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To snoop or not to snoop

We all know the line, would you cross it?

Written by Maire Rowland and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

"One speedy snoop, what harm can it do? Just a glimpse to see who they've been chatting to. Just a wee peep"

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Picture this, your partner's phone is lying on the coffee table. They've nipped down to the shop for a carton of milk and the plastic portal to their inner thoughts is just lying there. Flaunting its availability. Taunting you with its occasional buzz. It is unlocked (the silly trusting fool) and within arms' reach. It is calling you. Tempting you. Your pulse quickens.

With every moral fibre of your being you fight the urge to pick it up, press, slide and browse. Human beings are fallible, you are sure even Ghandi considered giving a lad a clip across the ear at some point. One speedy snoop, what harm can it do? Just a glimpse to see who they've been chatting to. Just a wee peep...

Wait. Stop the lights. Before you immerse yourself, uninvited, into the digital version of your breathing beau or belle, you'd do well to have a think.

Imagine for a moment that you are your other half. Paint yourself as that feather-brained individual that thought nothing of leaving their phone in your presence. Ok so perhaps it was mere absent mindedness that resulted in this opportunity, but lets take the position of the eternal optimist and try to think the best of your saliva swapping sweetheart. Imagine you are the one returning to your abode blissfully unaware that your beloved has just had a nose through your inbox while you've been off sourcing essential supplies. 

Now you arrive home. You are delighted with yourself for venturing off the couch and are all set to put on the kettle when your significant other cracks and tells you of their betrayal. They've scoured through your Facebook. They've seen your hilarious messages to Fabian the tantalisingly toned Venezuelan from that festival, or two-doors-down Mary the artist lady with that inescapable air du mystique.

It isn't beyond the unstable realms of possibility that those "hilarious" texts you sent about Fair City, the X Factor or the last time you were a bit tipsy could be miscontrued as flirtation. Perhaps you have added an emoticon too many, went a smiley too far? You may have placed a flippant "x" to someone your loved one may only deem worthy of an excitable exclamation mark?

Would your relationship survive a snoop?

You may be the most perfectly behaved partner but a simple sentence out of context could upset the most balanced of relationships. All you did was nip down to the shop, now your relationship is possibly in jeopardy and you've been hacked. An invasion of your privacy, even when you have nothing to hide, certainly stings.

Bring yourself back to the possible moment of indiscretion. You are you again,  the phone remains on the coffee table. You are all shaky and overwhelmed by both the opportunity that has presented itself and the drama it could unleash.

Ask yourself what you would actually do if you did to decide snoop and did happen to see something untoward. Would you explode as soon as your other half wanders back into the room? Would you immediately confront them? Admit that you have invaded their privacy and went through their phone? Or would you hold it in, spend the rest of your time together seething in silence or make an excuse to escape in order to collect your thoughts? Leaving your partner bewildered by your sudden change of mood.

If you did decide to look perhaps you'd see a flood of sticker conversations, musings over sandwiches, streams of uncapitalised sentences about being hungover. Or maybe you'd see the details of a secret affair, a comment about a one night stand, a flippant remark about the hotness of a mutual friend or a pleasant reminiscience about an ex. You could unfold a truly significant side to your partner that you never knew existed.

Within the space of five minutes you could end up demonising them for their betrayal or canonising them for their mundanity. Either way you've invaded their privacy, you've willingly betrayed their trust. Perhaps it was worth it, maybe you gleamed knowledge, however unpleasant, that was necessary for you to know. But maybe you need to ask yourself why you felt the urge to snoop in the first place, human curiosity or niggling suspicion?

Rewind back time. It is just your morally conflicted self and that pesky unlocked phone, what are you going to do?

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Published February 13th, 2015
Last updated October 27th, 2015
Tags relationships
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