Whole Life Magazine

February/March 2014

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Page 27 of 43

Be honest now: Would you ever snoop on your partner? Have you ever snooped, or been snooped on yourself ? On a scale of one to ten, do you find the idea of snooping ethically indefensible, or is it necessary pragmatism? Several recent studies reveal the embarrassing truth: We snoop. But in the digital era we've moved from grainy photo- graphs of people leaving hotels and checking col- lars for lipstick, to on- line monitoring. In 44 percent (nearly half !) of 920 couples in a 2010 study, at least one part- ner was secretly moni- toring the other's digital private life. Within that group, 20 percent were men, 43 percent were wom- en, and 37 percent of couples secretly monitored each other. Ten percent of couples secretly read each other's emails or texts. And in 16 percent of couples, one partner even kept tabs on the other's browsing history. Some study participants went so far as to install monitoring soware, read instant message logs, and even pretend to be another person online in order to lure a partner to cross a boundary and 'prove' infidelity. And it is primarily about fidelity, at least according to most admitted snoopers. Although 25 percent of men in another study were happy for their wives to look at sexual material online, most women don't want their partners viewing cyber porn, engaging in cybersex, falling in love with someone else or even flirting online, and a good many—70 percent—would disap- prove of their partner discussing relationship difficulties to a third party. LIKELY OCCASIONS So let's say you have a home, a family and a life togeth- er, but although you sense something is amiss—may- be your partner showers a little too oen, regularly deletes digital history or has a second phone— you're getting repeated reassurance that you're imagining things. Maybe you are! Although transac- tion monitor Verity receives about one hundred calls a week from individuals concerned about their partner's activities, between 70–80 percent of those monitored by the com- pany are not having an affair. ey really are working late. ey really are out with their pals. "at can be a bitter pill to swal- low too, accepting that your partner might be happier [spending time with] someone else than with you," says Kate Figes, author of Our Cheating Hearts: Love & Loyalty, Lust & Lies. "at's the most difficult thing for people, when there isn't something going on." Why We Snoop on Our Lovers W E'RE 30 YEARS PAST THE PROJECTED DATE, BUT GEORGE ORWELL WOULD STILL NOD KNOWINGLY AT THE BIG BROTHER-STYLE REVELATIONS OF EDWARD SNOWDEN. THE FACT THAT WE'RE BEING SNOOPED ON HAS CAUSED WIDESPREAD INDIGNATION, BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT MANY OF US DO IT TO OURSELVES, AND TO OUR VERY OWN PARTNERS. By Suzanne Harrington 28 wholelifetimesmagazine.com WLT-FEB-MAR-1-30.indd 28 1/30/14 1:10 AM

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