I Snooped On My Partner’s Phone — Then He Called Off Our Wedding

He was texting his mother — but the messages weren't what I expected.

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Anxiety can often lead us to do things we regret later on.

In my case, there is one experience that still haunts me to this day. I gave in to my anxious impulses and looked through my fiance’s phone to see who he was texting.

As I’m sharing this story with you today, I’m fearing your judgment. But the truth is, I’m more afraid of my own judgment as I look back at what I’ve done.

I know I could have handled things differently, and this is where the self-judgment comes from.


A friend of mine told me to be compassionate with myself as if it was my little sister relating her story to me. I surely wouldn’t judge her, would I?

So why be hard on myself? Because it's easier to throw stones at ourselves and it is necessary to learn and grow.

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Now, let me tell you what happened that day.

"I will withdraw my savings, John."

Those were the first words I said to my fiancé when I woke up that morning.

I had been the breadwinner since we first dated and I needed extra cash to pay for our wedding in Hawaii.


"Morning…" John mumbled.

I wanted to inform him I was flying back home to get some cash for our wedding.

"I will be back in one month, hopefully before my birthday."

John didn’t say a word. He got out of bed and walked away from me.

Something was off and my fear of abandonment kicked in.

Instead of sitting with this feeling and witnessing it, I would soon act on it.

During breakfast, John remained silent, spending more time than usual texting.

And so I did this thing that I regret today. Something to give me some reassurance. Something I shouldn’t have done.

I waited for him to go to the bathroom and checked his phone.

It was easy; we knew each other’s passwords.


I was searching for his messenger app when I saw his phone lighting up with a notification.


John was texting his mother. I got a moment of relief.

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But her message wasn’t what I expected.

"I’m sorry son, indeed she’s crazy."

Overwhelmed by terror, I could barely breathe. I scrolled down to read the thread of the conversation:

"It’s not going well with Hakima. She’s returning to Japan, so I will take her leaving for Japan as a chance to disappear from her life."

"What’s wrong, son?"

"She doesn’t know how to manage her anger and she’s yelling at me. I don’t feel safe with her mum; I’m scared."


"Please be careful. Yelling at someone is abuse. Hakima is abusive."

"Yes, she’s crazy."

"I’m sorry son, indeed she’s crazy."

I dropped the phone, at the exact moment John came out of the bathroom.

"What are you doing with my phone?" For the first time in our relationship, I heard him raising his voice.

"John, are you planning on breaking up with me? I read your texts with your mum." 

I couldn’t contain my tears, consumed by fear of abandonment.

Ironically, he yelled back at me, furious.

"What did you do? Are you serious?"

"Tell me the truth!"

John went into a long monologue, denying his master plan.

"I will not break up with you, but we’ve been talking a lot about money lately and it’s been stressing me out. I’m struggling to make ends meet and I’m not sure how I’ll be able to contribute to our wedding, let alone start a family. It’s something that’s been weighing on me and it’s causing me a lot of anxiety.


And now, I feel ashamed that I have to self-medicate with weed. I feel like a loser, a weed-head who can’t even make ends meet and support my future wife."

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

I empathized with my fiancé and kissed him on the cheek. That morning, out of survival, I remembered only those words:

"I will not break up with you."

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I flew back to Japan.

When I said goodbye to John at the airport that day, I had a horrible feeling that I might not see him anymore.

Despite all of our issues, I loved John and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him — I had hope.


Hope that John would wake up and work again instead of relying on me for finances.

Hope he would fight to keep me on his side.

It couldn’t be over.

I trusted our issues would smooth up during my time away. I mean, we had already done the impossible — I had flown from Japan to Hawaii to meet with a man I had talked with on a dating app.

Then, I fell in love with him and we got engaged. A few months later, we decided to travel the world together thanks to my money.

We made it work despite the distance and our fiscal imbalance. So it couldn’t be over now.

Yet, during the month I spent in Japan, I didn’t hear from John. He was not responding to any of my messages or phone calls.


Until the morning of my birthday.

I received a simple text message:

"I think it’s too late, Hakima. We shouldn’t get married. Don’t come back to Hawaii. Aloha."


So that was it. It was over just with a text message, the day of my birthday.

John's message was an unexpected birthday gift.

I kept crying.

Soon my constant whining annoyed my host, Rumi, who kicked me out of her home that same day too.

I found a cheap hotel room, and I ordered a fish burger from McDonald’s.

It got cold by the time it was delivered; my thirty-fifth birthday was the s***tiest day of my life.

Luckily, my savings were now available for me to use so I did something very cliché. A couple of days later, I flew to Bali as Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love.

Now replace Love with Sleep — this is what I did most of the time. I even ignored the private swimming pool that was just in front of me in the beautiful and expensive resort I had booked.


Moral of the story: I know that checking someone’s phone is not ethical, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

And oh boy, I am glad I did.

Sometimes you have to trust your gut and take matters into your hands.

If I hadn’t checked John's phone, his imposed silent treatment while in Japan would have made no sense.

Being ghosted by your husband-to-be would have beaten the unethical act of snooping on his phone.

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Hakima Tantrika is a Tantra teacher, intimacy and relationship coach, writer, influencer, and educator. This story is an extract from the inspirational memoir she is currently writing.