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Is it ever ok to read your partner’s text messages?

For a couple of weeks there, it felt like every celebrity couple who ever sold their wedding pics to OK! was being brought down by the humble text message. Cheryl and Ashley, Vernon and Tess, Tiger and, er, wife… the list goes on. Yes, the cheaters were in the wrong; but what’s the deal with all these people reading each other’s text messages on the sly?

Like the lady in Canada who broke things off with her long-term partner over pre-loaded message templates, sneaking a peek at your other half’s text messages can only lead to heartache, misunderstandings or reveal things that you then have to pretend you don’t know.

The mobile phone inbox has become a safe haven, a private place meant for your eyes only. We’re sharing our every passing thought on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and Chat Roulette, so the text message has become a kind of diary where you might reveal things to your closest friends that you don’t want to become public knowledge. After all, it’s ok to have a bit of your life that is just yours; you don’t have to share everything with your partner or your social networks.

That’s why we agree with the 50 of you (79% – graphical results below, correct at time of writing) who took our quick Twitter poll to tell us that it’s terrible to read your partner’s messages, even if it does turn out that they’re cheating on you. Just eight of the 63 respondents (13%) disagreed and said that it’s fine to read them. Some people responded quite passionately, like Kate who stated emphatically, “No, it is never cool to read your partner’s – or anyone’s – texts. In fact it’s outrageous.”

But, that said, 64% (18 of 28 of our respondents) rather sheepishly – or so we imagine – admitted that they have in fact read a partner’s messages at one point.

It is tempting, isn’t it? Even if you don’t suspect anything, it’s the flip side to everything we said above. Reading someone’s texts gives you a little insight into a part of their life that you aren’t necessarily in, or reveals true feelings you might never otherwise have known.

You could end up finding out something good – although you’ll wish you hadn’t – like friend-of-a-friend Sara (the lady is real, the name is made-up). She browsed through her boyfriend’s sent items only to discover he was about to propose. Surprise ruined, romance dashed – only a huge fight during which he claimed not to be sure about their long term future at all could throw her off the scent. Or perhaps you’re a drama hound like Anna, who admitted to reading messages and said, “Sometimes happiness gets boring and you crave something to rock the boat.”

Only seven people in our quick poll said they had never read a partner’s messages. Shameful as it is to admit, I wasn’t one of them. Were you?