My ex-boyfriend and I had a long, complex relationship that ended one sad, cold, wintery night. It was awful and I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do or how to cope because he’d been my everything for so long. Because of this, I did something I’ll regret for the rest of my life: I hacked into his email.
We used each other’s computers all of the time so he was still logged into mine. He used my computer a lot so he was still logged into his email account on my computer after we broke up. So, I took a look. We also knew each other’s passwords, so even if he hadn’t been logged in, it would have been easy for me to get into his account. What’s the lesson here? Don’t give your significant others your passwords to anything ever because they might end up like me and use it after you break up.
He didn’t answer my 2,000+ word email and I wanted to see if he’d at least opened it. After we broke up my, bestie urged me to write him a long email with my thoughts and feelings. What did I have to lose? Nothing, I thought. It’s just that after 48 hours and zero response from him, not even an acknowledgment that he’d read it, I started to feel worse about myself and became desperate in my efforts to connect. I logged in to see if he’d opened my email and he had. I felt worse knowing the truth because I realized that he just didn’t care enough to answer me.
I saw email exchanges that I never wanted to see. I initially logged in so that I could see whether he’d read my email or not, but of course, curiosity killed the cat and I started skimming through his inbox. I was horrified to see that he was emailing back and forth with the weirdest people, including women who weren’t me. I remember feeling horrified and deeply hurt. My heart sank and I wished I’d never bothered looking to begin with.
I felt guilty about it but I also felt next incredibly betrayed. Almost immediately, I felt shameful for my actions and yet at the same time, I was hurt and angry. You think you know someone and then you find out that they don’t have the slightest respect for you or your relationship. Feeling both of those things simultaneously totally screwed with my head and I wished I hadn’t ever satisfied my curiosity.
I reached out and admitted what I did. I told him what I did because part of me wanted to free myself from the guilt and shame I was feeling. He was half angry that I’d invaded his privacy and half embarrassed that I found out how much of a scumbag he really was. Looking back, I wish I’d just kept it all to myself because at least then I would have been able to preserve the memory of the guy I’d loved. Plus, I wouldn’t seem like a psycho ex-girlfriend.
It meant that we could never be friends again. I don’t know if we’d ever have been able to be friends after our breakup, but I do think it’s possible to at least be cordial. Unfortunately, that possibility has gone out the window for us. I ruined any chance at trying to maintain consistent contact with him because I snooped, but then again, why would I want to be friends with someone who had so little respect for our relationship?
I realized that I was capable of some really low moves. I don’t regret many things in my life, but I regret hacking into his emails because it meant that I’m now that girl. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself because my breakup was truly traumatic for me, and the truth is that sometimes we do drastic things when we’re afraid or upset. Knowing that I was capable of being the kind of person I always made fun of kinda sucked.
It made the pain of losing him so much worse. Breaking up with someone that you love is one of the most difficult things anyone has to do in life because as human beings, our complex relationships and our ability to love are part of what sets us apart in this world. What I didn’t know before I logged into his email was that I was making the pain and loss that I felt so much worse than it needed to be. I was dragging it out for myself by adding another layer of emotion to dig through. It wasn’t worth it.
I learned that sometimes ignorance is truly bliss. If you’re a control freak like me, you need to have all of the information at your fingertips. You need to know every best and worst case scenario. You need to know what could happen and when. You need explanations for why something happened. I hacked my ex’s email because I wanted control at a moment when I felt completely out of control. I wanted an explanation. But the biggest lesson I learned is that not knowing is just as powerful. Control also comes in the form of self-control and restraint. At a time when I should’ve been focused on myself, I was focused on my ex and what he was doing. It was a bad choice.
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