Is it normal to read your partner's text messages?

July 20, 2017, 3:33 PM GMT+0

One in four millennials in a relationship spy on their significant other’s texts every day without their permission

Your significant other rolls out of bed and heads to the bathroom. Their cellphone, sitting cold and lonely on the nightstand, looks so tempting. You start wondering whether, if you just picked it up and unlocked it—with the password you’ve been stealthily side-eyeing him/her type for weeks—you’d uncover a treasure trove of salacious texts from a secret lover or pining ex. In a world where so much personal information is located on the same device, and made even easier to access by things like auto-saved passwords, the desire to know everything you can possibly know is sometimes overwhelming.

If you’ve ever given into the urge to creep, you are not alone. 15% of US adults who are in a relationship read their significant other’s text messages and social media without their permission on a daily basis. Perhaps unsurprisingly, millennials are even more likely to spy on their boyfriend/girlfriend’s texts and social media than any other age group—nearly one in four millennials, 24%, do every day.

As our daily interactions with others become increasingly digital, it appears so will our serious, sometimes life-altering, conversations. While breaking up with someone in person is still the most common method, 26% of Americans have been broken up with over the phone, and 14% have had their relationship end via text message. Once again, these numbers are elevated for millennials—a third of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 have experienced breakups through phone or text.

After the breakup, 44% of US adults agree that social media has made it harder for them to forget or ignore their exes. 9% of respondents, and 17% of millennials, look up their exes on social media at least once a week.

What seems like just taking a harmless peek at what your ex is up to often leads down the same rabbit hole where, ten minutes later, you find yourself scrolling through their current girlfriend/boyfriend’s photo albums. Of those who have looked up an ex, 46% of Americans admit to having searched for their exe’s significant other on social media.

Full survey results available here