I Snooped Through My Husband’s Phone and Hated What I Found

Does curiosity kill the relationship?

Holly Bradshaw
May 5 · 7 min read
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Have you ever thought about sneaking a peek at your significant other’s phone? More importantly — have you ever given in to the temptation and actually done it?

I have. Very recently.

For the first time ever in our 11-year relationship, I snuck a glimpse at my husband’s phone, which he had left out on the table after going to bed.

According to a survey by Whistle Out and Lux Insights, 50% of Americans admit to looking through their partner’s phone without said partner’s knowledge or permission. I’m not proud to admit that I’m among them.

I am not a perfect woman (newsflash). And I don’t claim to be a relationship coach or romantic guru. I don’t think any of us in a long-term relationship knows what the hell we’re doing.

What I am, though, is a woman who sometimes deals with insecurities. I’m also a woman who sometimes makes mistakes — especially when I’m stressed about the issues in my relationship.

Lately, my husband and I have been growing apart both emotionally and physically. Though I didn’t suspect him of cheating, I did suspect there were things he wasn’t telling me.

It made no sense, but I thought we could make our relationship more transparent by doing some very non-transparent detective work — never mind what a double standard that was.

I had considered doing it for weeks. And one night, there I was, suddenly with his phone in my hands.

Hurt By What I Discovered

The following are real texts I discovered on my husband’s phone while blatantly invading his privacy. They are between him and a very close, long-time female friend of his.

I can’t say enough that this is something I’m not proud of — and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it as a healthy thing to do for your relationship. It’s more of a cautionary tale of what not to do when you and your partner are going through a dysfunctional time.

1. I’m money-obsessed/too career-driven

She thinks this interview will help her writing career. All she cares about is money.

In this text, my husband’s referring to the time I was invited onto Jada Pinkett Smith’s show, Red Table Talk, to be interviewed about an article I wrote. They wanted both of us though, as the article was about him as well.

Yes, I’m sometimes ambitious about my career. Yes, I care about money — about feeding my family and helping my son and husband accomplish their dreams if I can (both have very expensive hobbies that they’d like to turn into careers). And yes, I’d love to not go back to my time in poverty as a single mom. That’d be great!

But him complaining to anyone that I’m too focused on making money is a hard limit for me. I simply don’t accept it.

I work full time and blog on the side. My income streams enable me to provide health insurance for my husband. They also allow me to pay all of the mortgage. We used to both pay half, but when I got a better job, I told him I would take care of it so that he could put more money into filmmaking or paying off his debt.

My hard work and “money obsession” helped make it possible for him to purchase that $450 film prop he wanted (which he did not tell me about), because I’m contributing more to the household bills. It makes it possible for me to do fun things for him, like rent us a beautiful cabin for our mini-honeymoon.

That’s another thing — not having to struggle with money allows us to be able to go on vacation, take time to relax, and focus on each other.

Does working to have these important things really mean I’m too focused on money?

If a woman works her ass off to support her family and help them have better lives (while also taking on more than her fair share of household chores and child-care tasks), she’s accused of being greedy or too ambitious in her career.

Hard limit for me.

2. Criticizing my drinking

“She was drunk. She’s drunk pretty much all the time lately.”

He has a point with this one. I’ve been drinking too much (no, not all the time), and it’s something I’m working on from week to week.

But I ask that you refer to the previous item on this list. Even though I’m not where I want to be with my drinking, I am working on drinking less. And I’m doing it while maintaining a steady job, bringing in extra side income, trying to keep up with our home, and spending quality time with my son and husband.

I’d say that’s more of an accomplishment than something to criticize.

3. She’s just not that into filmmaking

“If you and I were together, we’d make amazing movies. She’s not into film at all. She loves theater.”

It’s true. We are both deep into our art. But mine leans toward music, theater, and, of course, reading and writing. His passion for art is scriptwriting, makeup effects, and filmmaking.

Do all our talks about my dream of writing a Lifetime movie script mean nothing to him?

All joking aside, I understand he feels close to his friend because they can connect over a shared passion. But, I don’t sit there and complain to our friends that he doesn’t read my writing or that he’s not into singing show tunes like I am.

This particular text is an instance where I’m kicking myself for invading his privacy rather than being upset with him for feeling this way. Sometimes the truth hurts.

But in the end, I’m happy that he has someone he can share his art with. Because I understand I can’t be everything for him.

4. Incorrectly interpreting my sexual awakening

“She wants to feel better about herself, about whatever weird sexual thing she’s going through. She wants you to hook up with people too — so she doesn’t feel guilty.”

This was something she said to him when they were discussing my recent realization that I’m polyamorous. My biggest frustration here is that she’s completely misinterpreting polyamory and giving him completely false information about my personal sexual identity.

In the past couple of years, I’ve discovered not only a capability for, but also a strong inclination toward being attracted to and even having strong feelings for multiple people at the same time. I could even see myself falling in love with multiple people — without those feelings making my love for my spouse feel any weaker.

He’s still hesitant and not quite sure what to do with my desire for ethical non-monogamy, especially when I tell him it goes both ways, and he would be free to explore relationships with other individuals as well, if he wanted to.

This woman, who has never taken the time to ask me about my feelings, has it all wrong. I’m not telling my husband to go screw other women so I don’t feel bad about what I want. I’m not doing anything except openly communicating my truth with him. I want to be true to myself while also respecting his feelings and his boundaries.

5. And yes, naked pics

He’d sent her plenty of photos of his erect penis. Big surprise there. That’s honestly the only thing on this list that doesn’t bother me. Hence my identity as a polyamorous individual who wants to explore intimacy and passion with others in an open, honest, and ethical way.

I Admitted to My Snooping, and We Had a Breakthrough Conversation That Brought Us Closer

Sometimes the people closest to you aren’t fully honest with you. Sometimes they’re hiding emotional baggage that needs to be aired out in the open.

To this end, I’m glad I did what I did. It helped me see where my husband and I stood. In a way, I needed to get his real, raw, and brutally honest thoughts, which he would have tempered if I’d asked him directly. If these things remained unknown to me, they could have continued poisoning our relationship to the point of making us both miserable.

About a month after I snooped, I admitted to him that I looked in his phone while he was sleeping. I let him know that I saw the intimate body shots he’d sent his friend.

His response was non-verbal at first. I think I really caught him off-guard. He didn’t get upset or angry about it, either. He acted more like he’d been caught doing something wrong, when I was the one trying to confess to doing something hurtful to him.

We’re not the typical couple, that’s for damn sure.

I didn’t tell him all the specific details of the conversation I’d seen. (In other words, all the shit he’d talked about me.) But after we shared an eye-opening conversation about his intimate texting relationship with his gal, it seemed to open the door for us to talk about some of our other issues too. Like money and work and the fact that I’d like to explore polyamory in a way that would feel safe for both of us.

The Takeaway

In a relationship, each partner deserves privacy. It’s a matter of respect, and I disrespected him when I read through his phone without his permission — no matter he wasn’t as pissed about it as he had every right to be.

The better thing would be to love and respect my partner and ask him directly about his thoughts on why we’re growing apart. We could go to therapy together or just work on communicating more often, more openly, and more honestly.

I deserve my privacy when I’m talking to my close friends about the intimate details of my relationship. And I owe him that same consideration.

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories…

Holly Bradshaw

Written by

Curious creature, pursuer of passion, unbeliever in limiting or lengthy bios. Email me at hollybradshaw.writer@gmail.com.

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories, and share our lives together. We will not be silenced. We will be fearless. And we will write.

Holly Bradshaw

Written by

Curious creature, pursuer of passion, unbeliever in limiting or lengthy bios. Email me at hollybradshaw.writer@gmail.com.

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories, and share our lives together. We will not be silenced. We will be fearless. And we will write.

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