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Q: Dear Meredith,
I'm struggling with a huge problem. I have been with my boyfriend for two years and we've been living together for one. I am a real snoop, and I was always looking at his cell phone when he wasn't around, looking at texts and his call log. One day while snooping, I discovered that he had password protected his phone. Well, that just made me more curious, so one day while he was next to me checking his messages, I looked over his shoulder and got the password. At the next opportunity, I looked and was devastated by what I found. He had been texting back and forth with his old girlfriend. I want to confront him about it, but I know he'll turn it around on me because I snooped. I need advice. Should I confront him and take the consequences of snooping or should I keep this information to myself and find another way to "catch" him?
– Snoopy in Boston
A: You must tell him what you did, apologize, and then ask, "Now what do we do?"
Did he break the rules by texting his ex? Were the messages inappropriate in nature? Have you always been a big snoop -- or has your behavior changed because you've been having doubts about the relationship? These are the questions you need to answer together. You don't win anything by "catching" him. And he needs to know that he's with someone who's breaking into his phone.
I can't speak to the state of your relationship or tell you what should happen after you discuss your misdeeds, but I will throw the therapy card if the snooping has been a long-term problem. Maybe you're just in a not-so-great relationship and your desire to snoop is the red flag, but if you've always been nosy with boyfriends (and friends), you need to figure out why -- because that kind of compulsive, disrespectful behavior will ruin good things.
If you want him to be accountable for his behavior, you have to be willing to talk about yours. And I'm pretty sure that if you tell him the whole truth, you'll get better answers -- about him and yourself.
Readers? Does she have to tell? Whose crime is worse here? How can she stop the snooping? Is it just a sign that she’s in a bad relationship? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.