Dating in the digital age brings a lot of benefits. How many of us would be single if it weren’t for text messaging? But is there is such a thing as too much information. There’s the TMI we share with others, and then there’s the TMI we actively seek out about those we are dating. Looking at a laptop or a smartphone, we feel like Eve in the Garden of Eden. Just one little bite can’t hurt … or can it? Some tech offenses are pretty saintly, while others are straight-up sin.
- SAINT: Googling your date. We’ve already investigated the pros and cons about Googling a date, but when it comes to crossing the line, Googling is no big deal. And if you’re going out with someone for the first time, first checking to see if he’s a sex offender may be a good idea.
- SINNER: Checking your date’s Gmail. An email account is a private, private place. You may break into his gmail looking for emails from his ex … but you’ll also have access to emails from his family, his colleagues, his accountant … that’s dangerous territory. And once you’ve accidentally stumbled upon something you don’t like, you won’t be able to get it out of your mind.
- SAINT: Stalking your date’s Facebook. Going through your date’s pictures isn’t a huge deal. Sure, some of the things you see there might mislead you, but as long as you take what you see with a grain of salt, it’s not crossing the line. And yes, it might be good to know if girls are all up on his Facebook wall about how much fun they had last night. If he’s putting it out there, you don’t have to feel bad about reading it.
- SINNER: Reading your date’s Facebook messages. So you know his password, or he accidentally stayed logged in at your place. Reading someone’s messages is a no-no. As with email, it’s a private space, but also consider that a lot of people don’t take Facebook too seriously. If a girl messages him, “You look great! I miss you, let’s get together soon!” and he sends a message back that he misses her too, he may just be trying to keep her at bay. Or she may be his cousin.
- SAINT: Checking the phone bill. If you’re in a serious relationship and you notice a bunch of calls to or from the same number – a number you don’t recognize – it might be a tip-off that you’re dealing with a cheater, especially if he’s exhibiting other shady behavior.
- SINNER: Checking the phone. Yes, checking a guy’s phone and reading his text message can prove a guy is up to no good, but if you’re in the kind of relationship where you feel like you need to do this, you need to take a look at yourself and at your relationship. What’s making you feel so insecure? Why don’t you trust him?
If You Find Some Dirt
Now, whether you just take a bite or eat the whole damn apple, you may discover something you don’t like. How do you deal?
- SAINT: Confront the bigger issue. Don’t be specific. If you break into his gmail or phone and see that he hasn’t told you his dad is having major health problems, maybe it’s time to open a casual conversation about family. If you see he is in terrible debt, then maybe it’s time to have a money talk. And if there’s a mysterious woman, have a chat about how often you talk to your exes. If he doesn’t give you the answer you’re looking for though, don’t press it. When you snoop online, it’s very easy to be misled, so don’t scream, “Well, how about the fact that your college girlfriend is going to be in town this weekend!?!?”
- SINNER: Do not confront him and tell him you know everything that’s been going on and that he’s a liar. First, he’ll be so pissed you were snooping; he’ll make that the center of the argument. If it’s not true – and it very well may be a misunderstanding – he’s never going to trust you in the same way. Suddenly you’ve gone from the great, laid-back girlfriend to the crazy bitch. If it is true, he’ll just be sorry he got caught, and he’ll find a way to make you feel really bad for snooping. The kind of guys who are texting multiple women are really good at that trick – suddenly he’s the one who cheated, but you’re the one apologizing.
Like Eve, you may sometimes find you’re dealing with a snake – but that doesn’t give you an excuse to sin. If you find yourself constantly tempted, it may be time to find a guy who treats you like the apple of his eye.