Check My Wife's E-Mail With all the technological advances in communication today Dr. Terri L. Orbuch discusses the affects and remedies of spying on your spouse. BY DR. TERRI L. ORBUCH
Kaia Lai (www.kaialai.com)
Using your spouses tech gadgets as spy machines is a breach of trust
Why do I have a compulsion to check my wife's e-mail and voicemail?
This is about trust. Stop for a moment and think about how much you trust your spouse. Can you honestly say that they wouldn’t hurt or deceive you? Do you know in your heart of hearts that your spouse is honest and quite sincere in what they say to you? You might not even realize it, but trust is an important and necessary aspect of any relationship. In order for your relationship to move forward, you need to develop and nurture a level of trust between the two of you. If you trust your spouse, your inhibitions and worries will subside and you won't feel the need to check their e-mail, mail or phone messages!
But what if you don’t trust your spouse? What if you feel the need to check your spouse’s e-mail, mail and phone messages because you are worried about what they might be doing behind your back? At the beginning of a relationship, trust takes time to develop. Wait and see whether trust grows and expands over time. Plus, trust follows a clear pattern in most relationships: the more you trust your partner, the more your partner is likely to trust you.
If you are not in the early stages of your relationship, then listen carefully. Whether you trust your partner depends on you. Do you have the ability and desire to trust other people? You may be unable to trust other people, including your spouse because you are still hurting from a previous experience or relationship. Did you experience abuse in your childhood? Did you give and give to a former partner only to find out that they didn’t love you in return? Remember, trust is difficult to develop and perhaps even harder to re-establish once it has been broken.
There also are times when people we trust do harmful or hurtful things to us. Such acts are what we call betrayals—acts that violate the expectations we hold for our partners. There are hurtful things that we would all agree are acts of betrayal in our relationships, such as, if our partner has an affair or lies to us. These acts are painful because we are confronted with the fact that our partner, whom we trusted, is not as dependable, reliable or as honest as we thought they were. Perhaps your spouse did something to betray you in the past and you just can’t forget it?
Can you ever regain or strengthen trust in your spouse? The answer is yes. Trust can be rebuilt, but it takes a lot of work and commitment on both partners’ parts. You cannot rebuild trust in your relationship alone. You must both be highly committed to working on re-establishing trust. Here is some advice on how to rebuild or strengthen trust with your spouse.
To get started, set a specific time period (e.g., six weeks, six months) to both work on the relationship and trust. Then communicate your lack of trust to your spouse in a constructive way. Be sure you don’t attack your spouse (either physically or psychologically) and listen to their responses in any discussion or disagreement. It is very important both partners understand the other’s perspective. It may take time, but sit down together and make a list of the positive things in your relationship. Coming up with these qualities with your partner is important. The rebuilding or strengthening of trust takes a long time. Remember, when your relationship first started it took time to develop trust. To rebuild it, takes even longer—and that’s a message you and your spouse should both listen to.
Terri L. Orbuch, Ph.D., is a psychologist, sociologist, Oakland University professor, and research scientist at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She has written five relationship books; published over 40 articles about marriage, divorce, parenting, love, and sexuality; and recently released her 3-CD audio set, Relationship CPR: How To Breathe Life Into Your Relationship. If you want more information on this topic, or have a question, visit The Love Doctor on her website at www.detroitlovedr.com.