How to Restore Trust in a Relationship After Snooping

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When suspicions get the best of you or your significant other and one of you has resorted to snooping, it’s likely that a breach of trust has occurred. Although many couples avoid keeping secrets, respect for privacy is important to fostering independence and confidence. To move forward and restore the trust in your relationship, set expectations and boundaries, foster open communication, and identify problems within your partnership.

Acknowledge the Snooping

Whether you hacked into your partner's email or listened in on phone calls, it’s crucial to come clean. You may think that a little snooping is harmless, but, realistically, snooping invades a person’s privacy. Confess and then discuss what led to your actions. It may not be easy to divulge the truth, but acknowledging your behavior is necessary if you wish to repair the trust in your relationship, according marriage and family counselor Lynette Hoy in the article "Rebuilding Trust," published on the Power to Change website.

Admit Fault

Acknowledging the snooping is important, but admitting fault shows that you take responsibility for your actions. Furthermore, acknowledging your fault shows that you are willing to work on the relationship, suggests Randy Conley of the The Ken Blanchard Companies. If your partner has been the one snooping, you still need to admit any faults that may have encouraged your significant other to develop suspicions; these faults may include secretive actions or lies. When the two of you can openly express your remorse, it will be easier to forgive and forget. In addition, the desire to keep secrets or tell lies may be minimized in the future when you are both willing to admit fault.

Get to the Root of the Problem

If a partner feels the need to snoop, it’s clear that there is a problem within the relationship that prompted suspicion and a lack of trust. Miscommunication, secrets and lies can cause people to take drastic measures. Although snooping is not an acceptable response when you are in a committed relationship, it does indicate that a bigger problem exists. Work with your partner to identify problems within the relationship. It may be that one of you feels neglected or that one partner's needs and wants are not catered to on a regular basis. Make time to discuss these feelings openly and, if necessary, meet with a family therapist or mediator to ensure the conversation is cordial and productive.

Create Action Plans

Secrets or lies can wreak havoc on a relationship. To ensure that the need for snooping will not occur again, set expectations and boundaries for your partnership. Create a plan to share any doubts, fears or worries in a safe environment. Recognize that both of you are human and at times may lash out or distance yourselves from one another, says Hoy. Reiterate that a healthy relationship relies on trust, though.