Spying on Your Spouse: Is It Okay or Not?

We have posted about using technology to catch a cheating spouse, but were you concerned if it’s really okay? In a 2013 study of 2,081 adults in the UK who were in a relationship at the time (as reported in the Telegraph), 34% of women admitted that they had looked through the cell phone of a partner or ex-partner without consent. On the other hand, and rather surprisingly, a whopping 62% of men admitted doing the very same thing!

In this age of advanced technology, spying on your spouse has become easier than ever before. Who could resist the idea of spying on your spouse, particularly your partner’s Facebook activities, WhatsApp chats, browsing history, emails, texts, calls, and location?

But the question remains. Is spying on your spouse acceptable?

Is Spying on Your Spouse Good or Bad?

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First of all, before any relationship “expert” imposes their ideals on you, remember that every couple is different. No one can tell you what’s right or wrong in your marriage. There are spouses that are totally okay with being spied on, and there are those who would be completely disappointed if they find out they were being monitored. As a matter of fact, only a third, or 31%, of the people surveyed in the 2013 study said they would consider terminating the relationship if they learned their partner had been looking over their texts, emails, and social media messages on their cell phone without their consent.

Those who consider spying to be bad generally say that the sleuth has toxic self-issues like insecurity, lack of self-love, paranoia, obsessiveness, jealousy, or illogical pessimism. To them, spying is an invasion to their privacy and a reflection of the doomed state of their marriage. On the other hand, those that do no mind being snooped on comment that tracking each other, sharing each other’s passwords, or going through each other’s messages and emails are simply a display of openness and honesty.

Most of the time, people only find it acceptable to spy when a spouse is proven guilty of infidelity or illegal activities and wishes to make amends. When a couple is trying to rebuild trust in their marriage, the “guilty” party usually offers up their personal account passwords to prove they have changed.

Is Spying on Your Spouse Legal or Illegal?


Tracking technologies are relatively new, so the legality of their use may vary by state. Even federal courts are still split on how to handle this issue. If you have any legal issues involving technology for spying on your spouse, consult with a criminal lawyer. This is particularly true if you feel that the police have wrongfully used evidence against you. An attorney near you will be able to explain state laws and what sort of rights you have.

For starters, it’s entirely legal to spy someone if they’re using any vehicle or asset you own. But before you use it on someone else’s person or property, do a little research. Laws are continually being readdressed as new cases are popping up in the legal world. It’s important to stay up-to-date on these changes. As of now, here’s what private citizens need to know about tracking and the law.

It’s generally legal to track or spy someone if

  • you own the vehicle or asset to be tracked;
  • you own the asset that might be taken without your permission;
  • your children (under 18) are the focus of the tracking; or
  • you are tracking a car or asset for the purpose of legal repossession.

On the other hand, it’s only illegal if you are not the owner of the car and do not have consent to track it.

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