I got that bathroom upgrade you always wanted, Europe! (Tim Carter Photo)
I got that bathroom upgrade you always wanted, Europe! (Tim Carter Photo)

Transatlantic relations have been a little awkward ever since it was discovered that we’ve been listening to Europe’s phone calls to the tune of, er, 60 million calls in Spain alone. Our initial efforts to joke this offense away (“Look, this is America! Have you met our foreign language skills? If you weren’t speaking English, we probably didn’t understand a word!” ” No worse than anything I’ve overheard on Amtrak!”) were returned unopened, and now we are stuck. Angela Merkel even called to lay down the law.

Where do we go from here?

Well, fortunately, this is not the first time this kind of thing has happened! The Internet abounds in advice for people caught in this kind of situation. Here are some tips from dating sites that might be applicable at this touch-and-go, nervous time.

“I currently snooped on my now ex-boyfriend and I told him that I did it, now we’re no longer together. But I feel we’re meant for one another, however I think his pretty much done with the situation. But I’m not 100% sure. What could I possibly do to get him back?” asked a Yahoo! Answers user.

Andy, voted the Best Answer, replied, “Nothing, leave him alone. Wacko stalker…’I feel we’re meant for one another’ if a sane person said that, they wouldn’t have needed to spy on them.”

So there’s that. That is one option.

RelationshipTrust.com suggests:

If you have been caught spying, you will need to make this choice as well. How do you feel about apologizing for spying? If you do decide to apologize, what will you say?

Again, every situation is different.

If you are ready to stop spying and you want to try to salvage your relationship, it is probably a wise idea to say “I’m sorry” and to really mean it.

You could be honest about why you were spying and, from there, the two of you could create some agreements that will help rebuild trust and address your worries that drove you to spy in the first place.

However, if you are not ready to leave this relationship, but you still want to know for sure whether or not your partner is cheating, you might decide to keep your plan to spy again to yourself.

Whether or not you apologize is up to you. We advise you not to lie if you think there is a chance you’d like to stay with this person and rebuild trust.

That’s deep, and sort of devious, but might be practical.

The advice columnist Eric Charles at ANewMode notes, “If it were me, I would dump you without a second thought. You can’t have a meaningful relationship when it’s not built on a solid foundation of trust.” But then he suggests four simple steps to win your man back:

1) Explain your actions.
2) Face the music.
3) Tell him you love him and that you only snooped because you were afraid you’d lose him. (“OK, now that you’ve listened to him (REALLY listened and let it seek in), now it’s time to let him know how much you value him. You love him and you were afraid you’d lose him – and that’s why you felt compelled to snoop and risk violating everything with him. You felt overwhelmed by your fears of losing him because you love him so much.”)
4) Apologize and NEVER, EVER, EVER snoop again.”

We’ve gone through most of these steps with Angela Merkel already, I assume, based on the accounts of the Obama-Merkel phone call. One hopes this will cut it.

I asked Yahoo!Answers a variant of the same question (“I snooped on some calls, like a bunch, but I still want their trust and confidence, what do I do about this, I’m really not a bad person, what do I tell them? I’m not doing it any more!“) and got some really helpful advice from users CHV (“It all depends what kind of relationship you have with your partner”) and Pick This (“a great apology includes a small gift.”)

We should probably send over an aircraft carrier full of Edible Arrangements, stat. What are the other gifts you get people or nation-states at times like this? Massage coupons? Roses? Happy Administrative Professionals Day cards? Are there any island territories that we haven’t been using for a while that Spain has had its eye on? How about a large stuffed teddy bear? We could install more bidets in more places to make Europeans feel more comfortable generally, unless this is an insulting stereotype, in which case, please, forget we suggested it.

“Say you will not do it anymore, and you’ll be able to earn their trust back…….IF you stay true to you word. Good luck!” Breezy added.

Thanks, Breezy.