I snoop on my man's emails because I don't trust other women, says Samantha Brick
00:59 GMT, 10 July 2012
Samantha Brick, with husband Pascal, admits that she checks her husbands emails and phone messages
My personal safe is bolted to the floor in my office.
Within it, among the passports and birth certificates, is a notepad containing all the passwords for my husband’s phone and email accounts.
To be honest, I don’t really need to glance at the combinations of numbers and letters in that book any more: I know each and every security code off by heart.
For, as far as I’m concerned, my husband’s emails, voicemails and texts aren’t just his business — they’re mine, too.
I read, listen and check all of them daily. And I don’t mind admitting that I open his post, too.
While you might be appalled, let me say I'd never consider my actions as spying or the desperate efforts of a paranoid wife. In fact, I consider it to be protecting my marriage.
It’s not that I don’t trust my husband, Pascal — I do. I just don’t trust other women.
So I applauded Jools Oliver’s honesty — and agreed with her actions completely — when she admitted at the weekend that she did the same to her husband Jamie.
Asked if she felt confident about his dealings with other women, she said: 'Yeah, I’ll check his emails. I’ll check his Twitter.
'I’ll check his phone. Everything seems fine. He says I’m a jealous girl, but I think I’m fairly laid back considering.'
I’ve had dealings with Jools: I worked with her briefly when I was head of entertainment at Sky 1 in 2000.
She was not yet a mother, and I found her to be a very smart woman in possession of a razor-sharp wit, who cut to the chase in every conversation we had.
She is neither self-doubting nor questioning of Jamie’s commitment to her. Anyone who writes her off as an insecure housewife does so at their peril.
It’s my belief that she could have had a broadcasting career to equal Jamie’s. Yet she chose to stay at home and raise her family instead. I, too, take the domestic side of my life, and my marriage, seriously. I’m a wife first and part-time writer second.
I have two words to say to those women who dismiss Jools and me for being insecure and not trusting our other halves: Vernon Kay.
In February 2010, TV presenter Kay admitted to his wife, Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly, that he had exchanged ‘racy’ text messages with five women, including a glamour model he had met in a nightclub.
According to Kay, the messages started off as ‘pretty innocent’ before becoming explicit. At the time, Tess, rightly in my opinion, responded: ‘The trust is gone.’
My experience has shown me there are scores of women who are morally bankrupt when it comes to using every form of modern communication available to snare an already taken man.
Men seem to have no idea about how pitifully easily they can be trapped by unscrupulous women hell bent on hooking any chap they fancy.
Unfortunately, emails, texts and messaging on social networks allow women to try their luck with men who would normally be off-limits.
Jools Oliver admitted that she checks Jamie's email's, Twitter account and mobile phone to make sure no other women are in touch with her husband
The flirting options are endless: a ‘poke’ on Facebook, a suggestive re-tweet on Twitter, a saucy message on email or text.
Forget exchanging longing looks over the coffee machine or lingering over the tea trolley — these exchanges are accomplished within seconds (though the dire consequences can last much longer).
The fact is that women are brilliant communicators: we excel at composing flirty one-liners and sending carefully worded ‘friendly’ messages to members of the opposite sex.
And that’s why every morning the first thing I do on waking, after checking my voicemail and emails, is to check my husband’s messages. When I scan through his emails, I scrutinise his inbox for female names. When I find them, I’ll open the message and run through the text, casting a beady eye over how they sign off.
Vernon Kay admitted to wife Tess Daly that he had sent racy messages to Rhian Sugden
Most are work emails, but if it’s personal, I’ll print it off and ask him who the person is. There’s always been an innocent explanation and now, perhaps unsurprisingly, such messages rarely arrive.
But that wasn’t always the case — hence my keeping a close eye on the situation. When I moved in with my husband, he had been single for 18 months. Yet the moment he was off the market, other women saw him as a challenge they couldn’t resist.
One persisted in phoning our home, usually after ‘wine o’clock’. Her slurred voice and drunken pleas to speak to Pascal made me question whether he was telling the truth — that there had never been anything between them.
My husband — in typical male style — didn’t want to take the calls, preferring to ignore them and hope she’d stop calling. So it was left to me to make contact with this person’s closest friend, suggesting she should have a discreet word with her drunk-dialling friend.
We were also dealing with a former girlfriend of his who, on learning Pascal was in love, decided to bombard him with cards, love letters and pictures of herself (we live in France where such ‘jealous’ and ‘possessive’ declarations of love are considered the norm).
If that wasn’t bad enough, there were also crude and explicit text messages which, perhaps predictably, arrived late at night. We’d normally have no choice but to turn off the phone.
Four years on, such crude messages no longer arrive and I consider myself happily married.
But of late, we’ve spent increasing amounts of time apart as I’ve been back and forth to Britain helping my mother look after my grandmother, who requires round-the-clock care.
While I trust my husband, and he has no objection to my scouring his communications, it still doesn’t stop me from checking his phone on my return. Pascal isn’t the most technologically savvy person and so, in the time it takes for him to make me a cup of tea, I’ll whizz through the call history on his mobile phone.
And if there are any numbers I don’t recognise, I’ll do what any sane woman should do: I’ll ring up and check exactly who it is.
It’s always a supplier or customer (Pascal is a carpenter), but checking puts my mind at rest.
As the number of texts I have received from my husband during our five years together can be counted on one hand, I know it’s utterly unlikely he’ll be sending text messages to anyone else. Even so, that doesn’t prevent me from checking to see if he is in receipt of any.
Recently, there’s been a spate of texts that suggested they were from another woman — urging Pascal to text a number to receive a photograph of her.
At first, my mind went to places I’d rather it hadn’t, but I soon realised it was a money-making con by some texting racket that had chanced on his number — if you text back, it costs you a fortune.
Of course, that conclusion wasn’t reached before the message had triggered a row of epic proportions.
I don’t think my approach is possessive — rather it’s eminently practical. I also believe openness and transparency in marriage is the key to such a relationship thriving.
Consequently, my husband and I don’t harbour secrets, neither do we have clandestine accounts, undeclared mobile phones or belong to any of the myriad online social networks.
Just as I check up on him, my email account is on his computer and I’ve written down all of my passwords and security codes for him, too.
I don’t, as recommended by a friend, keep back ten per cent in our relationship. It’s all or nothing — and that’s why, when my husband or I are on the phone or writing letters to other people, we do it in front of each other. We don’t have anything to hide.
For anyone who thinks I’m overly suspicious, consider this: a married friend of my husband has recently bought a pay-as-you-go mobile phone for his own ‘independence’.
It’s no coincidence that he has also struck up a friendly camaraderie with a local waitress, too.
That, in my opinion, is all the justification that women like Jools and me need to keep tabs on our husbands.