She freely changes times and dates around. For example, she was honest about sending the photos, but she tells me she sent them BEFORE I told her not to. Of course, because I've been reading her email, I know this is a lie.

    When I confronted her about things, and gave her repeated offers to "come clean", she only came partially clean. She still changed little details here and there to save face, and to lessen the impact of the truth.

    ------------------------

    My questions:

    I know everyone on here is so adamant about total honesty and truthfulness. I have to admit i am obsessed with this idea of "truth", but should I just let it go ? Is complete truthfulness realistic ? I mean, look back on your own relationships ... were you always 100% truthful about everything ? I think to a large degree it's just human nature to want to minimize, cover up, and dodge the more bitter aspects of the truth. I'm not sure it's realistic to expect people to tell the truth when they know it's going to hurt.

    As for me ... well, I'd say the same things about my wrong doing. Curiosity and suspicion are powerful urges, almost human nature I would say. I am a dog and an ass for not respecting her privacy. I am an ass for not trusting her, though of course now it's plainly obvious that I had reason not to 100% trust her. Was this controlling behavior on my part ? What's wrong with me ? I could just shoot myself.

    The original issue now seems so idiotic and trivial. Yet the issue has now totally blown up, taken on a life of it's own, and illuminated that my girlfriend and I are in serious need of self-improvement and growth.


    Despite it all, I'm convinced we are both still completely in love. Our hearts are terribly wounded. We have been seeing each other about 6 months. It is clear that the way we feel about each other is not normal or common. We both agree on that.

    I'm going to tell her about the email thing today. This is going to hurt so much I feel almost physically sick even thinking about it.

    Any advice ?
    You think it's possible to move beyond this ?

    [edit]
    I just told her about the email thing. She was not too terribly upset about it. Apprently she had done something similiar to a previous boyfriend.

  2. A snoop needs some tough love. Where is the trust ?

    In another thread I mention how I have aquired my girlfriends email password. I partly fessed up to this, telling her she had "forgotten to log out", and that I had read some emails. Essentially I'm guilty of telling partial truths, the very thing I accuse her of ! Of course, I reminded myself of this when I did it, as a way of excusing it.

    I just checked and she hasn't even bothered to change her password. This is killing me. Why doesn't she change her password ?

    I really am afraid there will be times when I can't help but give in and want to read her emails.

    Would somebody please remind me just how unconscionable it is to hold onto your SO's email password as some kind of insurance policy.




  3. Re: A snoop needs some tough love. Where is the trust ?

    As I see it, hon, she has no responsibility to change her password because YOU feel you might not be able to control your urge to snoop. I know my daughter's email password, but I've never used it. It's not my email to read. It's hers. I honor that distinction, as you should. You know this. It's up to you to control yourself, not up to others to keep you in control.

    It's the same thing with the picture she sent of her feet. Was it a smart thing to do? Maybe not. However, it isn't your place to tell her what she can and cannot do. She must be free to make decisions for herself. A relationship that does not allow the individual partners to live their lives without the other partner telling them what to do is doomed to failure. We don't get involved in relationships as adults in order to have our partner treat us like a child.

    I'm assuming you're both adults. This may be a wrong assumption. Nevertheless, there's no place in a loving relationship for snooping in a partner's email, nor for telling another how to live. If both parties care about each other, and themselves, there will be no need for lies, either.

  4. Re: A snoop needs some tough love. Where is the trust ?

    Well, to say I "told her" not to send this guy pictures of her feet might not be exactly accurate.

    Usually I use phrases like "I'd prefer it if you didn't" when I'm talking to my SO ... or ...
    "Would you please not send pictures ...".

    I think your statement about not telling others how to live is a little simplistic. People in a romantic relationship often draw up boundaries for each other, and I didn't think asking her not to send foot photos was an unreasonable boundary, so I told her as much.

    She thought she could get away with it so decided to ignore my request.

    Of course now, on reflection, I slightly regret having set that as a boundary, but not because I think it was unreasonable ... more because I realize now I don't have the backbone to apply any consequences. I think many people in relationships would find it a perfectly reasonable boundary though. Will I break up over it ? No. That would be stupid. However, I am upset.

    I'm intelligent enough to realize you can't control others. It doesn't make it any less depressing when they let you down. What's even worse ... I let myself down.

    I agree about the snooping and the lying. At this point it is too late though. I snooped. She lied. Is it possible to start fresh ? Can people move on from something like this ?

    p.s.
    This whole thing seems almost insurmountable right now. I hope that it just seems that way because not enough time has passed. We both gave in to rather selfish instincts.

  5. Re: A snoop needs some tough love. Where is the trust ?

    And not to belabor the point, but ... nothing is ever so black and white. If they were, I guess my girlfriend and I wouldn't even have a chance.

    What if you had reason to believe your daughter was using drugs or engaging in other self-destructive behavior ? You had tried talking to her about it but she was distancing herself from you ... and meanwhile the clues were adding up.

    Would you still be so adamantly opposed to checking her email ?

    btw, I like your signature.

  6. Re: A snoop needs some tough love. Where is the trust ?

    Sure, you can move on from it, hon. If you both really want to make your relationship work, all you need to do is make it your main priority. You need to sit down and really talk things out, letting each other know what's important to each of you and what each of you is willing to do, or not to do, to strengthen your bond to one another.

    Trust is not an easy thing to come by once lies have been told, or privacy has been breached. However, it can be done if both partners are willing to put out the effort to do so, and to put the past behind them. Sometimes, a written contract in which certain promises are spelled out, and which is signed by both parties, can help. When one or the other (or both) partner needs a reminder, the contract can be pulled out and read. It's a two-way street, though. Both people have to be committed to the success of the relationship and willing to do what it takes to make things work.

    Not telling others how to live might seem like a simplistic viewpoint, but it's one of the keystones of a really good, lasting relationship. We might let another know how we feel about something. We might even let them know if something they do is offensive, or upsetting to us. However, for a relationship to blossom, each person must feel free to be themselves. In a strong romantic relationship, we don't draw up boundaries for each other. We draw up boundaries for ourselves. Those boundaries are based on our own perception of what must be done to give the relationship the very best chance to grow and prosper. Each must give to the other, but neither should demand.

    Now, if you use phrases like "I'd prefer you didn't..." or "Would you please not...", that's not really setting boundaries. It's simply making a request. Thing is, the other person might just not choose to honor that request. That's something we have to be ready to deal with, and not take it as a rejection of us as a person, or of the relationship as a whole. You didn't want the picture sent. She sent it anyway. She made a choice that was not what you might have wished. That happens in the best of relationships. The strength of the relationship shows in what happens after. Sounds like you've accepted her choice, even though it wasn't what you would have liked to see her do. That's a good thing! Now, you just need to put it behind you and realize that she will make decisions that don't sit well with you, but that you love her and respect her right to decide the course of her own life, even if her decision isn't one you would make.

    People who spend their lives together spend a good deal of that time supporting one another through the results of bad decisions. It's part of being human. We err. What's important is that even though we err, we're still loved.

  7. Re: A snoop needs some tough love. Where is the trust ?

    Quote Originally Posted by electric_sheep
    And not to belabor the point, but ... nothing is ever so black and white. If they were, I guess my girlfriend and I wouldn't even have a chance.

    What if you had reason to believe your daughter was using drugs or engaging in other self-destructive behavior ? You had tried talking to her about it but she was distancing herself from you ... and meanwhile the clues were adding up.

    Would you still be so adamantly opposed to checking her email ?
    My daughter is an adult, so...yes, I would still be adamantly opposed to checking her email. It's just something I would not do. I would never invade her privacy in that manner. I'd hope, because we are very close, and trust and love each other without reservation, that she would talk to me. If she did not, that choice would have to be hers, as would the repercussions of her choice to use drugs or engage in self-destructive behaviors. Because I love her, I would support her through those repercussions in whatever manner I could; however, I would never breach her trust or her privacy.

    I will say, it would be much different were she a young teen. She's not. She's an adult. Her life is hers to live. I can only hope that she will live it to the fullest and be true to herself.

    Hee! Thanks for the compliment on the signature! It's a quote from MY mother!

  8. Re: A snoop needs some tough love. Where is the trust ?

    Thanks so much for the words of encouragement.

    I really needed that.

    I like what you said about boundaries too. I always thought I needed to lay down boundaries, and then have consequences for crossing them. That is sort of a rigid way of thinking about things. I see now that that sort of thinking is naive. You can't really tell how you feel about something until it happens, and every situtation is unique, with it's own mitigating factors and nuances.

    Also, thanks for pointing out that I really didn't even set a boundary. I have trouble speaking in absolutes, and people probably pick up on that and take advantage of it. If I really felt strongly about it, I should have said so, and not have used vague language like "I'd prefer".

    It's probably better to simply describe the things that are important to you, and the type of relationship you want. If these needs are not being met, or someone does something contrary to them, then you can re-evaluate things on a case by case basis. That sounds like better langauge than boundaries and consequences. Geez ... those terms sound like this is litigation or something !

    Well, good thing is ... we both love each other to death.
    Now if we can just start growing into better people !

  9. Re: A snoop needs some tough love. Where is the trust ?

    Quote Originally Posted by electric_sheep
    Thanks so much for the words of encouragement.

    I really needed that.

    I like what you said about boundaries too. I always thought I needed to lay down boundaries, and then have consequences for crossing them. That is sort of a rigid way of thinking about things. I see now that that sort of thinking is naive. You can't really tell how you feel about something until it happens, and every situtation is unique, with it's own mitigating factors and nuances.

    Also, thanks for pointing out that I really didn't even set a boundary. I have trouble speaking in absolutes, and people probably pick up on that and take advantage of it. If I really felt strongly about it, I should have said so, and not have used vague language like "I'd prefer".

    It's probably better to simply describe the things that are important to you, and the type of relationship you want. If these needs are not being met, or someone does something contrary to them, then you can re-evaluate things on a case by case basis. That sounds like better langauge than boundaries and consequences. Geez ... those terms sound like this is litigation or something !

    Well, good thing is ... we both love each other to death.
    Now if we can just start growing into better people !
    Heh. If what I'm seeing here, from you, is any measure of what you're both capable of, you've already begun to grow, hon! You'll continue to do so, and to learn new things and new ways to see old things, for the rest of your lives. That's what makes life so wonderful!

  10. #10

    Re: I'm a snoop, she lied, now we don't trust each other

    I think the real issue here is not whether she is telling you the 100% truth but rather the fact that between you the two of you have created a climate of distrust and intrusiveness and invasion of privacy that in essence encourages dishonesty rather than honesty.

    You have a decision to make to start with:

    1. Do you want to continue a relationship with someone you don't or can't trust? If the answer is yes, ask yourself why? These are extremely important questions, by the way.

    2. If you want to continue this relationship but transform it into one where you do trust and can trust her, are you prepared to make a leap of faith? That is, at some point you are going to need to tell yourself that you WILL trust her and let her know that - that you will stop intruding into her privacy because that's not how you treat people you trust - and that after that it is up to her to live up to the faith that you have placed in her. Then tell her that this is what you're doing. Now, if she betrays that trust, you will know where you stand but at least you will know that you have not backed her into a corner where it may have seemed to her that deception was her only option.

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