Does Diary Snooping Pay?
Q: I'm not proud of this, but last night when my girlfriend was out with friends, I flipped through her journal, which was left out by our bed. I'm shocked by some of the things she wrote in there about her mom, her friends — even me! I know what I did was wrong, but I'm hurt by her comments. What do I do? - Luis, 27
Dr. Susan: I wish I could give you a harder time for peeking into her journal, but I would have done the same thing. That doesn't make it right or cool, but curiosity can be very powerful when we're unsure how our relationship is going. So what now? You've learned that she keeps secrets about her feelings. She doesn't feel the way about her friends and mother that she led you to believe she did. (Or she's just appropriately polite on the surface, more direct in her diary.)
What you need to decide is whether what she wrote about you is a deal-breaker. Whatever she was critical about, can you find a way to bring it up without revealing your snooping? If not, then confess you invaded her privacy and ask her to forgive you (and to please keep her journal out of sight). Then ask her about those hurtful comments. If something can be done to repair the damage to both of you, give it everything you've got.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.