BY TITUS SERUNJOGI
AGNES and Vincent had been happily married for three yearsâ€¦ until she found out he had been spying on her. Vincent had noted that while he watched soccer, his wife would retreat to their bedroom and chat on her phone until she dozed off.
Curiosity got the better of him and one night when she was asleep, he checked her phone and discovered that the number which used to call his wife at 2:00am was saved as â€˜Julieâ€™. Vincent dialled this number and to his shock, it was a manâ€™s voice on the other end.
Next, he devised means of monitoring the communication between â€˜Julieâ€™ and his wife. Using one of his two phones, Vincent would simultaneously call both his wifeâ€™s and Julieâ€™s numbers. Both numbers would be busy at the same time and they would report â€˜availableâ€™ via a â€˜Who Calledâ€™ SMS at the same instant.
Much as Vincent wanted to confront his wife about â€˜Julieâ€™, he did not want her to know he had been spying on her. So he called up this â€˜Julieâ€™ and ordered him to leave Agnes alone. Vincent also got his female friends to insult â€˜Julieâ€™.
Agnes learnt about her husbandâ€™s antics and she became rude and disrespectful to him. She would also deny him sex and get up at 5:00am to chat on the phone. And no amount of threats of violence from Vincent would make Agnes reveal what â€˜Julieâ€™ meant to her.
Checking a partnerâ€™s phone is not the only means of spying. Other ways include rummaging through a loverâ€™s handbag and pockets searching for chits with phone contacts, for receipts of dinner for two or for freshly-signed cheques. Edith Walusimbi, a counsellor on a local FM radio, adds that many a married woman employ boda boda riders, drivers, neighbours, even househelps to spy on their husbands.
Such behaviour, Walusimbi explains, is fuelled by the age-old belief that spying on oneâ€™s spouse helps one avoid STDs and step-children. Marriage is supposed to be built on trust. So, ideally, husband and wife should have no problem accessing each otherâ€™s phones and bank accounts. But that rarely happens. In fact, many lovers are suspicious that their partners are doing many things behind their backs.
Ladies tend to find it easier to spy on their husbands, especially when his behaviour suddenly changes and they lose touch of their spouseâ€™s feelings. The situation is worsened by the fact that women have a strong sense of intuition. She will suspect her husband is cheating even before rumours start flying around.
Of course, no one wants to wrongly accuse their lovers of cheating, so people end up employing underhand methods to obtain proof. Yes, you owe it to yourself to find out what is going on before you jump to any conclusions, but is spying the smartest move?
â€œIt is natural for some people to spy when their partner is behaving strangely. The logic is they would rather know what is going on than sit at home grieving over something they are unsure about.
â€œBut spying is a short-term solution. The long-term one is to resolve issues of trust with your spouse,â€ says Walusimbi.
Fact is, if you are suspicious your partner is cheating on you, snooping will not change anything; it might instead make them smarter at doing it.
Besides, by snooping on your partner, you might find out things that you wish you had not. Or if your suspicions are proved correct and your partner is cheating, you might blame yourself for having pushed your partner to do it. And even if you do not find any proof of cheating, the damage will have been done as you will become paranoid and your attitude towards your partner will change.
Relying on spying to secure your relationship is a sign that you cannot openly communicate with your partner. However, before you jump into the snooping trap, ask yourself a few questions. Do I trust my spouse? Am I tending to our marriage? Are we both happy or is my spouse looking elsewhere because there is a need I am not meeting? Do I feel safe to talk to my partner about my insecurities? And if your answers to these questions are mostly affirmative, then share your suspicions with a partner or close friend.
If youâ€™ve chosen to talk with your partner, be honest with them. You could broach the subject by saying: â€œI noticed that whenever I come into the room, you hang up immediately. When you do that it makes me suspicious.â€ If you are scared that you will receive a hostile reaction from your spouse, you might want to go ahead and spy. However, never get caught and never confess to them that you spied on them.