I was totally shattered by what I found. I looked and I shouldn’t have. And there was no erasing the words I’d seen on his phone screen -- words from another woman. Words that spoke of more than friendship. Who was I kidding? There was something going on. The phone was just lying there, next to his side of the bed, and he was out. I'm not naïve. I know that he has friendships with women that I don't know. After working in the same office for nearly a decade it would be strange for him not to be close to his work colleagues, both male and female. That was how I dealt with it. But this was different.
I wanted to punish her. I wanted to punish him more.
Should I, in a jealous rage, confront him and beat the details out of his sorry ass, but in doing so cause him to change his password and become an instant eraser of texts? Or should say nothing and keep this window into his private world open to see whether the relationship developed further?
So, I became addicted to checking his phone. I read his texts. Not only that. I went to his email. Sometimes I got to his email before he did. The adrenalin would course through me. I worried he would be looking at his email on his phone at the same time as I was on them on the computer. What would happen if I didn’t get to mark the emails I was reading as unread before he saw they had been read on his phone? But I felt entitled. I needed to know. I became bold and would even look when he was in the house. I went through his papers, receipts and coat pockets just looking for the evidence. I spent hours playing detective, convincing myself that I had been wronged. I became obsessed, unproductive and I hated what this was doing to me.
And I found nothing concrete. I found a connection, and a “friendship”, with a woman who laughs at his messages and who enjoys him. It crosses a line and it quietly kills me. But I found more. I saw all the intimacies of his world – a work dinner he hadn’t yet mentioned to me, a potential guys weekend away, news from a friend of ours of his father’s illness, photos of a friend’s kid, and it started an even deeper festering in me. Innocuous things he would always tell me of in his own time, I now knew of and was resenting him for not sharing these things with me as soon as he knew of them.
It is a horrible place to be.
I knew I didn’t like or respect myself for doing this. I want to say I have told him about what I've seen and what I have been doing. I want to speak up for myself and tell him my feelings of having been wronged. I want him to admit that the friendship crossed that 'line' and has become a little too close. I want to hear an explanation that I believe and be able to say that our relationship took on a deeper understanding as a result.
But the crime now feels it has become mine. I have invaded every level of his privacy. I am angry with him for all the other things I now perceive him as not sharing with me, for this full life he has that I now, irrationally, feel I am not a part of. I'm afraid our conversation might all go horribly wrong. His trust in me will be gone. My trust in him went, of course back then and maybe it was teetering long before I checked his phone that first time. But there is a corrosive effect to the spying I have done.
I will have to talk to him as I should have after finding that first message. I know this is the only route forward, but it now seems an insurmountable mess, and like an addict I still have to resist the compulsion to check up on him…