A woman confronts her boyfriend with evidence of infidelity on his phone

Is it OK to check up on your partner?

by Eharmony Editorial Team - April 16, 2012

Before the technological revolution checking up on your partner would usually involve quizzing them about where they had been, reading their letters or, in some old movies, following them to see if they were having a romantic rendezvous with someone else. In the age of social networking it is much easier to check up on someone, but is it ok?

No matter how long you’ve been with your partner, everyone has moments of distrust. But should you ever give in and check up on them behind their back? We investigate 

Relationships build over time as we get to know people. Some people are very open and reveal a lot about themselves straight away while others are a bit more of a closed book – harder to read and liable to frustrate someone who is eager to know more. There are also times when nagging doubts keep arising, which don’t seem to go no matter how much you talk to your partner and it can be tempting to find other ways of getting the information you want e.g. whether they are still in touch with their ex, where they were on Tuesday night etc. However valid and understandable your reasons, is it ever ok to check up on someone?


Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship. Some people approach relationships believing you start off with 100% trust and it only diminishes if something happens to break that trust. The other approach is to start off with little or no trust and build it over time as a person earns it. Wherever the starting point, trust can be earned and it can be lost through the actions of the other person.

How easy you find it to trust someone will be greatly affected by your past experiences. If you have been hurt or let down in the past you might find it very hard to trust again. The most common reason for someone to start checking up on their partner is because they feel insecure themselves. This may be as a result of a past experience or due to low self esteem. Whatever the reason, the truth is they are checking up on their partner because they want to feel secure but the very act of doing it is likely to make the relationship insecure.

Collecting evidence

If you feel unsure of your partner’s commitment, affection or truthfulness and you start checking up on them, then chances are that you will find things that justify your feelings of insecurity simply because that is what you are looking for. You may find seemingly unrelated, innocent events and weave them together as proof, simply because it is human nature to want to solve the puzzle. Paranoia may seem like a strong word but this type of behaviour is certainly a misuse of imagination and is likely to make you feel even more insecure. Remember, what you think about you bring about.

Ways people check up on their partners

 – Social media – this is now the most common way that people keep in touch with their partners. Checking someone’s status or seeing when they are online etc are perfectly acceptable behaviours. It only becomes potentially damaging to the relationship if you are hiding it from your partner or feel bad about what you are doing because deep down you know your partner would be unhappy about it. What people put on social networks is there because they are happy for it to be public knowledge, but sometimes people find themselves logging into their partner’s Facebook account or watching their activity on Twitter without letting on that they are doing it – that is the point at which it stops being ok.

 – Checking phone messages – Most people have a mobile phone that beeps and flashes with messages all day long. Sometimes the messages may make your partner happy, sometimes not, but whenever one comes through it can be tempting to ask who it is from and what it says. It is natural to want to be part of someone’s life and to progressively become more involved in their private world but it becomes a problem when you find yourself picking up their phone and checking the messages yourself when they are out of the room. Never tamper with your partner’s phone – it is private property –  and don’t read their messages unless they invite you to do so. It is not ok. This also applies to emails and instant messaging, it is like reading their diary and could give them a valid reason to end the relationship.

How would you feel?

The best way to make sure you are not crossing the line is to ask yourself how you would feel if your partner was checking up on you? If you believe you have genuine reasons to not trust someone then maybe the relationship isn’t the right one for you. Remember people who are secure in themselves and in the relationship have no need to check up on their partner.