Dear Wendy: “I Guessed My Girlfriend’s Password And Have Been Reading All Her Email”

I am currently dating a woman that I am madly, madly in love with, and we’re talking about marriage. We’re great together, don’t really ever argue, and talk through our issues, so everything is good there. A few months back, I happened to guess her e-mail password, and I have been checking her e-mail on a daily basis ever since. I don’t know why I do it, I just do. A week or so ago, she got an e-mail from her ex, and they’ve been exchanging e-mails a few times a day since then. She hasn’t brought up the fact that her ex e-mailed her, or that she had responded. The e-mails aren’t really all that exciting, just things like ‘how are you doing?’ and updates on people they both know and general stuff like that. I’m not sure what to do here. Should I confront her about it? Should I just let it go? Am I being too jealous or possessive here? I realize that I’m in the wrong by reading her e-mails, but I don’t feel as though I’m being really “Lifetime movie dangerous boyfriend” at all. I don’t get suspicious when she’s out for the night or anything, and I would never hurt her, even if she was cheating on me (which I don’t think she is). But for some reason, the fact that she’s communicating with this person that she says was no good for her or to her is worrisome to me. — Snoop Dog

I had to read your letter a few times just to make sure it really said what I thought it said. I even read it aloud to my husband and then we both looked at each other and said, “What the what??” I’m sorry, Snoop, but how do you just “happen to guess” someone’s email? You happen to run into someone you know in the grocery store. You happen to see a cab just as you walk out into the pouring rain. You happen to have a bottle of bourbon in your liquor cabinet when your recently dumped friend stops by unannounced. You don’t happen to guess someone’s email address. That takes forethought and effort. And, to be honest, it takes a person with some serious issues to snoop through someone else’s email, unprovoked, with not even any reason to suspect wrong-doing. Dude, what are you doing?

You may not be “Lifetime movie dangerous,” but you do pose a threat — first to your girlfriend’s privacy, of course (well, more than a threat), but also to your own happiness. You have this wonderful woman you’re madly in love with. By your own accounts, your relationship is great and you’re even talking marriage. So, why in the world would you sabotage that by snooping around in her personal space? The craziest thing is that you’d consider screwing things up even further by confronting your girlfriend over what seem to be totally harmless emails with an ex. You may not realize this, but plenty of exes maintain cordial — even casually friendly — relationships long after a breakup (even a messy one). It really doesn’t have to mean anything. And she probably didn’t tell you about these emails because they aren’t a big deal to her (do you tell her about every email you get?) and maybe, deep down, she suspects you’re a bit nuts and didn’t want to needlessly rock your world or give you reason to act more jealous than you probably already do.

You really want a long, happy relationship with this woman? For the love of God, stop reading her emails and get yourself to therapy to address your jealousy, possessiveness and inability to trust.

I’m your average 21-year-old girl: motivated student, good friend and daughter, hard worker, and active in student organizations and volunteer work. I’m a positive person, and even though I’ve suffered from depression all throughout college, I totally feel like I’m headed in the right direction, and with my doctor, we’ve developed a regimen of medication and therapy. I’m feeling good and making a lot of progress, but I feel like something is missing. I’ve never had a boyfriend, never been on a date, never spent more than five minutes alone with a guy, never received flowers, never had a guy ask me for my number, and I’ve only been asked out once in my life. Of course, this means I’ve never been kissed either. I’m a pretty girl, but I’m more than that. I’m funny, smart, a great story teller, love trying new things, can talk about sports all day, especially tennis, basketball and football. I’m learning belly dancing and about to start a hip hop dance class! Though I have a cute shape, I’m carrying a few extra pounds, but I’m actively working on that, eating well and exercising (but I am still a little insecure with how I look).

I don’t feel like a guy or a relationship would fulfill me or make me feel whole. I’d just like to be normal and be able to call my friends for the first time and say, “I met a great guy! And he told me he likes me and I like him too!” But I don’t even get eye contact from guys nor do they hold open the door for me (I’m in the South so it’s not wrong to expect that). Of course, it doesn’t help that two of my best friends are engaged and in love and another friend beats the guys off with a stick and always has them calling her and asking her out. I take every opportunity to go out and meet people, but no one approaches me or expresses interest. I feel like I’m a catch and would be a great girlfriend, so why can’t guys see that too? Like Hester Prynne, I feel like I have a bright red “S” on my chest, for “strange.” — Never Been Kissed

I was a lot like you until around my sophomore year of college when I blossomed a little bit. I’d been kissed, but I hadn’t been on more than a handful of dates, and despite being a pretty girl with a lot going for her, I didn’t get much attention from guys (unlike quite a few of my girlfriends). Like I said, I blossomed a bit the next year. I shed 40 pounds, gained tons of confidence, lost some of my baby fat, and, I don’t know, started feeling sexy. And it wasn’t all about the weight loss. But I think the confidence I gained just by feeling better in my skin gave me a kid of aura that was attractive to other people. Years later, I was catching up with some old college friends when one of the guys said something to the effect of, “You were so cute that first year of school, but no guy wanted to waste time on you because you were so virginal.” Suddenly, it all made a bit more sense. It wasn’t that guys hadn’t noticed me; it’s that they didn’t pin me as someone who was very easy (I wasn’t).

See, a lot of college guys — the guys you’re likely coming across the most — haven’t yet developed refined tastes in women. They haven’t developed a great “game.” They aren’t experts at wooing a woman and they know it. And, so, they don’t want to bother with the women who are going to take a little more effort — particularly ones who seem, uh, for lack of a better word, virginal. So, what happens is you have all these super argo guys who want an easy lay and they’re skipping over you because they have this amazing sixth sense that you aren’t what they’re looking for. But … then you have a bunch of guys who aren’t like that. They’re nice, sweet, gentlemanly guys who may very well be really interested in you, but you don’t notice them because: a) they’re not super aggressive and obvious like these other dudes, and b) you’re so inexperienced with guys, you don’t recognize the signs.

So … because you may not recognize the signs, you need to send out some of your own. It’s not enough that you “take every opportunity to go out and meet people,” you need to let some of those people know you find them cute and nice. You need to flirt! That means smiling, holding eye contact a little longer than feels comfortable, a little teasing, gently touching a guy on the arm when you’re talking to him. These cues signal to a guy you’re interested, and eventually, you’re going to find a guy who will pick up on those signals and run with them. In the meantime, keep doing everything you’re doing. You sound like an awesome young woman, and I have a hunch those belly dancing and hip-hop classes are going to do wonders for your body image confidence. And confidence, NBK, is super sexy.

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