Is My Husband (or Wife) Cheating on Me?
While driving in New Jersey a while back, I listened to a radio talk show about relationships. The topic of the day was whether we have the right to read our spouse's mail and email and check his or her cell phone text messages and call logs.
No matter which answer callers gave, the question itself, and their eagerness to engage it, disturbed me. A better question would be whether we stand to gain or lose by checking up on a spouse.
When we marry, we take a big risk, in exchange for an even bigger payoff. This question recognizes the risk. A spouse who steps out on us could bring home a deadly disease or destroy his or her career through scandal. An affair might result in the birth of a child or the death of our marriage.
We can reduce the risk by leaving our spouse no privacy. But we can't protect the payoff, the love we need in our lives, the feeling of being special to another human being, the support for our mission in life. Suspiciousness pushes all this away. We can't receive love and look for harm simultaneously. We can't distrust and feel love at the same time.
Whether we have the right to behave this way or not, by checking up on phone calls and email, we choose to give up the payoff that justifies the risk. We choose to lose.
A much better approach to dealing with our fear is to Assume Love and Find Third Alternatives.