Weirded out by sister's email address

My sister is an intelligent, professional woman in her mid 50s. Her husband, 10 years her senior, hasn’t worked since before she met him in the mid 1980s so, apart from some money he inherited from his late father, he has not contributed financially to the partnership. He is living better on her earnings than he had ever done before. That said, both seem genuinely happy in the relationship. What I find a little disturbing, though, is that in her personal life she doesn’t seem to take any decisions independently of him. It is always “We think…”, “We have decided…”, “We do things this way”. I find this irksome and don’t have a great deal of contact with her. It suits me that she lives several hundred miles from me.

A few months ago my father died, and my elderly mother is having to rely on my sister and I to help her adjust and put her affairs in order. This means we must discuss private family matters and her email bothers me. The only personal email address she has is [husbands-name]n[her-name]@[ISP-name].com. They don’t do Facebook or the like, but no doubt if they did it would also be with a joint account. It bothers me somewhat that she allows herself to be defined by her relationship with him. It bothers me even more that I cannot email her in confidence, without feeling her husband is looking over her shoulder. It bothers me too that even if I talk to her on the phone, whatever is discussed will no doubt be relayed to him and any opinion she expresses will likely be a joint opinion.

Am I wrong to feel like this?

Well, no. But if that’s the email address she gave you for discussing matters pertaining to the death of your father, then that’s the one you should use.

IME it’s quite common for couples. Since you feel uncomfortable with her behaviour, let me ask you this: does he speak the same way? Does he make decisions independent of her?

And what’s wrong with a stay-at-home husband? No one would give a second thought about someone being a stay-at-home wife.

It doesn’t sound like your sister is hurting herself or anyone else, so you need to mind your own business. If she and her husband are happy together, then be happy for them instead of finding fault. What’s right for one person is not necessarily the right thing for another.

I think this sits firmly in Your Sister’s Own Business. Provided she isn’t in an abusive relationship, then how she wants to conduct her life with her husband is really of no concern of yours. I’m not sure what the husband not working has to do with this, except that you don’t like that either.

I have friends who share their emails with their other half’s. I think it’s weird myself, but to each their own. I find it tends to be older people who don’t see email as a primary form of communication (such as my parents, but then they are 90).

If you want a private chat, then simply call her. Is she wants to share the content of that chat with her husband, than that’s ‘couple’s prerogative’. If you don’t like it, don’t tell her any secrets!

On the privacy note around your family issues - the husband has been in the family for 30 or more years. When are you going to count him as family?

How does the construction of the email address make her more likely to share the contents with her husband?

What is my business is that it is not possible to conduct private, family business without him overseeing everything. My mother does not like her affairs being any of his concern. The email address is both a barrier to confidentiality and indicative of her not being willing to act independently, even in matters which are none of his concern and where his involvement causes distress to my mother.

It is a shared email address. He can read anything you send to that address.

My school BFF does that and we’re 50. Well, her husband is 51, back when they started dating we’d kid her about dating “an older man” :stuck_out_tongue: (by all of seven months).

I wouldn’t be happy in a we-everything kind of relationship, but the Bros and I know Mom’s PIN and her email’s password, two things which are supposed to be absolute no-nos. I’ve known couples where the husband was dyslexic or needed reading glasses and he’d ask his wife to check the newspaper’s headers on his favorite subjects, then actually read the articles or not depending. People have all kinds of different points of equilibriums in our relationships: so long as it works for them and nobody is being hurt, Hallellujah!

So’s my Mom’s and my name doesn’t appear in it.

There are two separate issues here:

  1. your expectation of privacy with your sister,
  2. and your feelings about her relationship with her husband

This is a problem,but not because you feel weird.It’s a problem because you have the wrong expectations about email privacy.
EVERYTHING you ever send by email is public, and NEVER private.
You might think it’s private, but it will remain on various computers forever.And you have zero control over who will see it.
Just like your posts on this message board. :slight_smile:
So be careful with email–whether private or business,there is always a possibility that it will be seen by others.

this relates to my second point.
She’s your sister, but she’s also an independent adult, married and living her life how she wants to. She apparently wants to include her husband in everything.
You can’t do anything about her decision.*
Learn to live with it.

*(And ,by the way, it doesn’t seem so weird to me. I would also expect my spouse to tell me details,if ,say, she inherits a lot of money, or if she has to spend a lot to care for elderly parents, etc. Those things affect spouses, ya know.)

But she could let him see everything with a regular email address too if she didn’t log off from her account. Separate email addresses wouldn’t make the correspondence private. You just don’t like the guy and their relationship, which is your prerogative, and it’s spilling over into this.

Unfortunately, as a married couple, they ARE going to share things with each other. I wouldn’t keep things about my parents from my wife – she’s my partner, my family, we share, we discuss things and help each other out. It’s part of the deal. You might not like it, but you can’t do anything about it. There’s a reason we refer to spouses as the Other Half.

Paging tomndebb

I find most couples who choose double-barrel email addresses like that do it for social reasons, i.e. that’s how their friends know them. I doubt many put all that much thought into what their email addresses should be aside from being unique.

When I first got on the internet a little over twenty years ago, my then wife and I shared an email address. One family email address was relatively common then. We each got our own yahoo or hotmail address within a year or two and stopped using the shared ISP address. It is a weird thing to do nowadays.

I think a lot of the time when I saw this it’s because one of them will never use the computer and this way the other can tell them when they got an email.
I expect it’s less common now that everyone has a smartphone that automatically checks the email for them.
If both of them are checking their email I think it would be annoying because emails you never looked at would be marked read.

In my relationship, I don’t keep things from my wife. When someone says, “Don’t tell anyone, but…” I interrupt them and say, “If you don’t want my wife to know, then don’t tell me.” Usually they don’t care, sometimes they do and that’s cool.

Your sister has been with this dude now for 30+ years, I get that you might not like how they are choosing to live, but if it’s just that you think it’s weird, that’s none of your business really. If it’s an abuse situation, that’s different, but if it’s just that she works and he doesn’t and they use a pronoun that you don’t like, then you probably need to get over it. Like some others have said, some of this might just be sexism, pure and simple. If he had decided to work and she hadn’t, I doubt you’d have an issue with it. Since it’s the opposite, you might find it discomforting, but that’s how they roll and really, there’s nothing wrong with that. Using the ‘we’ affectation is incredibly normal as well. Some couples subsume themselves in one another and there’s nothing wrong with that either, especially if you have kids, it’s very common to get in the habit of hashing things out privately and then presenting a united front and that habit can very easily transition to non-children interactions. If you were to ask me right now, “Hey, Senoy, you want to go to the game this weekend.” First thing I’d say it “I have to ask my wife.” We plan things and do things in concert. It’s actually weird to me when couples don’t do that.

My wife and I do have separate email addresses, but that’s largely because we got married in 2005, well after the advent of email and we had our own addresses that we carried over from well before that. It looks like your sister’s email address is probably due to the fact that they have the same internet provider and it gave them a free address and they decided to use it. It might just be that they don’t use email all that often, so having a joint address is convenient so either one can check it once a week or whatever and they don’t have to bother with it. My mom and dad both got an email address before he died and he never bothered looking at it, so anything you wanted to send to him you sent to mom’s anyway. If this guy is in his 60s, it might just be the same deal. Regardless, if you’re talking about inheritances and putting affairs in order, you should certainly assume that he knows what’s going on and to be honest, he probably should know it. That impacts his future as well as hers and could lead to liability that affects him as well as her (for instance if she decides to assume debts.)

The fact that you’re even asking indicates you feel you may be wrong.

When they married, they entered a partnership that seems to have been happy and successful for the last 30-35 years. So…

Why are you so judgemental of your sister and her husband? Their relationship and their financial situation is none of your business.
Why would you expect her not to share personal information with her life partner regarding private family matters as they pertain to her father’s death and her mother’s affairs?

You need to respect your sister’s marriage and decisions even if it’s not what you would choose to do.

I understand the mentality, but the idea that if my sister were to marry (or be in a serious relationship) I could never, ever tell her anything private, just between us, ever again is deeply sad to me.

I get that you find it a little creepy, and you have a right to feel however you want.

You seem to be in denial that your sister’s husband is part of your family. Married couples are socially and legally a unit, so you really cannot deal solely with your sister and expect her husband to be totally excluded. If their relationship is such that he “oversees” everything you are just going to have to find a way to become resigned to it. It might upset you but it’s out of your control.