Spying on Your Spouse

Things to Consider

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Privacy in a marriage is not only a right by law, but it is also an important aspect of a successful marriage. In spite of this, the business of spying on spouses, both by hiring a detective and by monitoring computer usage, is becoming quite profitable.

These businesses thrive although there are federal statutes that outlaw the interception of electronic communications and violation of privacy rights. The spy businesses thrive even though they are probably doing more harm than good to the marriages they investigate.

Reasons People Spy on Their Spouses

There are four primary reasons why people spy on their mates.

  • Suspicion of infidelity.
  • Curious as to why a spouse is spending an excessive amount of time on the computer.
  • A sense of entitlement to snoop and to know what a spouse is doing, viewing, hiding, or writing.
  • Irrational jealousy.

Electronic Eavesdropping

Electronic eavesdropping can be accomplished easily by checking the history (CTRL + H) on a computer. This file shows what sites the computer has visited.

However, someone who wants to cover their tracks will probably know how to clear the history files and also the cookie files. Monitoring software programs that record chat room conversations and save screenshots are also available.

Detective Services

If you make the decision to hire a private investigator to catch a cheater, make sure you find a legitimate detective firm.

  • Ask to see the investigator's license.
  • Verify with the County Clerk that the license and required bond is valid.
  • Request an estimate of the costs involved in handling your case. Ask for a written contract that includes compensation rates, and explanation of how expenses are charged.
  • Check on the availability of the investigator if you have questions or an emergency.

Things to Consider Before Spying

  • Have you tried using alternatives to spying first?
  • Are you aware of your spouse's right to privacy? How would you feel if your spouse was spying on you?
  • What are you trying to accomplish by spying on your spouse? Will the knowledge you gain save your marriage or harm it?

Bottom Line

If you've reached a point of believing you have to spy on your spouse, is there enough love and trust left in your marriage for it to survive?

Emily Yoffe: "You know who and what your husband is, so the question is who you are and what has this marriage done to you. You know that being an electronic parole officer is not going to make your husband faithful and reliable. You say he has put your health is at risk and your marriage is a sham. So the real question is not whether your snooping is justified, but when you are going to decide to get out."
Source: Emily Yoffe. "Ethics of Spying on Your Spouse." Slate.com. 10/23/2012.