Mobile phones have become a blueprint of our inner lives. The photos we take of family and holidays, the texts from ex-boyfriends we save and the numbers of old friends we never use. Beneath the shiny exterior lies all this information about where we’ve been, what we’ve done and who we’ve seen.
So when you have serious doubts that your boyfriend isn’t as shiny as he appears, is it acceptable to go into his inbox?
This was the dilemma I faced one morning when my boyfriend, Sam* was in the shower and his phone was on the bedside table. My friend had gone through the phone of a guy she was sleeping with once, not out of suspicion, but mere boredom. She found texts from another girl declaring her undying love to him. My friend wasn’t so much shocked as impressed that someone could have such strong feelings about him. She didn’t, and never would, despite this endorsement.
This was different. I was in deep and there had been rumours, things that didn’t add up to just the two of us, questions, denials and the overwhelming feeling that I was losing my mind. Enough was enough. I needed to be right more than I needed to be happy. If being in love with someone you’re not sure you can trust can count as happiness. (It can’t.)
There were texts from a number of women it appeared he had met up with on drunken nights out. I’d been vindicated and I found solace in the fact that at least I wasn’t going crazy.
He naturally denied that anything had actually happened; “It was just harmless flirting”. I wanted to believe him. I couldn’t. I wanted there to be a way that I could be right and happy. There wasn’t.
Incidentally, he had serious moral objections to the fact that I had looked through his phone. It was convenient for him, to deflect the blame back to me, but that doesn’t mean that the point wasn’t at least somewhat valid. Delving too far into someone’s life or phone without their permission is a breach of their trust, regardless of what you find there or your motivation.
Sam said, “There are no winners in a break up, only degrees of losing”. Well then I was the biggest loser of all time. He had broken my trust and I had had to break his to find out.
I haven’t looked in another guy’s inbox since. Instead, I trust myself to not get into a situation where I would feel like I needed to.
Sam and I have kept very loosely in touch over the years, thanks to another technological blueprint, Facebook. He got married last year to a girl with big teeth. Six months ago I got a message at 3am. He was drunk. He wanted to see me. Maybe I’m not the biggest loser after all.
*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.