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Inbox investigations: Breaching boyfriend’s trust

V,

My boyfriend was out of town a few months ago and was waiting for an important e-mail. He called me and gave me his password and asked me to check for him. I remembered his password and have looked at his e-mail a few times since then just to check up on him. I feel kind of guilty about this. Is it really so wrong?

~ Secret Sleuth

Dear Reader,

The answer to your question is a resounding YES!

Your boyfriend obviously trusts you if he was willing to hand over his password without hesitation. You may not realize it, but an Internet password is sort of a sacred thing. It guards our bank accounts, social networking interactions, correspondences and any other number of important parts of our lives.

Trusting someone with the password to an online banking account can lead to identity or money theft, and a Facebook password in the wrong hands might turn your favorite movie from When Harry Met Sally to Debbie Does Dallas. I dated my last boyfriend for quite a lengthy period of time and refused to fork over any of my passwords. I gave my dad my MyUM password once, but that was only because I knew he’d forget it just as soon as I’d told him.

My point here is that you don’t just hand out your passwords like they’re Halloween candy. When your boyfriend gave you the password to his e-mail account, he was making a nonverbal acknowledgment that he trusts you and has faith in your sense of right versus wrong. That’s kind of a big deal, don’t you think?

Your moral compass must be a little off if you think secretly lurking in his inbox is OK. You’re violating his confidence and proving exactly why he should have been wary of telling you his password at all.

What are you looking for anyway? E-mails from other women? Proof of a subscription to a nudie Web site? Think about things logically. Your boy knew exactly what you’d be seeing when you opened that browser window. If he had something serious to hide, I doubt he’d give you his password in the first place.

Moreover, why are you dating someone you feel needs to be checked up on? If he’s given you any reason to think he’s doing anything shady, consider bringing it up with him instead of playing private investigator.

If you simply have trust issues (and many people do), I’d recommend talking to him about those as well. By reading your boyfriend’s e-mails, you’re only perpetuating a cycle of dishonesty and sneakiness.

Try being honest and communicating, and maybe you’ll find you no longer feel the need to check up on your boyfriend.

Best of luck!

V

Fact O’ the Day: About 171 billion e-mails are sent everyday. That’s two million e-mails per second. Of these, around 71 percent are spam and viruses.

Please send probing inquiries to DearV@hotmail.com. Do it! All questions and comments will remain anonymous.

November 15, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.