I need to get on the soapbox and say this.
Back when Horace the “Porn Addict” and I were clients of the couples therapy arm of the RIC (well, I was a client and he was a tourist), I used to catch hell from everyone concerned over “snooping.”
It went like this: I’d sense something was wrong and ask Horace about it. He’d lie. I’d live with being blamed for being suspicious, unsupportive, and emotionally withholding until the cognitive dissonance got unbearable, and then go looking for evidence. I’d find it. I’d confront him with his lies. I’d catch hell for “snooping” from him and our therapist because I had “violated his privacy and his trust in me.”
Yes! Oh the horror, oh the shame! I had violated his trust in his ability to lie to me without being caught! I had violated his privacy by going after information he was withholding that directly affected my life, health, and physical safety! Information I would have had in a healthy relationship! And that was so much worse than his lying, because that poor addict was Having a Relapse and deserved tender care!
The therapist actually gave me some good advice: If you don’t trust him, you shouldn’t be with him. That was the only time the RIC ever told me to trust myself. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to hear it, because I was all about marriage policing, hopium, pick-me dancing, and remodeling an ass into a unicorn. (There’s a reason that show never made cable.) The RIC encouraged all those things — but finding out the truth if the cheater didn’t want to give it was Terribly Wrong.
I’m out now, and life is getting better, but I want to make a few points about the RIC’s horror of “snooping” to those who might still be caught in that expensive mindfuck. You cover it in Snooping in the Modern Age – ChumpLady.com,
but this is for the guilt-ridden and for those afraid to “snoop” because the RIC books have taught them it’s a terrible betrayal of timid forest creatures who might be forced to relapse into their addiction! or return to the AP! if they can’t trust you to trust them when you have absolutely no reason to trust them! The whole situation is a not-at-all-cozy mystery in which every clue points to the picturesque little hamlet of Heslying Major.
1. Privacy and secrecy are different. Privacy is what you get in the bathroom (assuming you don’t have pets or toddlers) when you are legitimately using it. Secrecy is when you sneak in there to email Schmoopie or wank to images of trafficked women after understanding that’s a dealbreaker to your spouse.
2. Cheater lies or declares “I don’t owe you that information!” when asked for it? Shouldn’t have gotten married, then. Spouses owe each other truth and transparency. The exception is a spouse who is fleeing abuse and practices temporary secrecy in self-defense…and that would be the chump.
3. Looking for information that directly affects your own life, and that is unjustly withheld by a dishonest person, is not snooping. It’s discovery. Let’s start calling it that.
4. Needing justification for leaving is something attached people feel. The unattached person can lie, cheat, or desert on the slenderest excuse. Attached people, unfortunately, often need a D-Day or three before they will walk away from decades of attachment and devotion, even when they are beginning to understand they can’t save someone else. And people who have been mindfucked by abusers and the RIC often need some hard facts before they can reset their compasses to point back to the truth.
When I finally gave up and got the information I hadn’t had, it all fell into place, and I found my marriage had always been a sham. I left without further therapy or confrontation because I was done. He wasn’t exercising his right to his sacred privacy. He was preserving his cake and kibble supply while practicing mindfucking and other forms of abuse. He never intended to change.
Practice discovery, and the truth will set you free. But don’t call it “snooping.”
Thanks. I feel better. Hope I didn’t inadvertently plagiarize you, because I’ve read so much. Thanks for helping me get to where I could write this.
Thanks for the guest column on this three-day holiday weekend. I would only add that no one can sustain hypervigilance for very long. The Marriage Police is no way to live. Unfortunately, a lot of chumps give in and don’t push discovery because the battle for transparency is exhausting. Which is just another way of saying this shit tends to be doomed. If you’re Trust But Verify, it’s already over. Wake up and realize it.
In an era where Google knows what I ate for breakfast, “snooping” seems pretty quaint. No one wants to live under a microscope (and God knows abusers use surveillance on chumps too) — again, I say, DOOMED.
End the Cold War, call a lawyer. CN, anything to add on the subject of “snooping”?