We have an innate tendency to be curious, and that is not entirely a bad thing.
Without curiosity, learning would never take place because we would not care to learn new things. The media – print, broadcast and digital – would become obsolete.
If it were not for curiosity, would you be eager to know if indeed Beyoncé and Jay-Z are onto baby number four? If you have made a mental note to google whether Beyoncé is pregnant, then my point is home.
We are a curious lot that remains undeterred in digging for the juicy details even in the face of threatening sayings such as ‘curiosity killed the cat’. After all, we are not cats.
That said, curiosity is a double-edged sword that cuts deeply. Like fire, it is a good servant but a terrible master.
When you have a hold of your curiosity and use it for learning, exploring, discovering and improving within certain boundaries, it can take you to great heights.
Problems arise when curiosity takes you captive and you cannot control your actions. You start snooping on everything – from other people’s emails to your neighbour’s homes. Some people go as low as becoming peeping toms.
This toxic curiosity when dragged into relationships is what drives us to begin spying on our partners. We start tracking their every move and cramming their phone passwords.
Going through your partner’s phone is rather unnecessary and here are my reasons:
1. It is intrusive. The designers of mobile phones in their wisdom incorporated passwords to safeguard user privacy. His phone is a safe space for him to keep track of intricate details of his life.
He probably has apps that assist him in managing confidential information on health, money, schedules and so forth. Accessing this information without his consent is simply disregarding his privacy.
Secondly, and this calls for a reality check on your part, he has other people in his life besides you. His colleagues, friends, acquaintances and family members, including the female ones, are an integral part of his life.
Conversations shared with these people do not concern you. If they did, he would have formed a WhatsApp group for all his contacts and then added you.
2. It compromises trust in the relationship. It is all nice and fun playing Nancy Drew until he finds out. Then you will truly wish the ground would open up and swallow you.
If he cannot trust you to respect his privacy, then who is to tell what he can trust you with? Can he trust you not to pinch a few notes from his wallet? Can he trust you not to hire private investigators to track his every move?
Going through his phone and getting caught while at it makes you the untrustworthy one in the relationship, good intensions aside.
3. It might open a Pandora’s box in your relationship. You cannot predict the kind of intel you will come across on his phone. Sometimes the phone has nothing much save for the Candy Crush app, a few text messages from Safaricom, and a handful of contacts.
This can either be reassuring or spark more suspicion as you wonder where he is hiding his other phone – the ‘real one’. Other times, the phone reveals life-altering information that you are not psychologically prepared to handle. It could be information he is holding on to until he prepares you for it or finds a professional who can ease the blow as he reveals the information. It could even be information that can end the relationship.
And sometimes, a perfect surprise is ruined just because you could not keep your itchy fingers off his phone.
4. It is an indicator of deeper underlying issues within the relationship. When the urge comes to quickly go through his phone while he is singing in the shower, pause and examine your real intention of wanting to snoop.
Has his behaviour changed lately? Do you suspect that he is cheating on you? Do you think he is spending too much money on his relatives? Do you feel like he is deliberately ignoring your text messages?
Whatever it is, the phone will not respond to your questions. It is only but a gadget. Talk to your man and let him put your concerns to rest. If you must indeed go through his phone, do it together.
What if he refuses to let us go through his phone, you ask? Look girl, he is your man, you will know what to do then.
5. It leads to feelings of guilt and shame. Imagine going through his phone and finding nothing incriminating. You rush to WhatsApp chats and find this flirty text complete with a wink emoji:
"Just thinking about you. You looked so hot in a suit today."
It is from Stacy from HR. When Stacy from HR hits on you then you know you are done because, to whom will you file your sexual harassment complaint?
Anyway, your heart thuds as you scroll down to his reply:
"Thank you Stacy for the compliment. We have such a great professional relationship and I wouldn’t wish to mess that."
You place the phone back to where it was as guilt sears your heart like a hot metal rod. You realise it was unnecessary and foolish to spy on such a great guy.
6. It is a highly addictive and toxic behaviour. Once you get started, it is a slippery slope going down… down… down…into oblivion. One peek will not be enough; you will want to check again several times.
When you fail to find something incriminating, you will keep checking to ensure he is still behaving properly.
You will stay updated with the latest spying bugs and plant them on his phone. You will become obsessed with reading his messages like I am with reading Jackson Biko every week.
Then one day he will summon you and place a small familiar bug on the table. You will recognise the bug because you planted it yourself. With raw hurt in his eyes, he will look into your eyes and ask, “why?”
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