Monday, June 6, 2011

The Scoop on Snooping

A recent article in Redbook magazine offered up the experience of an undercover reporter who met up with men on AshleyMadison.com, the site that sells cheating by reminding us that "Life is short. Have an affair."
At the end of the piece – which basically details a bunch of men who insist that they're wives don't have a clue what they're up to – we're advised that we shouldn't snoop because marriage is about trust. No checking his BlackBerry, his web history for visits to AshleyMadison.com...or even looking for lipstick stains on his collar.
Instead, we are advised to talk to our husbands if we have any niggling suspicions about their...extracurriculars.
Which is, of course, a Catch-22. We generally have those suspicions because they're acting...well...suspicious. Like men who are having an affair. Which, if we're right, isn't generally going to elicit a fit of honesty. If they're like the vast majority of men who are, in fact, cheating, they'll generally deny. Like the guy who, caught in bed with another woman, insisted, "It's not what you think it is." Depending on our approach to our potentially cheating spouses, their level of guilt and their basic personality, we'll get any of a number of responses.
Self-righteous indignation: "I can't believe you think I would do that. What type of man do you think I am?"
Gentle reassurance: "I love you, sweetie. You have nothing to worry about."
Paranoid: "Do you need to know everything about me? Can't you just trust me? Wow...you sure don't think much of me, do you?"
Deflecting: "I'm amazed you bring this up because I've been wondering about you. You seem pretty flirty with your co-worker, Steve."
Etc.
What you likely won't get is, "yeah, in fact I have been thinking of having/am actually having an affair. I feel unappreciated and that life is passing me by and even though I know it's my own insecurity/mid-life crisis/insert-psychological-shortcoming-here, I think that having sex with someone and lying to you about it will distract me enough from own boredom/crises/fear of failure that I'm going to just go ahead and do it."
Ain't gonna happen.
And so...we snoop.
We check their Blackberry when they're not looking. We browse their Web history...or take note when it's wiped clean. We install keyloggers to monitor their online use (though beware, I think this is illegal without the person's consent). We slip recording devices beneath the seat of their car. We check VISA statements. We even follow them to see if they're going where they said they were...and with whom.
No, it's not pretty. And it's generally not our proudest moments.
But you likely wouldn't be reading this if your suspicions hadn't turned out to be true. I often remind readers that those gut feelings that something isn't right are worth paying attention to.
I never dreamed I would recommend snooping. I was one of those wives who thought it was pathetic. But then again, I was also one of those wives who never thought I'd be here.
Though it wasn't snooping that got me the truth, it certainly gave me a more complete picture of the affair than my husband initially gave.
And it just might give you the evidence you need to confront your husband...and know that his denial is total BS. And give you the information you need to protect yourself from STDs.
Snoop? I say that when you've got a gut feeling that won't go away and your husband won't give you a straight answer...yep.
What do you say?

8 comments:

  1. hell yes. i wish i had snooped sooner, and not ignored my instincts. i might have saved months of wasted time, time feeling guilty that something was wrong with my marriage, that it was my fault, and wondering how to fix it. gut feelings are strange things. they can be spot-on, yet it doesn't even occur to you to believe them. relationship after shitty relationship, my instincts prove to be true.

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  2. "yeah, in fact I have been thinking of having/am actually having an affair. I feel unappreciated and that life is passing me by and even though I know it's my own insecurity/mid-life crisis/insert-psychological-shortcoming-here, I think that having sex with someone and lying to you about it will distract me enough from own boredom/crises/fear of failure that I'm going to just go ahead and do it."

    Seriously LOVE THIS BLOG for the writing and quotes like the one above. You nailed it and made me laugh. And, I really needed a laugh today -- so thanks!

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  3. My pleasure! Thanks for the kind words.

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  4. I was a snoopy snooper and it didn't help me. Not one bit. He just didn't have anything for me to find as it was all one night stands whilst he was away :(
    Never ignore the gut instinct though. It has been right all along and I'll not doubt it again.

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  5. Positively, absolutely yes. "Snooping" has a bit of a negative implication. I call it self-protection, empowerment, and the only way I was ever able to gain a few more pieces of the puzzle. My WH is a compulsive LIAR. My discoveries and carefully considered revelations to him were the only way I got him to see that his outrageous denials and lies went beyond covering up an affair. They were a lifelong strategy for coping with his anxiety and depression. He finally had a breakthrough recognition and got the counseling he needed.
    We seem to be in a much stronger and happier union now, and I am relieved knowing that it was NOT MY FAULT. I am and will forever be attuned to potential opportunities for "relapse". What some call snooping is a survival tool for me.

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  6. If I hadn't snooped, my husband would likely still be having the affair which probably would have led to the death of our marriage. The whole "trust" thing is all very idealistic but when confronted, my husband just lied and lied and denied and denied until I had to shove the emails in his face. My snooping saved our marriage.

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  7. Just found this blog. Love it. I am a betrayed wife after 36 years married. My husband also has been a life long liar and I should probably kick his ass to the curb but haven't. I need to snoop and will snoop because I swear this is his last chance. I need to put a recording device in his car and a gps any suggestions?

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  8. Linda,

    Wow. Thirty-six years?? I'm so, so sorry.

    I'm no expert in surveillance/snooping as my husband crumbled within an hour of my confrontation. However, the folks over at survivinginfidelity.com have lots of great advice on voice-activated recorders and stuff like that. You have to register for the site...then you can post your question. People are really quick to respond. Sift through the advice and take what works.
    Good luck...though I'm not sure what "luck" would look like in this situation. :(

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