Asked if he lied to his lover Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre famously replied, “I lie to her the most.” Since the feminist author and the existential philosopher had an open relationship, I am confused as to what Sartre felt he needed to lie about.
Speaking of lying, I have never in my life read a boyfriend’s private email. I’m kidding, of course. The truth is, I have engaged in petty spying many times in the past instead of suggesting an open relationship or, better, breaking up. I read one former boyfriend’s emails about setting up secret drinks with exes. I saw another ex’s correspondence setting up an appointment with an escort. One former boyfriend left a long list of Google searches for questionable porn in History, while a more computer-savvy ex’s “Taxes” folder, saved in Documents, contained pictures of nothing that resembled taxes. It would be hard for me to tell you if this crazy behaviour started because I was so insecure, or if was I so insecure because of the guys I dated. But I did it and so have many women I know.
It’s not just women spying: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called out on completely unfounded suspicions, as well as some completely justified ones, because of a boyfriend’s solid detective work. It was annoying as hell and it was what made me stop. That, and a good friend saying, “You’ll always find something if you look for it” — meaning that even something innocent can beocme a red herring if you’re in the spying frame of mind. Since I can only speak for my gender and have some spying friends who could probably get a PI license at this point, here are five behaviour patterns of a woman checking up on you.
Hang out at your Facebook profile — a lot
If she requests friendships from your own friends and occasionally writes semi-friendly messages on your wall, she’s probably sending signals to mark territory. She will also refer to things other people said to you via Facebook.
Create a fake on-line account, to set you up
First, though, why do you have an on-line dating profile? Oh, never mind… OK, just so you know: That girl who seems really amazing but is a bit reluctant to meet you in person may be your ex or your present girlfriend. (Hear her typing right this second? Yeah, that’s that witty reply you’ll get in a couple of minutes in your Nerve.com Inbox.)
Get friends to set you up
Never underestimate the power of female friendships. If her hot friend seems too friendly all of a sudden, it’s the same rule as with cops: Ask her straight out if she’s part of a sting. (That said, it’s not a rule with cops — cops can totally lie to you.)
Look in your trash bin
Whether it’s your on-line trash or your real-life trash, some girls will go through it for clues. Sad but true: Those sweet, caressing hands are busy raccoon paws when it comes to counting binned condom wrappers.
Do an I-spy drive-by
A woman obsessed with a man will sometimes drive by his house. Why we do this is unexplainable to me because I don’t drive.
I don’t know if Simone de Beauvoir spied on Sartre but I’m going to guess she didn’t. There were Nazis all around them, so I’m sure they had more important things to deal with. As for you: Keep your pants on, and give her no reason to worry. If you can’t, then go your own way — or lie like a pro and say hello to your new paramour, Paranoia.
Image courtesy of mislav-m.