Sharing Your Worldly Goods

3 February 2012

My mother didn’t give me much marital advice but one thing she did pass on was that I should always keep my own bank account, and this I’ve done, with a joint account for joint expenses (mortgage etc).  I also have my own credit cards, and all the other accoutrements of modern life in my own name.  She also told me not to have secrets from each other, except for what she called I think “birthday secrets” – ie presents, surprise parties etc.  But she never opened my father’s mail and he didn’t open hers.

What constantly amazes me is to receive an email from say John Bloggs, who I’ve never heard of, only to discover when I open it, that it’s actually from JANE Bloggs who I know.  Why would any woman share an email address with her husband? (I’ve never noticed it the other way round – a man using the email address of his wife). 

I do remember a friend telling me that she had to explain to a group of mainly elderly women that they could have more than one email address and she recommended that for security purposes – one provided by their internet provider perhaps, plus a Gmail account, or Hotmail or Yahoo.  They thought that as they had, say, a Bigpond account they could only use a Bigpond email address.  Maybe they don’t know that they can have more than one address with the same provider.  Bigpond for instance probably gives up to 5 or so addresses as part of their service so that everyone in the household can have their own. 

That’s the only explanation I can think of.  Any other ideas?

I don’t have any problem with David reading my emails except that his boredom threshold is rather low!  The inner workings of the Knitters’ Guild, the swapping of patterns and discussions about my work wouldn’t keep him amused for long.  On the other hand, I have no interest in reading about what carpet he’s recommending for the new radio station offices, or his play list for his next programme.     

It isn’t keeping secrets – it’s just protecting our sanity.



  1. A friend of mine did that. Once she got married, they now have a “shared” email address. I’m pretty sure her husband has his own. It’s silly but then once she got married and had kids, it’s like she only exists for them now. Some people feel that’s the only way to stay faithful. http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-09-08-christian-email_N.htm

    • Wonderful link. Thanks for sharing that, Lien.

  2. I’ve seen it quite a bit… but then, both my partner and I think it’s unnecessary.

    That said, we both (for convenience’s sake) know each other’s email passwords. It’s just easier in the case of an emergency, or if one of us is stuck and needs the other to access something. Neither of us checks the other’s emails regularly or anything.

  3. When we first got the internet, we didn’t know we could have additional mailboxes but I had an account with Hotmail before we got the internet at home so that was okay! Now I have Hotmail, Yahoo, Ravelry and two accounts from our ISP for different reasons!

    Mum and dad, and my parents-in-law had joint email accounts! A pain when dad opened the mail on his computer then had to go and get mum to read and answer the ones to her – which were then stored on his computer because it was too hard for them to figure out how to forward/export!

  4. I can see one might have a joint one as well as a solo (though we haven’t!) much like a bank account – but a bit whacky to share totally.
    I do know Clare’s password and she mine just as said above for convenience. I have enough of my own boring emails (not, of course, from any of you…), don’t need to read hers!

  5. Not just that, but the number of payments I get from or make to a PayPal address in a mans name when it is a woman I am sending or receiving money from.

  6. This is not just an elderly person phenomenon. I worked with two males in my last role both of whom shared email (personal not work) with their wives. One was in his mid thirties, I was shocked. They both told me it was something to do with no secrets in marriage. Both couples also had only joint email and credit accounts. There was no capacity for surprise. I still do not comprehend this.

    I am the child of divorced parents where their finances went south when my father took control of these from my mother about two years before he walked out. My mother who had managed mortgages, loans, credit cards etc successfully for years found herself in a situation where her car was nearly repossessed within a week of my father leaving, as well as scrambling to keep the family house. Subsequently I have always maintained seperate finances as well as joint. I am lucky my T is a man who thinks this is how it should be.

  7. Same, with us, each has is account, each has is e-mail, but I have access at his bank account, because he’s the only one with an income and I do the grocery and all this stuff. And we use both my paypal account, because I have one since a long long time and we do not see the use to create one another. It’s just like our cc on internet…

  8. I’ve read on MetaFilter many times that a common step towards reconciliation after some form of infidelity is couples sharing an email address. I guess I can see it in that context, maybe. But other than that, I’m with you 100%!

    Rodd and I don’t know each other’s passwords, but we both use a password program and I’m working on a “one of us gets hit by a bus” file that will contain the master passwords for that. It’s a good thing to also make sure your partner has access to your blog and social network sites in that eventuality.

    Interestingly, despite being totally on board with the separate bank accounts concept, we gave up on that long ago. We’re just too lazy, and our approaches to spending are so similar that we’ve never had a problem with sharing.

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