CONFIRM YOUR REALITY BUT TRY NOT TO SPEND HOURS SEARCHING FOR EVIDENCE BEFORE THERAPEUTIC DISCLOSURE. We go back and search and look at past information or “discovery evidence” (web history, messages, etc.), to confirm our new reality. This is how our brain processes the new information in a healthy way.
We look for current evidence of our partner’s behavior to confirm whether their behavior is safe and trustworthy. This is healthy too and can be done with your partner’s knowledge, and they can lean into this need, as just one way they can build trust.
But if you feel like you need to hide the fact that you’re looking, you probably don’t feel safe yet. He probably isn’t able yet to authentically connect, show appropriate remorse and show empathy for the pain and damage he’s caused. That can lead to us still feeling unsafe.
You have a right
to look at browser history, location history, emails, text messages to confirm this new reality. It's normal to look at this evidence because you need to validate your new reality. If that doesn’t help you make decisions on participation in the relationship – you don’t need “evidence” – the way you feel, is all the evidence you need to set and enforce boundaries
Please try to limit the time you engage in this activity, as it can become obsessive and reinforce trauma. You can't “unsee” certain pictures, messages or other facts about your partner's sexual behavior. You can also become attached to the adrenaline that your brain feels when you “look” for something. If you feel worse after this activity, instead of better, then you might want to set some personal boundaries around how often you look, and for how long, or set a goal of stopping completely and using other methods to feel safe.
NOTE: This is NOT the same as “trust but verify” with transparency when you check on your partner's behavior with his knowledge as a way to establish trust.