The Hazards of Spying on Your Partner
By Susie and Otto Collins
A video floating around the internet shows a woman who fell
asleep under her husband's SUV while spying on him trying to
determine if he was having an affair or not. Evidently, the
woman was caught on film after becoming stuck under the SUV,
with a neighborhood cat. This anecdote may strike you as
sad, tragically comical or even outrageous and unbelievable.
To us, it very clearly points to one of the hazards of
spying. And we're not necessarily talking about getting
stuck under an SUV with a cat!
No matter how justified you feel; no matter how much
suspicious behavior your partner exhibits to you; no matter
how desperate you are to know the truth about what' really
going on... we simply don't recommend that you spy.
It had been a long night. Alisha sat up for hours parked
outside another woman's house after following her husband
Eric to this location and watching him go inside.
At first Alisha raged and screamed inside the confines of
her car. She almost got out and stormed up to the door of
the house to confront Eric and this other woman. Finally,
she just sat
and cried until she finally fell asleep.
Now, in the early morning hours, Alisha really doesn't know
what she wants to do. She just feels numb and almost wishes
she hadn't followed Eric here.
Are we suggesting that it's better not to spy so that your
cheating partner can continue to betray you in secret?
Absolutely not! We want you to know exactly what's going on
in your relationship; but we don't believe that spying is
the way to determine that information.
If you want to stay with your partner and rebuild your
relationship, then spying will only destroy the trust that
may remain between the two of you. What if you discover that
your partner actually was not having an affair through your
Of course, you would feel relieved on one level. But you
might also feel embarrassed and not want
your mate to know that you mistrusted him or her so much
that you felt like you had to spy.
If you are merely looking for evidence to support your
growing desire to leave this relationship, we still advise
you not to spy. Look within yourself and ask if you honestly
want to come face-to-face with the "proof" you might uncover
If you are ready to end the relationship, allow yourself to
make that decision based on your own needs and desires-- not
due to what you find out
from spying. You can learn more from your heart and your gut
than from snooping and sneaking around.
Decide what's next for you.
Alisha takes a deep breath and drives away from the house of
the woman with whom her husband is probably having an
affair. She stops at a coffee shop and drops down into the
comfortable seat feeling exhausted.
What Alisha knows is that she is ready to end her marriage.
When she thinks about it, the affair was really only one
factor contributing to her decision. She and Joe have been
disconnected for years now and her own interest in
rebuilding their relationship has grown weaker over time.
You don't have to resort to spying in order to look within
yourself and choose what you want to happen next in your
relationship and life. Alisha could have stayed home instead
of following Joe in order to know what she wants next.
She now realizes that the affair was not the only
thing driving she and Joe apart and leading her to ask him
for a divorce.
If you feel like you truly need to know if your mate is
having an affair, ask him or her. You may not trust the
answer you receive; but, chances are just as likely that
your partner will tell you the truth.
Perhaps your mate would finally like to have everything out
in the open. If your partner denies the affair and you still
don't believe the answer you've been given, we suggest that
you be honest
about your mistrust. This might be the time for you two to
work with a counselor or coach.
What do you want to move closer to?
Whether you end up breaking up or staying together and
rebuilding your relationship, sharing your feelings and
desires as openly as you can will benefit you.
Alisha realizes that as painful as a breakup with Joe will
be, this has been a process that's gone on for years. She
feels a sense of relief that she can now be open with him
about what she wants to do and begin to move toward healing.
As you make your decision about what your next step will be,
allow yourself to widen your perspective and set a goal for
what you'd like to move closer to.
If you decide to stay with your partner, you may choose to
take steps that will take you closer to being able to trust
him or her again. Even if you decide to leave the
relationship, your goal may
be to trust a future partner's words and motives and feel a
deeper connection with this new person.
Making completions with the past, coming back to the present
moment and turning toward the future will put you in a
position to continue toward your goals and vision-- whatever
There's really no need for anyone out there to resort to
spying-- whether it's hiding under a partner's vehicle or
opening private e-mail or cell phone records. You can become
clear about how you feel about your relationship at this
time and make requests for information or different
behaviors to address what you want.
Ultimately, we encourage you to root yourself in this
present moment and clearly communicate to your partner what
you want from your relationship. Be willing to listen not
only to him or her, but also to your own self and make your
next step from those sources.