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You Asked: Her Jealousy vs His Privacy

DearSugar --

I have the problem that my girlfriend cannot refrain from snooping through my computer, and more importantly, through my internet browser history. She is incredibly devious about it, and given half the chance - ie, my pc is on and left unlocked and unattended, she will jump at the chance to see if I've been "looking at porn".

Just yesterday I was looking for software and drivers for her cellphone. It took me to a 'warez' site, which as most people know tend have some adult content on them. Most people will also know that these such sites bring up several popup windows advertising almost exclusively porn and gambling sites. I do not know whether I clicked a banner accidentally or if it was the popup itself but somehow I had three porn sites added to my history - (which I never check but you-know-who does).

So this morning I open up google and I'm about to search for something and the previous searches that have been entered come up, clearly from my g/f. The first one I saw was "My boyfriend looks at porn" and others along the same lines. I check the history, and clearly she had dredged up those ad sites and then gone onto google to search for some sort of advice.

So now rather confront me about it and ask me straight out, she has been distant and difficult and now I know why. I can't even begin to try and explain about pop-ups and how these things happen without her saying "uh-huh, sure", and to be honest I don't see why I should have to in the first place. This is a direct result of her being unable to respect my privacy - she was snooping through my computer and found things that would make her unhappy, but through no fault of mine.

I'm a big boy and I can't help feeling where I go and what I look at is my business and nobody else's - not even hers. I take it a chronic breach of trust that I cannot leave my pc unattended without her having to check up on me all the time. The current status? We're not talking about it. But I know that as soon as I go shopping later she will go through my history again and more than likely read this letter.

I can't go on like this. Please please, any help or advice would be welcome. I love her lots but I cannot handle the duplicity and deceit any longer. -- Suspected Steve

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Suspected Steve --

I'm not sure by your note if the two of you have ever talked about this issue. I've read it a few times over, and I'm going to advise you as if that's the case . . . no discussion yet, just snooping and frustration.

For this issue to get resolved sensibly, you're both going to have to sit down and have a conversation about sexuality (feelings about porn, even if you don't look at it), boundaries and privacy, jealousy and insecurity, fear and appropriate emotional risk-taking. I'm sorry she hasn't shown the courage or maturity to discuss this you, but since you are a couple, it falls to you to put the issue on the table.

One distinction has to be made right away:

It is important to differentiate "normal" from "delusional" jealousy. Normal jealousy has its basis in a real threat to the relationship; delusional jealousy persists despite the absence of any real or even probable threat.

Your girlfriend will need to accept some amount of risk and believe in you, based on her actual experiences with you and not on her fears and insecurities. Jealousy and insecurity are powerfully rooted feelings, so this will be difficult but possible. If she can't do it, you both will be missing a crucial level of intimacy, rest and friendship in the relationship. I can hear in your note the ways in which you feel defensive and trespassed; this will only grow if you can't initiate an exploration of the underlying issues.

If you love her, feel committed to the relationship, and want to participate in getting through this together, I can recommend an article to read. It's about 8 pages long and offers couples a series of exercises aimed at helping both parties regain some dignity, insight and balance around these challenges. The steps both of you will follow are no walk in the park: she will need to uncover what's really at the heart of her jealousy (a sensitivity to a subject or a perceived threat to the relationship), and you will need to be rigorously honest about your experience of her mistrust. Have the conversation soon, Steve; I wish you both courage and change.

Ladies: This is a big issue, and many of us are familiar with it and from both points of view. Please weigh in with your own thoughts, as ever!


Join The Conversation
heidi-girl heidi-girl 8 years
grr it won't let me click on the link to see the article
sparkletech sparkletech 10 years
I'm with Shiori, it sucks to have a boyfriend who looks at porn and pictures of girls online all the time. It gives me a sick feeling in my stomach to know that my boyfriend is looking at all the other girls who are skinnier, have bigger boobs, and are cuter than me. I HATE IT!
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
ShioriLynn, if your bf wont let you talk to another guy then he DOES have jealousy issues! I think you deserve someone better, who respects your feelings. You should write to DearSugar, she always has good level-headed advise.
ShioriLynn ShioriLynn 10 years
Umm sorry for bunching everything together. I forgot to add paragraphs :/
ShioriLynn ShioriLynn 10 years
Wow, talk about Deja Vu. After reading your post I was shocked because I have done the same thing to my boyfriend. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 2 years and I moved in with him about a year ago. Anyway, when we first got together everything was perfect, but when I moved in with him everything went downhill. I started getting really jealous because he had a lot of "pictures" of models on his wall and not to mention porn on his computer. It was like everytime I saw something like that I felt disgusted and began to hate my appearance. After we got into an arguement about me being jealous he finally took the pictures off the wall and erased all the porn from his computer. Now that should have made me really happy but it didnt because I still felt insecure and within time I just snapped! I took control of everything...he couldnt watch a certain show if there was a pretty girl on it or he wouldnt be able to go to certain sites on the internet that he liked (such as wrestling, ufc, ect.). My jealousy got so bad that he finally told me that I either had to get over it or we wouldnt be together. So I chose to try to get over it but then I got a weird feeling and started snooping through his emails and his chatlogs. He had been talking to another girl. (hes been friends with her for about 7 years though). He had asked this girl "what do you do with an overly jealous girlfriend?" and that hurt me alot because he was talking to another girl about my problem, but I didnt say anything to him about the emails because I wanted to see what else he would say. Finally he got an email from her saying that she had sent his christmas card and he wrote back and said " Thanks that was really sweet of you". Again I was hurt but I kept my mouth shut. Come to find out he had thrown the card away and not even bothered to show me. At first I was really angry because he didnt tell me. It felt like I had been lied to. When I finally told him about how I knew that he had been talking to her he went crazy and started telling me that I broke his trust because I invaded his privacy. I felt really bad for what I had done but what about him? He thought that he didnt do anything wrong and that it was all me. I finally told him that I was sorry and he promised that next time he would tell me if he ever recieved anything from another girl. Finally I was able to feel better and know that I didnt have anything to worry about, but once again that feeling didnt last long because he decided to keep me from one of my friends. (this guy is gay and ive known him for 5 years). My boyfriend tells me that he doesnt want me talking to him anymore because hes a guy and if I do talk to him then he will break up with me. Hmmm lets see...its been about six months since I talked to this person and he has no idea why I havent been talking to him. You might say "well thats only fair seeing how you wont let him talk to his friends" but thats not the whole story...recently I found out that my boyfriend was talking to his "friend" again. Only this time he emailed her to tell her "Thanks for the card" oh and that "Im still with the same crazy girl. Ill tell you everything sometime but right now Im sneaking". Hmmm now Ive been trying so hard to get over this jealousy thing and its not easy but he still broke his promise and didnt tell me that he had a couple of conversations with this girl. Well thats basically my story and Im still not getting any support from him. Jealousy is not the easiest thing to get over and it can cause a lot of stress. My boyfriend isnt the jealous type so its hard for him to understand what Im going through and I just wish that he would sit down and listen to how I feel about the situation..instead of telling me that I need to grow up. Ive never been one to like porn and to be with someone who enjoys porn a lot is hard for me. Ive put my boyfriend through so much and I think that hes about done with me..I love my boyfriend and I would do anything for him but I just wish that he would take my feelings into consideration. Oh and Im not just jealous because Im insecure Im also jealous because Im scared. You mom and dad have been married for 19 years now but 3 years ago he cheated on my mom and had 2 kids with another lady. Now he lives with this lady and his 2 other kids. He never told my mom anything and he would always sneak out at night to see this lady. And yet he always told my mom that he would never cheat on her...he caused us a lot of pain and suffering and it has affected my relationship with my boyfriend. My mom is such a strong person for raising 6 kids and then having the love of her life taken from her. I dont want that to happen to me and now I find it hard to trust my boyfriend. Anyway, Im trying my best to deal with this on my own and Im getting better. I know that my boyfriend loves me and I love him. If anyone would like to talk to me feel free to email me. I need all the support I can get.
pixiechick pixiechick 10 years
Ok as someone who suffers from slight delusional jealousy and is actively trying to work through it, I think you sound like a pretty good guy. I used to go through our computer at home and would always find my boyfriend chatting it up on myspace. We fought and fought about it and finally worked it out. This situation was about 1 year ago. I am happy to say that I no longer feel the need to check his internet history and I trust that he no longer feels the need to chat inappropriately on myspace. So recovery from this can happen but it took us a while and a lot of arguing. You both have to have patience and love for eachother.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
katie225, I've had the same thing happen on bittorrent download sites. Like you said they're definitely targeting men with those ads! I had my boyfriend install a pop-up blocker on my computer and it's solved the problem for the most part (although now there are ads called pop-UNDERS that can even get through a pop-up blocker!). Good idea to clear your cookies and temp. folder after too, that's where these ads tend to get dropped on your comp.
katie225 katie225 10 years
just because someone snoops doesn't necessarily mean they don't trust a person. that link that dearsugar gave really highlighted the idea that it can be the snooper's own personal insecurities that causes the jealousy, not a lack of trust. and i don't personally find anything *that* wrong with looking at porn sites occasionally. perhaps, if you really do look at porn and don't really have a problem with it, you should find a new girl who doesn't care as much. valeri, he specifically pointed out that he was going through a "warez" site that leads to those sorts of things. even non-warez sites that are just geared towards men, such as message boards and funny video sites, will ALWAYS have banner pictures or personals on the sides of half-naked women or ads for porn sites. i am a woman who is definitely not interested in seeing porn on the internet, and i will come across these things as well. it does NOT mean i'm looking at porn! it just means i'm on a site with a predominantly male demographic. i think if the guy just points this out to his woman literally, like go to the site and show her that you were there for non-porn reasons and porn was there, then i think she would be more understanding. and maybe she should stop being such a prude about porn! but don't think you'll ever really completely stop her from snooping. it's a good idea, as well, that after you go to these warez sites that you run ad-aware on your computer and get rid of all that nasty spyware! it should help get rid of the porn ads as well.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
you just keep getting porn sites by accident??? wow, that's never happened to me a single time. my experience is that you are never just "taken" to a porn site. and if you know what the history of that region of the internet is WHY pray tell did you continue to go there, hummmmmmm? dude, confess; you have a porn problem and are thinking this will throw your girl friend off the sent.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
Pinkgirl has a good point, is there something in the history of your relationship that would make her feel insecure about what you do online when she isn't around? Or has she had a previous boyfriend cheat on her with someone he met online? Either way you need to talk about the situation with her and tell her how it makes you feel like she totally doesn't trust you when she accuses you of things you havn't even done. And give her some credit, if you really don't look at porn and are just going to download sites where it pops up automatically, then show her that, it's not a really hard concept to grasp. If you really love her than don't give up on her, this seems like an issue you can work through if you put some effort into it.
Thehills101 Thehills101 10 years
I'm thinking tat she has been hurt in the past and is havin trouble with trust in general...not just with yu...yu need to sit her down and reassure her that she's the only one for you and that you are not doing anything to hurt her, you also need to be firm and tell her that if this continues you can't because all it will led o is fighting and a strained relationship...this happens from time to time with me and my hubby, we get crazy pop ups all the time and sometimes u press the wrong thing and there it is and if it happens to my hubby he qickly says its not me it' the damn pop ups and vice versa eventually we joke about it and we'll be like ok u got me...I'm but we in the past have dealt with alot of trust issues so for us to be able to joke about things now is just need to keep reassuring her that you aren't doing anything wrong. ♥јεήή♥
Pinkrabbit Pinkrabbit 10 years
You can delete your history ya know? J/K. I actually used to be like this. It was only becuase it effected our sex life though. However with my current bf it hasn't effected anything and so I don't worry about him looking at it. You do need to talk to her though and find out why she would care about you looking at porn. Maybe she feels like you don't think she's pretty or that you looked like these girls. You just have to find what it is and talk to her. You bring it up, and if she doesn't care and still does it then ditch her or learn to live with it.
Pinkgirl88 Pinkgirl88 10 years
Have you ever given her reason to be jealous? Also where you looking through the sites that she goes to when you found her google search or did she leave it clearly visible. Talk to her about it, reassure her about how you feel about her. I get very insecure about the thought of my boyfriend looking at porn. It makes me feel that i couldn't live up to his standard of sexuality- so I tell him how it bothers me and am open about it. Inturn he assures me that i am the one he wants to be with. You need open communication TINA!
SU3 SU3 10 years
I think this has a lot to do with trusting each other. I also agree that you should be able to sit down with her and openly (and honestly!) discuss the whole situation - Tell her how you feel (whether you do or you don't look at porn) and let her express her reasons for snooping around (she may need some reassurance!). I also agree with the other comments - it seems to me that she is being a bit devious about this. TRUST plays a huge role in a relationship. If she is looking for 'something' in your computer, it obviously seems like she is not secure enough to trust that you are not doing anything. Her continuous snooping will just lead you to feel more guarded... and so on! It'll just keep on growing! So, I think it's best that you both sit down and talk this whole thing out. I think that if both of you can't get through this 'snooping around'... it'll just haunt you later down the road and you both won't be able to trust each other with other problems. Be honest about the whole thing and good luck!
vmruby vmruby 10 years
no trust, no point in a relationship...
boxem180 boxem180 10 years
to me, this is ridiculous behaviour and has to stop somehow. i know that every woman has different beliefs about porn and whether or not her partner looks at them but to me, the problem here is that she's the one being devious about this. if it were me and my partner and she was sneaking around looking for my misbehviour, we'd have a serious talk about it because there's something bigger there. good luck with it.
kendalheart kendalheart 10 years
Yea I agree with sugar there are two different kinds of jealousy. I have to admit that I used to be a bit snoopy with my boyfriend and once I realized that it was not acceptable to him and that if he felt i couldnt trust him there was no solid base for our relationship. I know how your gf feels though, its like once you do it, you always want to do it! its so weird but its true. she just needs to know your honest feelings and how it affects your relationship. she sounds a bit insecure and may need some time to feel secure with patient but firm about your feelings. eventuallly if she wants to continue with you she will stop..i eventually did.
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