My girlfriend and I have a problem. She doesn’t trust me — or at least cannot stop snooping through my stuff. Most specifically, my cell phone. I don’t have anything to hide and really don’t care if she looks in my phone or my desk and computer, but I do mind that she does it behind my back. She almost broke my phone the other day trying to toss it back onto the coffee table when I came into the room. It also bothers me that she doesn’t trust me. I have asked her why, and she says she does trust me, but can’t help looking. Other times she just denies that she has looked — like when she obviously read my email because she asked how a meeting went that I had not mentioned having beforehand. She claimed that I told her, but I know I didn’t.
How do I convince her to trust me, or to at least to just ask instead of sneaking behind my back? My best friend says it’s a deal-breaker, but I disagree. I’ll live with it if I have to, but would be a lot happier if I knew she felt as secure as I do in our relationship.
I would be inclined to feel like your best friend, but that is a personal point of view and certainly does not have to be the case for you. Changing your girlfriend is going to be tough, so you might first look at your part.
Is there anything you do, even unintentionally, that may cause your girlfriend to worry? Do you stay out late with the guys without calling, or act vague about your plans and/or your time away from her and your home? Sometimes a clean conscience can lead one to behave carelessly toward another. When you talk about your friends, name names; when you decide to stay out for an extra hour, call or text home. It seems a bit juvenile, but it may help.
If you really don’t mind her reading your email, leave it open when you leave. If it is work-sensitive, then don’t have it available on your home computer. When you leave the room or the house and are not taking your phone, just give it to her. Don’t be a dick about it, but just hand it over. This way she doesn’t have to throw it across the room when you return. Clearly she’s no Nancy Drew.
Try leaving her sweet messages like “I love you” or “I miss you, too” to find when she goes snooping in your cell phone or computer. You could tuck her favorite snack in your desk drawer with a bow or a little note. Then it becomes more like a thoughtful game: Instead of her taking something from you, you are giving something to her. Don’t discuss it, just do it. You can be coy about it, but not sarcastic or flippant or crass (unless she’s that kind of girl). If it upsets her, then maybe she has something else on her mind other than you when she’s digging around.
It is possible that she is not jealous or distrustful of you; she may be obsessively nosey. There are individuals out there who cannot help but snoop. Does she do this at other places? Have you ever noticed her digging through a friend’s purse or opening all the cabinets or drawers in the guest room when you stay with family or friends?
She could also have some baggage from her past. Distrustful parents, parents who fought or cheated, past relationships that were dishonest or secretive. You live with her, so what do you know about her? The less attractive thought is that people who do not trust others are people who do not trust themselves. If she is actually hiding something or just feels she is hiding something from you, then it is logical and possibly emotionally necessary for her to believe that you would do the same.
Like I said, you can’t really expect to change her, but if you change your behavior or outlook, maybe she will follow suit.
Much love and openness,
Your Uncle Mat
Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets and art. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, myspace.com/yourunclemat, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.