So I found out my girlfriend and her ex are still texting one another. I grabbed her smartphone while she was taking a shower, since I needed to look something up and my phone had crashed. I could see that she had a message on her phone, which I thought was from a mutual friend who shares the same name with her ex (Kate). I clicked into the message to see what Kate had to say and it didn’t make sense, so then I clicked on the contact and saw it was from her ex Kate. I scrolled through their conversation before I really knew what I was doing. I was surprised and curious since she hadn’t mentioned being in touch with Kate. It looks like my girlfriend reached out to Kate to congratulate her on finishing up grad school and then they’ve kept in touch on and off since then. Kate mentioned she might be coming to our town for a job interview, and now I’m worried that my girlfriend is going to meet Kate and since she hasn’t told me they’ve been in touch that she might be interested in starting something up. I feel embarrassed for snooping but also hurt. I tense up when she’s on her phone, worried she’s talking to Kate. Am I overreacting? Should I ask if she’s going to meet Kate?
There are a zillion legitimate reasons your girlfriend hasn’t told you she’s in touch with Kate. And the only way you’re going to know there is a legit reason (and set your mind at ease) is by confessing that you snooped.
I’m not trying to shame you for snooping, because it sounds like an honest mistake. But once you realized the mistake, you kept scrolling—when you could have put down the phone.
Now that you know she’s talking to Kate-the-ex, not friend-Kate, you want to snoop again to see what new messages come in. It’s a vicious circle, so I would tell your girlfriend, the sooner the better, because it’s causing you emotional distress.
Come clean, apologize, tell her how embarrassed you feel, and then ask what’s going on with Kate. Your story sounds plausible. You thought it was your mutual friend, you phone was dead, you weren’t intending to snoop, but your assumptions were wrong and you found something out, etc. With luck, your girlfriend will believe that you didn’t mean to go through her texts.
Your girlfriend should want to be transparent with you, and should tell you what happened with Kate (which you already know most of, again, because of the snooping).
Ideally it’s nothing. Probably it’s nothing. But let’s say the specific flavor of nothing is that she wants to meet Kate for coffee, because she’s the sort of lesbian who wants to maintain friendships with her exes. How will you handle that?
Or what if she isn’t going to meet Kate because she’s out of town that weekend, but is going to trade texts with her once a week…Can you withhold the temptation to check those texts?
I’m not trying to put bad scenarios in your brain, but to challenge you to think over how you’ll respond if your girlfriend does want to have regular contact with Kate on some level. You’re pretty freaked by a text exchange and your brain went to the worst case scenario. As upset as it makes you feel, you don’t get to tell your girlfriend whether or not she can have contact with Kate. All you can do is tell her how it makes you feel, and talk about that.
As upset as it makes you feel, you don’t get to tell your girlfriend whether or not she can have contact with Kate. All you can do is tell her how it makes you feel, and talk about that.
If you get squirmy thinking about this, you may have some trust issues. Exploring those (in therapy or with a good friend) will help you believe and trust your girlfriend when she assures you she is committed to you. Or there may be some other signs of trouble in your relationship—I hope not, for your sake, but I can’t see the bigger picture. If your girlfriend is evasive or lashes out when you explain, your worries could be true—and it’ll take more conversations to get to the bottom of things. Good luck!
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