Last week Jools Oliver confessed to keeping tabs on her husband – checking his emails, phone and Twitter, for signs of infidelity. As Jamie makes dinner ladies melt with his cheeky smile, or flirts with the checkout girls as he encourages them to ‘try something new today’, or travels the world tempting ladies with his Italian creations, is she right to snoop?
I can barely keep up with my own emails, texts and social media messages (oh yeah, dead popular me), the thought of having to create time to check my husband’s messages too: well, I’m not sure I can be bothered…
My husband is away with work a lot, and has more than an average amount of opportunity to have an affair, if he so chooses. But I don’t give it that much thought; it barely gets a look in, in the hierarchy of stuff to worry about. Occasionally, I think maybe I am being too naive, and I get an image of attractive women flirting with him at a hotel bar, you know like in the movies: sitting alone at the bar, drinking a whisky (they’re always hardcore aren’t they?), flicking her long blonde hair like a Charlie’s Angel, magnetically seducing the lonely man (who has a wife at home who doesn’t understand him), who then slides her hotel key along the bar. And then I start laughing, because I know that even if said clichéd woman did pull such a full-on cruising stunt, Husband would find that contrived and hilarious, before he ever found it sexy.
He is more likely to meet someone at work, a connection that sneaks up on him – maybe she is in the coffee queue, brightening his day with idle banter. He then sees her the next day, and the day after that… and the banter turns to flirting… and… And what am I gonna do about that? Stop him going to work?
Although I don’t worry about this scenario too much either: I love and trust my husband, and I believe he loves me. Not that I would ever utter those words ‘oh no, my husband wouldn’t cheat on me…’ I know we are just as vulnerable as the next couple to the temptations of infidelity. It’s just that I don’t think checking his emails, and so on, is in any way a protection: if he’s gonna cheat, he’s gonna cheat. And he’s smart – if he was having an affair, I have no doubt he would be good at covering his tracks, and operate the covert mission with MI5 style discretion.
I prefer to focus my attention on us, on being the best us we can be, so that he doesn’t want to have an affair in the first place. Not that I am putting us out there as the perfect couple, my God, we are so far from whatever that may be. But we have a lovely relationship, and a big part of what makes it work for us, is allowing each other a sense of freedom: not so free that we are in an open marriage, or swinging on Saturdays, but equally not so closed that we ‘own’ the other person – and I can’t help thinking that snooping is heading in that direction.
Although it’s not like either of us are particularly careful about hiding passwords from each other; I know many of Husband’s passwords as he does mine. But, I choose not to abuse that (unless I want something from Amazon, but they’re just little treats for being an amazing wife – who doesn’t snoop!). We both use my iPad, which is loaded with my emails, Twitter and Facebook, if Husband so wished, he could read everything. I doubt that he does though – he would much rather be researching our next trip, downloading some new music, or reading BBC News: basically, I am just not interesting enough!
I’m not sure what I would do if I was suspicious that he was having an affair, maybe I would feel differently, maybe I would be less laissez-faire in my approach. But for the moment, his emails are safe; it would be another thing to add to the never-ending to-do list, and I just can’t be arsed…