Hi Dr. Buckingham,
I have been married for six years, and my husband and I grew up in different countries (I in the U.S. and he in the Caribbean). He was very honest with me from the beginning about his extensive sexual past. I was a virgin when we married. He keeps in contact with a lot of people from his homeland via social media. And I recently found out he was speaking to someone he used to sleep with (but didn’t consider to be a girlfriend); she was reminding him of the intimate times they had together and sending naughty pictures, and from what I saw, he didn’t tell her to stop. I told him I was uncomfortable with it, and he told me it was nothing serious, he was just “joking around” with her; he has since blocked her on all his social media accounts.
The problem is I found this out by going through his phone (I know it’s wrong). To be honest, I’ve done that on and off since we got married. Because I don’t know all his friends from his home, I felt this was a way to get to know who he was speaking to and what kind of relationships he had with them (male or female). This time though, the issue with this girl really threw me into a dark hole of insecurity, and I am continually pestering him about it. He didn’t change the passcode on his phone. But he has demanded that I stop going through his phone because he feels like he’s constantly being watched when he’s home and because he feels I’m hurting myself more than him when I do that.
I really do want to stop going through his stuff because it has caused other problems in the past. My question is: how can I feel comfortable to trust his word again fully when I feel he is now so overprotective of his phone? My biggest concern is that he will unblock this girl and start talking to her again now that he knows his wife won’t be going through his phone anymore.
Do I have a right to snoop or does my husband have a valid point—Should there be privacy in marriage?