Tracey Cox gets women and men to spill their snooping stories

Have you ever spied on your partner? Real people tell Tracey Cox the worst things they’ve discovered – from a wife cheating with her husband’s best friend to hours of gay porn (but she still insists you should NEVER do it)

  • Sexpert Tracey Cox reveals men and women’s stories of snooping on partners
  • She reveals the tell-tale signs to be able to tell if your partner is spying on you 
  • Tracey also explains the giveaway signs your partner is cheating on you

In the old days, housewives would check their husband’s pockets, look for lipstick on the collar and scour credit card statements.

These days, it takes a mere minute or two to add an undetectable spying app to your partner’s phone that enables you to keep an eye on their social media, browsing history, emails, texts, calls and location.

Most of us don’t take it that far – but a UK study last year found four in ten people check through their partner’s phone at least once a week. More than half of all snoopers found damning evidence – and 45 per cent then ended the relationship.

Recent American research found 42 per cent of women had checked their partner’s phone while only 25 per cent of men admitted to it.

Ironically, in almost all surveys around 70 per cent of people admit it’s not OK to snoop.

Tracey Cox (pictured) gets men and women to reveal their stories about snooping on their partners

The younger you are, the more likely you are to spy – and the more convinced you are you’ll find evidence, if there is any.

‘There’s always a clue,’ my 19-year-old step-daughter says sagely. ‘Young people can’t resist boasting on their socials or can’t bear to delete all the messages from someone they’re really into.’

It’s not only the young.

A friend of mine got busted for an affair she’d had eight years earlier because she forgot she kept just one email from her lover. She was looking through old emails with her husband, searching for something, and it popped up. Her husband knew the guy, said ‘ What’s that?’ and it was game over.

Those of you who consider spying justifiable will be frothing at the mouth reading that, convinced you missed something the last time you snooped. (See! There was evidence!)


These are the tell-tale signs – and it’s nearly always to do with technology.

  • Check your phone data. Are you suddenly using a lot more data than you usually do? Is your battery life depleting faster than usual? Spyware may have been installed.
  • Is your phone or device easy to shut down? If malware is running in the background, it can make the turning off process take longer.
  • Check your social media log in activity. It will tell you if anyone else has logged into it.
  • Disable tracking on your phone. Disable location and browsing history on your Google account as well.
  • Enable two factor authentication. This ensures you’ll be told whenever there’s a new sign in to your account.
  • Use strong passwords. Use a password manager app and avoid using birthdays, nicknames, pets or children names. Don’t share your passwords with anyone.
  • Are messages marked as read and you don’t remember reading them? Someone else got there first. Sign out of your accounts on every device, don’t just close the window.
  • Convinced you’re being tracked? Ask a specialist to do a full reset and reinstall on your phone and take your laptop and tablet to a computer expert.

Let me reassure you, the only thing you may have missed out on is the early demise of the relationship you care so badly about.

Nothing good ever, EVER comes from spying.

If you’re doing it for ‘reassurance’, stop kidding yourself. Snooping doesn’t quell your fears, it fuels jealousy because if you find something that looks suspicious, you can’t ask for an explanation.

Our minds do a great job of imagining the worst.

If you do give in and confess what you’ve done, your partner (rightly) feels indignant and outraged that you don’t trust them and have invaded their privacy. It’s unlikely to lead to them pulling you to their chest, stroking your hair and telling you there’s nothing going on with Claire in accounts.

It’s a ‘lose lose’ situation – but that doesn’t stop us doing it.

I posed the question, ‘Would you snoop on your partner?’ and an alarming number of people put their hands up and said, ‘Er, yes’.

Was it worth it? Would they do it again? In most cases, the answer was an emphatic ‘no’.

Here are their stories. Learn from them.

Would YOU snoop on your partner?

‘Every time I’ve snooped, I’ve found something I didn’t like. Nearly always, it turns out to be nothing. But once you find something, it eats you up inside and you can’t help but confront your partner with it. Then there’s – inevitably – a huge row, they give you a perfectly logical explanation and you feel like an idiot. I haven’t done it in my current relationship and I feel a lot more secure because of it.’

‘When my boyfriend moved in with me, I waited until he left for work and then went through every possession, read every letter, looked at every photo. I was rewarded by old love letters and photos of him looking loved up with other women. He was 42, of course he had a past. It got to me. I was desperate to ask him if he loved me more than those other women, hear the stories behind it all. Eventually, I got so desperate I confessed what I’d done and asked for reassurance. He looked at me, went into the bedroom, packed his stuff and left. He said there was no point continuing if he didn’t have my trust. I loved him dearly and took years to get over it. I have never and will never snoop again.’

‘I think you have a moral right to spy if you honestly believe your partner is up to something. Otherwise, no.’

‘I always say to my partner, ‘If you get up to something and it’s a one off and you regret it, don’t tell me’. I’d never be able to forgive and what a waste of such a happy relationship to end it over one stupid mistake. I’m not giving him permission – far from it – but I honestly don’t want to know everything he gets up to. I would never snoop on him for that reason: I don’t want to find anything that would change how I feel about him. I’m confident if something serious happened I’d sense it without having to spy.’

Tracey said that one of her friends was busted for an affair they had had eight years previously because they had forgotten they still had one email from the former lover (stock image)

‘I spied and caught my partner out and don’t regret it for a minute. She’d been cheating with my best friend. I went straight to see a lawyer and we were able to use it as evidence to secure a fairer divorce settlement. I think if you’re tempted to spy, you’ve felt something isn’t right and that’s why you do it. If I was suspicious in another relationship, I’d do it again.’

‘The trouble with spying is that it’s addictive. It becomes a habit. When I got with my partner, I knew there was unfinished business with a friend he’d loved from afar but never acted on. I was suspicious and he was trusting and left his computer on or used passwords I knew from other accounts. I quickly established he had a pattern. If things were good with us, no contact. If we rowed, he’d be straight on his email, asking how she was and telling her he missed her. After a while, I realised she wasn’t interested in anything other than being friends and he wasn’t going to run off, but I couldn’t stop myself snooping. He’d leave and I’d get a nervous flutter in my stomach and hold my breath to see what I might find. It was a rush but not a pleasant one. Needless to say the relationship ended. I don’t think any relationship survives regular spying. If you don’t have a base level of trust, what’s the point?’

‘If you go looking for trouble, you’ll end up finding it. If your partner treats you well and you’re both happy, why go spying? If you’re unhappy, just leave. Betraying anyone’s trust by invading their privacy just makes YOU the bad one.’

‘Many years ago, I started checking my girlfriend’s phone. All it did was make me feel more paranoid than ever which ended our relationship. Never do it, it never has a happy ending.’

‘If my partner went through my emails and texts, he’d probably be as paranoid as hell. I’m very warm and affectionate with old friends and exes: it’s just the way we relate. But it’s all completely innocent. It’s easy to read things into things when you don’t know the background.’


You don’t need to stoop to spying to decide if your partner is playing away. 

These behaviours mean nothing on their own but if you notice more than a few are now happening, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

  • They’re overprotective of their phone. In our technology based world, this is the number one giveaway. They’ll take their phone with them everywhere to avoid you possibly checking it. If they’re having an affair, they’ll also check it often.
  • They have a shower the second they arrive home and they didn’t used to. They’re trying to wash the smell of sex or someone else’s perfume away.
  • A change in habits. Working late when they didn’t used to. Going for runs on the weekend, when they’re not into exercise (and you can’t see a change in their physical appearance). We’ve all changed our habits since lockdown but do the changes make sense?
  • Caring more about their appearance. Dressing sexier, buying new clothes when they don’t usually, getting new haircuts – generally upping their game. Especially pay attention if they’re more concerned with looking good when going out without you.
  • Avoiding eye contact. If they’re feeling bad about cheating, they may find it painful to look you directly in the eye. (If they don’t feel guilty, it won’t worry them in the slightest.)
  • Your sex life changes. Some people have less sex if they’re getting it elsewhere, others find the thrill of cheating makes them want more sex with their partners.
  • They smell strange. Women, particularly, are alert to the scent of another woman’s body lotion or perfume.
  • Your instinct tells you something isn’t right. In a high number of cases of infidelity, the innocent party had a feeling something was going on.

‘A long time ago, I came home early to find my wife having cybersex with a guy she met online. We immediately separated but she maintained she wanted to work on the marriage and wasn’t pursuing a relationship with him. I didn’t feel I could trust her and, knowing her password, got into her email and social media accounts. I found out she’d been badmouthing me to everyone and still planned to meet up with this guy in person. I was heartbroken. You’d think after reading this that I’d never be able to trust her again? Well, we’re 12 years, two kids and a mortgage since then. We sorted it all out and I’ve never spied or felt the need to spy on her again. But I’m also – sadly – no longer naïve enough to think she could never cheat on me. I suppose I’ll cross that bridge if it comes.’

‘If I hadn’t spied on my husband, I wouldn’t have found out he was not only having an affair but made the woman pregnant. I didn’t tell him I knew but it gave me time to prepare myself for him leaving me. I don’t think I’d have survived finding out everything at once.’

‘Never spied, never would. Being spied on and checked up on is a massive deal breaker for me. It’s bigger than someone cheating. We’ve autonomous people in a relationship, not possessions. Is it ever OK to spy? Never ever.’

‘I spied and found out my wife was slating me to all of her friends and family. Finding out what someone you love says about you behind your back when they think you aren’t looking or listening is sickening. I don’t recommend it and the truth is, they may or may not mean it depending on what they’re feeling at the time.’


‘A pair of worn knickers in his pocket.

‘Long blonde strands of hair all over the back seat of our car. My hair is short and brown.

‘I looked in the washing basket and found her knickers were stained with semen and we hadn’t had sex that week.

‘He came in late after a night out with the boys and I was suspicious so offered to give him a BJ. He smelt like he’d just had sex and I found a strand of hair – that wasn’t mine – wrapped around the head of his penis.

‘Porn I don’t care about. But him googling escorts I do.’

‘A photo of her workmate’s penis. After we used to joke all the time about how this guy was her ‘work husband’. I never felt jealous because of that. What a fool.’

‘Her very active Tinder account.’

‘Chats between him and a work ‘friend’ talking about what a s*** girlfriend I was, listing everything I’d done wrong and her replies, stirring him up. ‘She’s a b***h, she doesn’t deserve you. ‘I’d never treat you like that.’

‘A stack of sex toys that had been used and not washed.’

‘A browsing history with him watching hours and hours of gay porn.’

‘A stash of cocaine and pills. We hadn’t been going out long and he was always giving me a hard time for having more than one glass of wine.’

‘A letter from my mum to a man she’d clearly had an affair with, ending it. The man was still a friend of the family. It really screwed me up. What did it mean that it was still in her drawer? Had she intended to stop the affair but then didn’t?’

Find the perfect sexy Christmas present on Find Tracey’s new book, Great Sex Starts at 50, at your independent book store or amazon.

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