Spying on Your Partner: Good or Bad?

Updated on November 4, 2017
theraggededge profile image

A long time ago, I had a stalker. He still pops up now and then. I like to think I can help others in the same situation.

It’s very tempting to want to spy on your partner, especially if you suspect them of cheating. There are so many ways to monitor their behavior in this digital age, and adding an undetectable app to their phone takes a matter of a minute or two. Who could resist the idea of keeping an eye on their partner's Facebook activities, Whatsapp chats, browsing history, emails, texts, calls and location?

Yet, however tempted you are to do so, is it really acceptable to spy on your partner?


Do You Have a Moral Right to Spy?

It’s 99.9 percent likely that you do not have a right to spy on your partner. Every human being has a right to privacy. It is fundamental to our well-being and security. In some states and countries it is illegal to spy on another person unless you have a legal warrant.

Perhaps you feel you need to do this to reassure yourself that all is well? Maybe you have convinced yourself that you are keeping her safe? After all, you only need to confirm that he isn’t spending time with another woman. Once you’ve checked, you won’t need to do it again. Or will you?

The Spying Habit

Spying can become a habit. An addiction. An obsession even, if it gets out of hand. You’ll be glued to your phone watching their every move. Waiting for them to make a ‘mistake’. You’ll be reading meaning into their words which they probably never meant.

You’re getting a thrill from your snooping. Far from being reassured, you want to feel vindicated. You want to find something, anything to justify your own behavior.

When spying, snooping and monitoring becomes a compulsion - in other words, you cannot stop even if you want to - you must seek professional help.


Surely it’s OK to Check my Boyfriend’s Facebook?

If you have a mutual agreement, and he is allowed to check yours, then, yes, it’s fine. Otherwise, no. It’s still spying.

Ask Yourself These Questions Before You Spy

  1. Would you be fine with it if he were spying on you?
  2. Are you prepared to lose your relationship when she finds out?
  3. Do you think you are misreading the situation?
  4. What are your reasons for this lack of trust?

Think about how you would feel if you discovered your partner was doing to you what you are doing to them. Really try to understand how violated and hurt you'd be if your partner was watching you in the same way. Listening in to your calls. Knowing where you are every single second of the day and night. Would you be happy with that?

Let’s say she becomes suspicious that you are watching her. She gets her phone checked. Or maybe you slip up and mention something that he has never discussed with you. In most cases the relationship will end, right there. You lost everything.

Are you sure you are not overreacting? I had a boyfriend once, who having spotted a gorgeous convertible in town with the license plate letters, BEV, immediately thought I must be having an affair with the owner and began following me. He was that insecure. Perhaps her texts to her ex are not as incriminating as you want to believe? Maybe his flirty chat on FaceBook is innocent?

Where did this gnawing doubt and lack of trust come from? Has your boyfriend or girlfriend been unfaithful to you in the past? Were you cheated on by your ex spouse? Is it your suspicious, possessive and jealous nature to need to know what they are doing when you’re not with them?

How to Stop Someone Spying on Your Facebook Account

1. Get Log In Notifications
Log in to Facebook.
Go to the Settings Menu.
Select Security/Log in Alerts
Select ‘Get Notifications’ and you will receive a message anytime someone logs in to your Facebook from another device.

2. Log In Approvals
As above go to Security and click on Log in Approvals.
Click on the button that says “Require a security code to access my account from unknown browsers”.
You will receive a text message asking you to confirm a code each time your Facebook is accessed from an unauthorized device or unrecognized browser.

3. Make Sure you Log Out on Every Device
Go to Settings > Security > Where you're logged in.
Facebook lists every device, what it is, where it is and when the last log in occurred. Many of these will be old devices.
When you log out of Facebook on your current device log out properly’ rather than just closing the web page. On your phone, click the X.


I Need to Know Where My Husband Is Going

In a healthy marriage your partner will be open about where they are and where they have been. If you think your spouse is lying, then it is time to address the issues.

If your partner has requested that their movements be tracked because they feel vulnerable when out and about, that’s fair enough. Especially if your spouse is infirm or mentally unwell. It is also a good idea for parents of teenagers to be able to track their phone.

Should you feel the need to track your partner’s phone and monitor their location without them being aware, then you must know that you are invading their privacy.

I Spy on Her to Take Care of Her

There was a story in the British press a couple of years ago. A woman discovered that her geeky husband had installed tracking and monitoring apps on her phone and those of their teenagers. He did it without asking them or giving them an explanation.

At first the woman was mad with her husband but after thinking it through, she decided she was okay with it. She felt safer.

If you are justifying your spying in this way, then you should be able to open and up-front about it. Tell your partner. Or better yet, ask them first.

When Spying on Your Spouse Is Okay

In some cases, spying is fine because it has been sanctioned by the other partner. If a couple is trying to rebuild trust in their relationship then the ‘guilty’ partner will offer up their personal account passwords: Facebook, email, etc. in order to put their spouse’s mind at rest.

At the beginning the betrayed spouse is able to check on his or her partner’s activities whenever they want to. As they become reassured that the misdemeanor was a one-off, they become more secure and checking will naturally begin to decrease.

Where Is the Love in Your Relationship?

You must know these facts:

  • If you are suspicious, you can’t be feeling love.
  • If you are insecure, you aren’t feeling love.
  • If you are jealous, you aren’t in a loving state.
  • If you are addicted to snooping, you are not expressing love.

Love cannot exist in you when you are feeling negative emotion. It isn’t possible. Love and fear (because that is what all this boils down to - fear) cannot exist side-by-side.

What Do You Think?

Is it ever okay to spy on your partner? Have you been spied upon or spied on someone else? How did it turn out? Please share your experience.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • My partner and I were in the same city. Everything was going great until she moved to another city for her job. After a few months, there were sudden changes in behavior. She stopped calling at night but her phone was busy with some other guy. Slowly she stopped notifying me about her activity and hiding things from me. On asking, she says that I doubt that she only loves me. But actually, there is a massive change in her love and behavior. What to do?

    Looks like your relationship is coming to an end. Personally I would finish it before she does. This is important because it makes you feel in control. If she dumps you it will feel ten times worse.

  • I've been dating this guy for about a month now. I was helping to fix something on his phone when a message popped up. I swear I wasn't snooping, it just popped up. I realized he was asking some other girl out, and got angry and decided to check his other messages. It turns out that he's asked five other girls to be their boyfriend. I'm really sad and hurt about this. What should I do?

    Dump him. He doesn't deserve you.

  • I asked my boyfriend's ex whether he talks to her behind my back. Now I'm scared she is going to tell him that I asked. What can I do?

    There isn't anything you can do except to tell him yourself before she does. Just say, "I met your ex the other day. I asked her if you two are still in touch."

    You didn't say what she said. So if he is chatting to her without telling you, he's essentially micro-cheating. If you can't trust him, then your relationship is doomed anyway.

    Sort this out. Talk to him. Tell him you are anxious about his ex. Try to establish trust.

  • My spouse and I have been married 32 yrs. A few months ago I began going to see my sister for 15 days at a time. Sex is non-existent in our marriage, he thought I was cheating. How do I deal with this?

    Maybe you should send him the link to this article? You probably, as a couple, need relationship counseling. Ask him if he'd be willing to consider it.

  • I recently busted my husband doing an inordinate amount of cocaine. He knew it was a deal breaker, since day one. Ten years later, I'm very committed to him. And the drug habit he keeps well hidden from me is still going on. I'm told that he does it our own home. I've been considering setting up a nanny cam to see if it's true. How does this weigh in on your scale of what's ok? I've been intensely betrayed by the man I love, and I have found out what a competent liar he is.

    On my scale, well, I'd dump him. As a drug addict he is not the person you made your vows to. It's obvious that he knew he was/is betraying you. So for me, it's ultimatum time: either get help to get clean, or leave.

© 2017 Bev G

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    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      6 months ago from Wales, UK

      Your girlfriend has no control over the behavior of other people. Just be happy she is not responding. Maybe you could gently suggest that she un-friends them? Don't make a big thing about it though.

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      My girlfriend and I have been dating for four months now and she have asked me for my phone a couple of time now she checks it and she doesn’t find anything because I’m not doing anything bad I’m loyal to her. The other day we came back home from a bar and she was drunk she fell asleep and something told me to look through her phone when I went on social media I find chats that she had with other guys before we got together which it’s okay with me because she wasn’t with me at the time but the fact that these guys are still messaging her is bothering me even though I see that she is not responding to the messages

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      8 months ago from Wales, UK

      Why do you want to? I would say that if you think spying on your boyfriend is a good thing, then you don't love or trust him. And if love and trust aren't there, your relationship is empty and very likely doomed.

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      How can i spy on my boyfriend

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      12 months ago from Wales, UK

      Indeed, Alex. Every human is entitled to their privacy. If your wife allowed you access with her full permission, then I'd say she is a very tolerant lady. If she didn't, and you invaded her privacy without permission, you must find a way to deal with your negative feelings. Perhaps you need to do some self-introspection to discover why you felt it necessary to do this?

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      My wife and I lived in a long distance relationship and I always wanted to have access to her account as it seemed to break that distance. But now I think that I had some issues that I have not been aware of. Somehow to this moment I thought it was okay check email etc if I felt interest or wanted to learn something. I think that it caused me a lot of disservice and our relationship too, this behaviour results in feelings of fear and shame and guilt. Really it is sad that I just started thinking about it as about my problem not a way of getting around.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      18 months ago from Wales, UK

      Hi Stephanie, for the time being don't do anything. Let him think about what he wants from (and for) your relationship. If he doesn't start to talk to you about it, then you will know when to make a decision about how to proceed. Be patient.

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      I do track my husband. It doesn't track him constantly, just when I feel the need to locate him. In my case, my husband has recently been caught in lies. He was gone all of the time "working", and I was noticing a lot of withdrawals of money coming from our bank account. Sometimes multiple withdrawals a day. I'd ask him about it, and he always said it was for gas or cigarettes, or some other random bull. One day this past december he was out way later than expected, and would not answer his phone. So, getting panicky I installed a tracking app. He was not where he said he was. I tracked him on this app for about a week, and found out he was lying to me on a daily basis. He was spending our money at the casino, going during hours when he should have been at work. Lord knows, we do not have extra money and he was just throwing it out the window. So, I said nothing to him until the week was up. Then I told him what I knew. He was angry of course, but he was caught. He apologized eventually, and has not, as far as I know been back. I still do track him from time to time, and today I tracked him since he was late getting home, and I asked him where he was and he lied. He's very angry that I still track him, but he's only givingv me more reason not to trust him. I don't know what to do.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      20 months ago from Wales, UK

      You are right on all counts, LaTrice. You can never reassure someone who cannot be reassured.

    • Miss Liberty31 profile image


      20 months ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I absolutely enjoyed reading this article. I believe spying on your significant other isn't a good idea, because it doesn't put anyone's mind at ease. Despite doubts and suspicions, it's best to address your concerns clearly.

      It's not necessary to make assumptions without knowing the truth. My ex-boyfriend lashed his insecurities out on me, even though I wasn't doing anything wrong. If he had any questions, all he had to do was ask. I was unable to keep the door of communication open, so ending the relationship became the best option. There was nothing I could do to put his insecurities at rest.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 years ago from Kuwait

      Right! :)

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      2 years ago from Wales, UK

      Absolutely, Sakina. I could never continue a relationship where there was no trust. x

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 years ago from Kuwait

      Great hub Bev! :) I believe spying is not a good thing. Even if you have doubts or suspicions, you should clear it with your partner. It's just like assuming things without knowing the real truth. Thankfully, I haven't been spied by my fiance and vice-versa. A relation needs to be open. Doubts and insecurities will inflict negativity and drive away the trust and love.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      2 years ago from Wales, UK

      I agree, dashingscorpio, the ultimate passive aggressive weapon. Thanks for your comment.

    • dashingscorpio profile image


      2 years ago

      Is it OK to Spy on your Partner? No!

      If you don't trust your mate the relationship is over.

      The purpose of spying is to (confirm) one's suspicions.

      Assume you are correct!

      Unless you have a history of being paranoid or insure there is no reason for you to ignore your gut instinct.

      If something doesn't (feel right) to you it's probably not right for (you). Essentially the urge to play "private detective" is an ego exercise to be able to confront one's future ex with proof that they didn't outsmart you.

      If cheating or whatever it is you suspect he/she is doing is a "deal breaker" then move on. Life is too short to be running surveillance.

      Not many things are worse then getting caught snooping through someone's things. Suddenly they go from being a "suspected cheater" to you being seen as a paranoid insecure psycho "stalker"!

      Naturally they will tell all of their friends, family, and possible people in your inner circle about your antics of snooping through their phone, reading emails, following them around town, checking their browser history and Facebook page. Justifiably people are often scared people who creep around.

      In many ways snooping is the ultimate "passive aggressive" act. Instead of communicating what your feelings or thoughts are you pretend like you're happy and quietly look for proof to confirm what you suspect.

      If you don't trust someone you will never be "all in" in the relationship. You will always be "holding back". Needless to say it doesn't mean you should automatically trust everyone that comes along. Allow people time to (earn) your trust and if you still don't trust them move on. You have no reason to doubt yourself.

      Know yourself, Love yourself, Trust yourself!


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