Doctor Love: Worried

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Readers, email your question to [email protected] Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love:
My husband and I have been married for almost a year and things have been pretty good. But recently he bought a new cell phone and it is password protected. He will not give me the password and only answers texts when I leave the room. I also found a login on our computer to an email account I didn’t know he had. When I asked him about it he became defensive and couldn’t give any plausible explanation why he had this account. Even though we’ve always shared our password information I never checked his email nor did I check his old phone but this new secrecy has me worried. I want to trust him but in the back of my mind I feel something is amiss and I am afraid of what he might be hiding.
/s/Worried

Dear Worried,
There are very strong arguments on either side of this particular battle. On one side, mobile phones, e-mail accounts and social media are the primary channels of communication for cheating spouses. However, they are also primary channels for social, economic and professional development and everyone has some expectation of privacy, even partners in a marriage.
Red flags arise when one spouse makes a change that is not normal for the relationship. Newly password protected electronic devices and undisclosed email accounts suggest he has very strong motives for keeping his accounts private. They may be harmless but secrecy in a relationship can lead to distrust. Fear and insecurity arise and the more you’re shut out from your husband’s life, the more you’ll want to make certain you’re safe in the relationship and threats have not begun to creep in.
Should you be cut out of a very important means of communication in his life? Not according to the majority of marriage councilors. Transparency is crucial to ensure trust and exchanging login information provides accountability and emotional security.
You could demand he give you access but it would be better for you both to take the time to understand why you have such strong feelings about this issue. You need to hear his reasons as much as he needs to hear your feelings about being excluded. Give him the benefit of the doubt. Your husband may have excellent reasons for hiding his email account from you and keeping you out of his phone. Hopefully he can see that giving you access will put your fears to rest and halt any need to check further. He needs to understand that shutting you out without any valid explanation is not conducive to a trusting marriage.

 

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