Is it okay to read someone else’s texts (Part 2 of 2)

We started this 2 part article with a post about How to Read Someone Else’s Texts.

You might also want to check that out if you haven’t read it already.

Today, we are going to go into the other side of this question.

Is it okay to read someone else’s texts?

This question takes many forms, but generally comes down to people asking the question from two perspectives.

  1. Is it morally (and legally) okay to read someone else’s texts?
  2. What will be the potential social consequences if it is discovered that I am reading someone else’s texts?

Is it morally okay to read someone else’s texts?

We’re not here to be the moral definer of your life.

So this is general information to be taken and used in creating your own opinion.

Whether or not it’s morally okay to read someone else’s texts would depend on what kind of moral justification you would need to intrude into someone else’s life.

Make no mistake… when you read someone else’s texts without their permission, you are intruding into their life as much as if you had taken their diary or their journal and read it.

If you tell other people about what you discovered when you read the texts they have been sending and receiving, it’s like sharing someone’s most private information with the world.

Generally the way to think about this question, and to decide if it’s “okay”, is to ask yourself if you would violate someone’s privacy to read or share their diary.

If you would, then you may decide that this is okay for you to do.

If you wouldn’t read their diary, don’t take their phone to read their texts without their permission.

Instances where this might be okay:

  • Someone is suicidal and needs intervention
  • Someone is planning crimes that would result in the death of others
  • Pretty much any situation where someone’s life is in peril and where the information from a text message could be used to prevent it.

Outside of that extreme, you’ll need to use your own judgment based on the relationship you have with the person whose texts you’re trying to read.

Also, you will want to judge the severity of the reasons which have you thinking you should want to read their texts.

Always though, open communication is best.

It never feels good to have someone go behind your back. Let them know your concerns and give them a chance to really have you really listen.

This means you have to be open to listen.

Is it legal to read someone else’s texts?

We’re not attorneys, and any advice you ever read within our site is never a substitute for professional legal advice or representation.

That having been said, the legality of reading someone else’s texts has a lot to do with the context in which the reading happened.

There is some case law to say that it’s fine for a partner to read another partner’s texts, and there’s also case law which says that it’s not okay to read a boyfriend’s texts without his permission, even if his phone is left at your house or apartment. So, it seems for the time being that the question about whether or not it’s legal to read someone else’s texts is under debate.

What will be the potential social consequences of reading someone else’s texts?

These consequences are too numerous to go into. However, there is one social consequence we’d like to address.

Loss of trust.

If you decide to take someone’s phone and read their texts, particularly if you plan to show them that you’ve made a copy of the text, you should be prepared that you will likely lose (possibly forever), their trust.

Here’s how you could do it:

Ending the relationship (and parting on bad terms)

If they have violated your trust through something they have done, and you want to end the relationship, then here’s a good way to end it.

Confront them with the proof that you took something they thought was private, and use it against them.

Find deleted texts and make copies of current and deleted texts using a device like the Cell Phone Spy.

Send them out to all of their friends, and post them in places where you know the messages would be the most embarrassing.

If ending the relationship is your desire, this should work as a relationship ender in most cases.

We don’t recommend it.

Keeping the relationship (or at least leaving it amicably)

If you are hoping to preserve the relationship, you might want to be more tactful in your approach. If you have already read their texts and found out something negative, avoid direct confrontation about it.

You’ve done wrong as well in sneaking off or using their phone to read their texts.

This kind of argument can easily and quickly escalate into a “who was more wrong” and “who did what to who first”, and no one ever wins those kinds of battles.

The best ways to deal with these kinds of situations come from an old book called “How To Win Friends and Influence People”. If you haven’t read it, you can read it for free online here.

From that book, you will learn some simple strategies for getting through difficult situations with grace.

This concludes the 2 part series: How to Read Someone Else’s Texts, and Is it okay to read someone else’s texts.

If you do want to get a backup of someone’s texts, or read messages they have deleted, take a look at the Cell Phone Spy.