I keep seeing advice column letters like this where someone snoops in their SO’s email (both men and women do this, but it’s mostly women in these letters). It seems (to me) that many, many people in serious relationships where they have an emotional investment, are going to snoop in their SO’s email the first chance they get, if they can do so undetected. Is this merely my cynicism about human nature, or is it simply a realistic estimation of how people are likely to behave?
On the flip side it stuns me how often people (mainly men) are so assured at the privacy of their emails they will conduct affairs over the net, and simply assume their email account is under some double secret lock and key, given that many accounts in Internet Explorer and email clients are often set to automatically enter passwords as a convenience.
I never assume that my wife won’t read my e-mail, but I don’t care if she does. We’re at a point where “snooping” would be the wrong word anyway. We don’t have anything to hide from each other and little interest in reading each other’s private correspondence but neither one of us would care if the other one did, any more than we care who opens the snail mail. In neither case is either of us going to find anything very interesting.
I can’t snoop at my wife’s anyway, because she uses a passworded site and I don’t know her password. For that matter, she doesn’t know many of mine, so she could only check the main account. Nothing there but spam and messages from my List-Serves.
I will probably be in the minority here, but my husband and I know each other’s e-mail passwords, and I think I would be kind of suspicious if he refused to give me his password. (The reason I have it is that he occasionally needs me to check it for him when he’s out of town.) I know you should still have privacy in your marriage, but there is nothing in either of our e-mail that the other person shouldn’t see. (Also, I would hope that if he was going to have an Internet affair or something like that he would be smart enough to get a new e-mail account that I didn’t know about. It’s the 21st century people!) I just see no reason to have secret e-mail if nothing weird is going on. But I have found out I am oddly old-fashioned on these boards more than once, and won’t be surprised to hear it again.
My email is in my mail client, unpassworded, on my laptop that sits at home all day with my husband who works from home. I’ve used it just this month for something confidential from him (commissioning jewelry for a birthday present for him) but under any other circumstances I have no problem with him seeing my inbox or anything - he’s bound to have when I’ve asked him to go into my computer to get info for me while I’m at work. There is no possibility of snooping because there’s no assumption of confidence. On the other hand, I also think because of that, it’s less likely he’d bother - he knows I’m not going to be using it for nefarious purposes because I’m not stupid.
My husband is free to check my e-mail any time he likes. He doesn’t bother, just as I don’t bother checking his. If I was going to do something I didn’t want him to know about, I would do it in a manner he wouldn’t be likely to find out about - and I assume he is equally intelligent.
My husband and I know each other’s passwords, but it never occurred to me that he might check my e-mail unless I asked him to. I don’t think he’s ever been concerned about me checking his e-mail, either.
Do what we do - marry a foreigner and make sure that both of you are virtually illiterate in each other’s language!
My husband can read English, and I can read Japanese really, but for both of us it’s at the level of bloody hard work, so most times we can’t be bothered!
Seriously though, I don’t think that there should be blocks on email etc. My husband does fairly often ask me what I am reading or writing, and usually I’m happy to tell him. None of our accounts are passworded.
I will confess to clearing my internet history every day. He never looks except to tidy up the computer for me, but there are a couple of sites that I visit that I’d rather he didn’t have in his face… I studiously avoid the history listing of his computer, too!
Hubby and I both have emails coming into OEX, mine into the inbox and his into a folder. If there’s new email in either folder, we’ll both go and check the other’s inbox. There’s no PW prompts, and I set up his mailbox as a subsidiary of the internet account I get as a freebie from work so I know his PW anyway (and can change it or delete the mailbox as I feel G)
Drachillix does home computer repair as a business and recovers all sorts of things for clients. Lost passwords, deleted files, IM conversations printed out while you wait. He is certainly capable of reading my emails. The probablity is high that he does and I’m sure he has in the past.
People are curious, they like to look. I am not above planting surprises.
I just ended an eight-year-relationship because my SO got suspicious that I was cheating on him and went hunting through my outbox for proof.
For the prior eight years there would have been absolutely nothing in my emails he couldn’t have read. And nothing in my life he couldn’t know about.
It just so happens that two days prior to him checking my email, I’d written one of my customary journal-like emails to one of my best friends (he knows that nothing happens to me that I don’t write about) and in the email I explained how I’d gotten really drunk and made out with one of our mutual best friends.
To this day I don’t believe he’d ever checked my email prior to that occasion. He knew something had happened–intuition–and asked me about it, and I denied it, and he didn’t believe me, and went hunting for the proof.
Everyone tells me I’m incredibly stupid to have written it down, particularly since he’s known variations of my password for years. And I undoubtedly was. But I really didn’t think he’d have any reason to suspect anything. I underestimated him, basically. And overestimated myself, apparently, too, and my ability to lie well under pressure.
So to answer your question, I would imagine the answer depends on the stability of the relationship. I’ve never once checked his email even though I’ve known his password for years.
He only checked mine when he suspected something was up.
I was torn a new one right here in this forum for checking my girlfriend’s email when I suspected something was going on between her and a friend. Like Audrey, I was right, and I feel perfectly justified in hunting down my own answers after being repeatedly lied to. Before this point, I was never even a bit tempted to invade her privacy.
It is a slipperly slope, though. Once that privacy is breeched, it’s hard to back off and give it back to them, especially when you feel so wronged in the first place.
It sounds like you think the problem is that you got caught. Your mistake was your semi-infidelity in the first place, not that you wrote it down or that he read it. No sympathy here. You don’t exactly have much room to complain about a breach of trust.
I once read my ex’s email. Like Audrey’s SO, I had a hunch. I had never looked at his email in the past and for some reason, I woke up one morning and was obsessed. Sure enough, I found a number of “erotic” emails he had written to his ex, who he eventually slept with again, while we were together. I felt like I had been shot when I saw that email.
Needless to say, I printed the emails, made some spelling and grammar corrections (his dream was to be a writer and if those emails were any indication of his best work…well…) and put them on the windshield of his car where he’d find them when he left work. That was fun.
I have to admit, I’ve checked my current SO’s email. Once you’ve actually felt your heart break while reading an email, it’s hard to trust someone completely. I’ve found a few little things, but nothing major (going to lunch with a woman I can’t STAND, who he promised he wouldn’t see outside of work…) He knows I read his email and he’s given me his password. I figure if he’s going to do anything really bad, he’d open a new temporary account I don’t know about anyway, but being able to check his email periodically gives me some sense of security, however misplaced it may be.
I check my boyfriend’s e-mail periodically, but not for nefarious purposes - he can’t be bothered to clean out his spam folder so I do it for him because I’m a LOT better with computers than he is.
If he wanted to check my e-mail it wouldn’t be that hard, because it’s a gmail account that’s set to log in automatically. And even if he wanted to, I don’t have anything bad in there. He knows how easy it would be to check my e-mail, but I don’t think he has - either he trusts me, which is good because I’m not doing anything, or it doesn’t occur to him that someone can carry on a relationship mostly through the Internet. He’s about to turn 36 and has never been good with computers.
I’m fairly sure my husband has never checked my email (and when I asked him if he would if he thought something was up, he said he’d just ask me what was up!) and I know I’ve never checked his. He knows my password, but I don’t know his, and I don’t know how to use his command-line only email program (he’s the computer geek in the family!)
Actually, he only knows the password for one of my two accounts, but even so, there is no reason to think he would check.
As for casually coming across something - we use different laptop computers and we each have an account on the other’s computer. In general, very little is ever seen, simply because of that.
If you can’t trust your spouse, who can you trust? Doesn’t it tell you a lot about your relationship if you feel the need to look? Sit down and talk to each other, people!
My partner and I know most of each other’s passwords, but since we both function under HIPAA and sometimes receive client-related e-mails, we don’t log on to each other’s accounts without permission because that potentially would violate clients’ confidentiality. Similarly, we have keys to each other’s filing cabinets, but would open them only in an emergency that required notifying each other’s clients/students.
I have logged onto her Amazon account once or twice to see what items she’s been looking at before a holiday (she’s bad about updating her wish list). If I saw something there that concerned me, I’d tell her what I’d done. Our agreement is to raise our concerns with each other, and this appears to work.
So far as I know, she never reads my journal, but I would expect that if she did, and was troubled by something, she’d ask me about it. We’ve been together for about 9 years, and so far, so good.