How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
Type Your Relationship Question Here...
TherapistMaryAnn is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a history of snooping on my boyfriend of three years.

Customer Question

I have a history of snooping on my boyfriend of three years. I used to snoop through his phone but stopped when it almost broke us up. I recently have been snooping through his e-mail, and told him about it last night when he confronted me. He is incredibly hurt and I don't know what to do. He has been trying to have cybersex with girls and send them money. He is flirtatious which is I think part of what makes me insecure. I don't know why I keep doing this and I need an outside opinion.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


Normally, I would say that you are feeling insecure and that is why you feel the need to check up on your boyfriend. But since he is flirting and you have seen evidence that he is cheating on you (cybersex and sending someone money for sex is cheating), then I would say you have good reason to feel insecure.


Any relationship that does not have mutual trust as the basis is in trouble. At this point, you cannot trust your boyfriend. Not being able to trust him undermines your ability to feel you can be with him and not suspect him of going behind your back with other women.


There is two ways you can handle this. Either tell your boyfriend to stop his behavior and go to counseling with you, or leave the relationship altogether. If he is willing to stop, then talking to a counselor will help him learn why is does these things and how to stop. But if he is not willing to stop and/or get some help, then you will need to decide if you are ok with living with his behavior. If you are not, then you need to end the relationship.


I hope this helps,


TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I also forgot to mention that I feel like the incredibly guilty one because I snooped. I know I shouldn't have done it, but I've been feeling like it's all my fault and I'm a terrible person... Is invading someone's privacy common? Is it ever okay?
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Whenever you have reason for suspicion in your relationship, you have two options. You can either ask your partner outright about your suspicions, or you can look into it yourself. You chose to look into it. It is ok to feel guilty about it, especially since it is something you would not normally do. That is your internal "police", your conscience, telling you that you did something you feel is wrong. It is a good sign that you have good control over your own behavior and follow societies rules.

You are not a terrible person for snooping. It is human nature, especially in a relationship where you feel strongly motivated to protect yourself. Your boyfriend is giving you signs that something is wrong. It provoked you to feel worried and you reacted. Yes, it was not the best thing to do. But it happens a lot in relationships, more often than you may know.

The best way to get rid of your guilt would be to admit wrong. For you, that may mean apologizing to your boyfriend. But don't allow him to make you feel worse about it. Once you apologize, it is up to him to forgive you. If he does not, then that becomes an issue about him and not you. You will have done what you can to repair the problem. That is all you can do. Anything further is about his inability to let go and probably about his guilt for what he is doing to you, which is cheating.


PS I got your request for this additional question this morning. I'm sorry I could not catch it in time. Just Answer requests to a specific Expert only last 10 minutes before they are put into the general queue. Since your question did not have my name on it, the Expert who answered did not know it was for anyone specific. If you would like to work with me again, just put my name at the beginning of your question such as "Kate, I wanted to ask....." so if I'm not on line and can't catch it, the other Experts know it is for me and will leave it until I can get to it. Thanks!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Kate McCoy--

Can trust be rebuilt after something like this? He doesn't trust me because I pry into his things, and I don't trust him because he does shady things and lies about it. We've been together for three years and I'm hesitant to throw it away. Also, my question from before (that I would still like to ask you) is:

I actually asked him if he would see a therapist with me and he said he'd think about it. I can't help but feel pathetic for wanting to do it so young (we are both 24). Do young people go to couples' counseling? Thank you for your helpful response.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Yes, young people do go to counseling. Problems can surface at any time. Actually, it is very smart for you to go at such a young age instead of waiting. The longer you wait, the worse your problems become and the more difficult it is to solve.


You can rebuild trust. The only key is both people have to want to work towards trusting. If not, then it won't work.



Related Relationship Questions