My Boyfriend Snooped On My Payslip. Should I Break Up With Him?

Here's what to do if the trust has been compromised in your relationship.
Delmaine Donson via Getty Images

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Trust is crucial in a relationship – many would argue a relationship can’t function without it. So, what happens when trust is broken? Can a relationship bounce back when one party feels betrayed? This is the dilemma for reader Sophie.

“In my absence, my boyfriend had a look at few of my personal documents (one payslip and a letter of my psychiatrist),” Sophie writes in to tell us. “I discovered it by accident when he was scrolling through his pictures on his phone and he forgot completely that he took them as pictures.”

She adds: “I can’t help but feel betrayed, as if my privacy was violated. Should I end the relationship because it will never be as before.”

Paul Mollitt, a psychotherapist and counselling directory member, responds to Sophie’s dilemma. “It must have been a huge shock to see your personal documents on your partner’s phone – a gross violation of your privacy,” he says.

“Beyond snooping through your things, he took photos of them, which is very hard to defend. It’s completely understandable that you needed to take some space from the relationship while you figure out what to do.” Mollitt says.

How much should we share with a new partner?

“When it comes to what to share with a partner, it should always be at a pace you feel comfortable (and there is no obligation to share passwords, salary, or medical histories, for example),” says Mollitt.

“That said, revealing deeply personal aspects of ourselves can be an important milestone in relationships if done mutually and respectfully and helps to build intimacy and trust.”

But it should be done with mutual consent.

As Mollitt says to Sophie: “The fact that your partner snooped rather than waiting for you to share more of yourself with him is very disappointing and he clearly must earn back your trust, if you’re willing to let him.”

What should Sophie do in this situation?

“You haven’t yet ended things, which tells me that you think there is something worth fighting for here,” Mollitt says.

“If I’m being really charitable, he might have been trying to get to know you better, but this was clearly the worst way to go about that. It’s normal to be curious about the hidden aspects of those close to us, but he should have just asked what he wanted to know.”

There has been as “a serious breach of trust”, he adds. “But if you’re otherwise happy in the relationship you might consider some brief couple’s therapy to work through this rupture – it could bring you closer or else confirm that you need to call time on the relationship. In the end, only you can know if this is something you can recover from and trust again.”

Love Stuck is for those who’ve hit a romantic wall, whether you’re single or have been coupled up for decades. With the help of trained sex and relationship therapists, HuffPost UK will help answer your dilemmas. Submit a question here.

Rebecca Zisser/HuffPost UK