How can I talk to my partner about what I found on their cell phone? This question comes up a lot in counseling sessions. The first thing I must do when I hear this question is not to be judgmental or critical of the person asking, until I can ascertain what is really behind this particular question?
What I am actually hearing is I don’t trust my partner. Which beckons the question, what has taken place in the relationship that would make you pick up your partner’s phone to check and see what you may or may not find? Checking your partner’s phone is merely a symptom of a much larger issue in the relationship. So to answer the question, how can I talk to my partner about what I found on their cell phone? You simply trust who you are in the relationship and who they are in the relationship and have an adult conversation. Relationships need four critical ingredients to survive love, trust, respect and clear communication.
Love – because you need to have a soft place in your heart that allows you to extend grace and forgiveness to your partner.
Trust – because you need to believe that you and your partner value the commitment you have made to one another enough to not deliberately do "sneaky" things that would harm the relationship.
Respect – because you need to be able to respect one another’s need for privacy and healthy space in the relationship.
Clear Communication – because if you do not clearly communicate your needs, you will continually have conflict and a sense of insecurity which will promote the desire for you to “snoop” on your partner.
So go to your partner with an open heart, trusting spirit, respectful mannerisms, and tone and clearly communicate that you had a moment of weakness, checked their phone without their knowledge and were bothered by what you saw. This approach will hold you and your partner accountable while setting the stage for a mature adult conversation.
If you find transparent communication between you and your partner challenging, counseling can help.
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