Is It Wrong for You or Your Spouse to Open One Anothers Mail?

Updated on September 08, 2011
D.L. asks from Fremont, NE
44 answers

I was curious to this concept. At this moment I don't find it right to open one anothers mail as we are going though a divorce, but when things are all fine and dandy at home, is it right for one or the other to opens their spouses mail?

I ask this because I have before opened packages my husband would get in the mail I pretty much knew what were in them, and like to tell him what he did get. I never opened personal mail though like letters and such, only bills and such.

Only thing is, now that I we are getting a divorce, he hasn't wanted me to get a lawyer, saying they will turn things around on me such, so it screws up any plans we had for any agreement with him. Or something to that extent. He took a letter, sent to me from legal aid like place, with the application I needed to fill out. Now I may never have gotten this lawyer, but I wanted to make sure I had some one to contact or try and get one, till I found out he took it. Found it hidden behind his papers for the divorce, in some folder of his, in the car. Yeah I was snooping, while I was cleaning it out, but good thing I did, because he had opened my mail and taken it from me. It had been sent at least a week or two before I found it. I never seen it. Never opened it myself. So he had to have taken it.

So is he justified for opening it since we are married, or is it still wrong. I am sure he and many can say since I opened some things of his that it was only fair, but that was when we were getting along, this is in the middle of the whole divorce proceedings.

Mind you I got the help I needed so need to tell me to get it, just asking about the mail part.

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answers from Dayton on

It is one thing to open each others mail when you are married. Totally wrong when you are going thru a divorce. Maybe a po box is what you need for the time being and then he will not have access to anything.

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answers from Wausau on

I open everything that comes into this house, cards, junk everything. I don't mind if my husband opens something unless he opens it and it's a bill and doesn't put it in the right spot. Which he has done and has had an earful about! :) But I do the fiances and all that stuff so it only makes sense!! When we got his new computer via USP I waited for him to open it cause it was like a present :)

Now if we were going through a divorce each others would be completely off limits.

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answers from Savannah on

I always open the boring junk (bills, junk, etc) but I do let him get to open cards/letters from his family or friends. Not because I "need" to but because that would be taking away the fun of opening something good. He doesn't open my mail....but only because he doesn't open any mail unless I specifically hand it to him.
Going through a divorce, even if it's still "legal", I would say it's a no-no to open mail unless it's a joint bill (electric, cable, etc).

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answers from Portland on

It is a federal offense to withhold mail from an adult recipient. You might want to talk to your lawyer about this and decide if you want to file a complaint.

Married folks have different understandings about what sorts of mail can be opened by the other, and for what reasons. They generally agree about it, and then it's okay. In this case, it seems your husband was deliberately trying to limit your choices and control you, and that is simply wrong.

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answers from Iowa City on

I don't think opening it is what is wrong with the is the fact that he hid your mail from you that is the problem. I open my husband's mail if I know what it is...bills, for instance and I have no problem if he opens my mail. But, we are happily married. If we were in the middle of divorce proceedings I would get a PO box.

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answers from Chicago on

just get a po box, he will do it again weather it's morally right or wrong. PS once my man and I moved in mail was open to the person who checked it ... never know what is important to read right away. If it seemed really personal I would call tell him who the sender is and go from there.

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answers from Kalamazoo on

I think the point here is to obey the wishes of the person who's name is on the mail........My husband and I open each others mail whenever we feel like it because we have told each other it's ok. If you told him it's not ok, then he should respect that.......and him hiding it is definetly no OK!!!

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answers from Minneapolis on

i open it if it looks like a bill (b/c I pay the bills) but just leave it on the counter if it looks personal. i also will call him a t work and let him know a package arrived and ask if he wants me to open it. It's about respect.

As you now know - you need to protect yourself from your hubby.. get a p.o. box AND your own lawyer.

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answers from Charlotte on

Oh, please, don't let this man take you for a ride! Get a lawyer for God's sake!

And please let go of any worries about going through his papers or opening the mail! When you are married to someone, there shouldn't be secrets. I have opened my husband's mail since we got back from our honeymoon. If he were to get any mail that he wouldn't want me to see, there would be WWIII in our house. And he is welcome to open all my mail as well.

When there is nothing to hide, no one should be upset about the family mail being opened by either spouse. If there IS something to hide, then shame on them!!!!

He STOLE your mail and that is not the same as both parties opening mail that comes to your house. That is what is wrong, D.. He stole your mail. Has nothing to do with opening it.

Don't trust your husband from now on in the divorce proceedings. Get ALL your ducks together and don't let him screw you. And if there is something that comes to you that pertains to your side of the divorce, use a different address for it to go to. For all intents and purposes, you aren't married anymore.

Good luck!
The other D.

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answers from Topeka on

I always get the mail I go through it all on the couch I never sit it down before looking at it I toss out all the junk open the bills unwrap my magazines if he gets a pacakage i'm told in advance that is will be arriving sometimes I will open it others I set it right there by the front door so whne he gets home he can open it.So yes I don open our mail even if it is addressed to him,he hasn't opened any of my mail since I don't have much just parenting magazines

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answers from Los Angeles on

We open each other's mail all the time.
In your case though....I don't think he was justified. When I went through my divorce we didn't read each others mail. I made a pile for my ex of all his letters and stuff, and he could pick it up when we agreed.
Good Luck.

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answers from Dallas on

If you feel like you have to hide what you are doing, then what you are doing is wrong. I think that each other's email SHOULD NOT be restricted from one another. I think if you have nothing to hide, then what's the big deal? I don't go looking through my husband's phone or his email on a regular basis, but, I do have the ability to do so. And I have nothing to hide myself, so if he wants to look through my stuff, so be it. He's totally free to look away. Once you start hiding things like changing passwords or deleting texts/emails, then obviously there is something to hide which goes back to my 1st statement...if you're hiding what you're doing, then what you are doing is probably wrong.

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answers from Toledo on

In your situation it is wrong he did this, on a normal situation junk mail eh..ok...personal mail from work, no I wouldnt.

On a side note...get your own lawyer. He will screw you over big time and is already taking advantage of you. It will only screw up any ideas of what HE will get is what he really is saying. Your previous posts lead me to believe he will play on your innocence about legal matters and you will get nothing or he will get out of paying either child support and or allimony.

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answers from Chicago on

I open all the mail if I go get it. If my husband gets the mail he opens it, but saves the fun mail for me, like thank you's, invites.

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answers from San Francisco on

Around here, whoever gets the mail opens all of the business-type envelopes (bills, advertisements, that type of thing). If it's a birthday card or something specifically addressed to him, I'll leave it for him to open. It always gives me a thrill when I get "real" mail that isn't a bill, so I'd hate to take that little joy away from him (although I don't think he is as thrilled to get mail as I am ;). If it's a package and I don't know what's in it, I'll leave it for him. I figure, maybe he bought me a present (yeah right! :) and he wants it to be a surprise.

In your case, I would say it was 100% WRONG that he not only opened your mail, but then hid it from you. Seriously NOT OKAY. I think his intent was to keep you from getting a lawyer. There's no way on planet earth that you should be okay with that (and I guess you're not, since you're divorcing him! Which in light of what you've told us about his behavior, I completely agree with!)

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answers from Seattle on

I commit a federal offence a few times a week. Yup. I'm a law breaker ;-)

I open my husband's mail, he opens mine. (We only get boring mail - we don't read each other's e-mail or journals. That crosses a line, for US).

We've consented, and agreed that that's okay with us. In your's not consensual OR legal.

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answers from Spokane on

I open a majority of our mail b/c I am in charge of the check-book and bills. If it's a b-day card or a package addressed to him I leave it for him to open. I toss out all the junk mail. We have a "joint" email acct and we use the same password for everything. No secrets here.
I think in your situation it is wrong to open each other's mail. I also think it was wrong of you to be snooping in his car.

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answers from Rochester on

Whoever gets the mail out of the mailbox gets the treat of opening it. Our lives are so mundane that opening the mail is exciting these days...and it isn't really, I just tell myself that. It's all bills, ads, and junk anyways.

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answers from New York on

My husband and I have nothing to hide from each other. I don't go out of my way to open things with his name on them (other than bills). Honestly, I don't think he's ever opened anything with my name on it although I wouldn't mind if he did as long as he didn't absentmindedly tossed it aside never to be found again. If I ask him to get something out of my purse, he brings it to me instead of venturing in - I really don't have anything in there he can't see so I don't know why he does that. Email, facebook, messages, cell phone - I don't care - he can see it all if he wants, although he doesn't.

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answers from Houston on

Ill open his and his mine.....we have no secrets from each oter. In fact im the one that makes his secrets ok.

we arent going through a divorce though

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answers from Peoria on

Other than bills & things that pertain to the house, me & my hubby don't open each other's mail if it's personal. What's mine is mine & vice-versa unless I'm not at home, expecting something important then he asks me first if he should open it & I do the same. If something has both our names on it, then it's ok b/c it's to both of us but I still normally wait til he gets home b/c I was just taught that way, that it's more proper to wait & bad manners if I don't. If this letter was meant for you & he opened it, knowing what it was in the first place, then kept it from you, then he was definilty breaking the law & had no right to open a letter addressed to you. Now on occasion I have accidentally opened my husband's mail b/c I wasn't paying attention & thought it was mine but then I just told him afterwards & it was was just a statement from the bank but I felt bad about it b/c we have separate accounts. But if you're going through a divorce & if you're expecting a letter that pertains to that, then he should've given it to you to open or if he opened it by mistake or otherwise, he should've given it to you b/c it's something you need for the procedings & wasn't his. but it sounds like he was waiting for it, found it & hid it from you on purpose. I'd bring it up to your attorney if you haven't gotten one already, I'd definitly get one. It sounds like he's trying to control the situation, especially by him telling you not to get an attorney. If you get an attorney, things can be official & wrote down, signed & has to be followed. If you husband is expecting a 'verbal agreement', he can take it back at any time for any reason & expect you to follow it & do what he says...get an attorney...I think you'd regret it if you don't. Good luck!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

If you are getting a divorce then why in the world does he have access to your private property. Get a PO box for your correspondence. He could have called them and cancelled the possibility for even having an appointment. He sounds like he is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

Get on the phone and call an attorney, most will take you on and file for him to pay their fees and the court costs.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I don't care if she opens my mail or not, except if its something I have coming for her. Then its usually a package that's her present. I don't open packages addressed to her and she does me the same courtesy.

I'm so sorry to hear that you are getting a divorce. You have my condolences.

Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from Rochester on

My hubby and I open all mail except for birthday cards (because he loves opening his own birthday cards). Otherwise we are a team so any personal mail that is his is also mine and so forth. It sounds to me that your ex is hiding something and thinks if you get a lawyer you could get too much! Get a great lawyer and get what is rightfully yours!



answers from Redding on

You're getting a divorce. Get a post office box. I used a secret address for things to get mailed to me. My husband didn't allow me to open mail, even if my name was on it so I certainly didn't want him having access to anything sent to me pertaining the the divorce.
It's a criminal offense to deliberately tamper with someone else's mail.
Get rid of the temptation and have your mail forwarded somewhere else.

Just my opinion.



answers from Augusta on

we always open each others mail.
I don't always open packages because it might be something he's ordered for my birthday or something like that.



answers from Nashville on

We'll open bills but I don't open stuff address to him and he doesn't open stuff address to me. I wouldn't care if he did but just don't out of respect for space. I don't go through his email, phone records, wallet for the same reasons.

Sorry about the divorce. That sort of throws trust and respect out the window. Hopefully it'll go smoothly and things will work out for the best.



answers from Omaha on

Well, i am a newlywed, and we don't open each other's mail. I guess I wouldnt' care if he did open my mail- I have nothing to hide, but, we just don't.


answers from Kansas City on

My husband and I open each others mail. Sometimes, I don't like for him to because he's terrible about money...his is his, mine is his.... He condemns my spending and then insists I have no right to question his... But to be real, we are married and we both have a right to know what's going on and we should. There are some things that can come back to bite someone in the arse in a huge way and no way should either spouse be in the dark.


answers from St. Louis on

I always opened my ex's mail when we were married. I did not open his mail during the divorce.

You will love this, he didn't open my mail but instead put it in his car where I couldn't get it. He felt that opening it was against the law but stealing it wasn't. Why oh why did I divorce such a brilliant man!!!! The dipshit!

I will open Troy's mail if it is a bill I deal with or a package that I know what it is. I don't open the mail he deals with only because he is like me, there is a way and it starts with opening it. I suppose we are a bit OCD but it actually irritates either of us if specific things aren't done a specific way.

Oh if you haven't figured it out it is actually against the law for him to take your mail.


answers from Phoenix on

Technically its "illegal" to open any mail that is not addressed to you directly. That being said, my husband HAS to open my mail because I have some kind of weird mail disease and can't seem to ever open my own. =)

You may want to go to a Postal Store by you and get a box to have all your mail delivered to until you move out. Good luck.



answers from Rapid City on

I open bills, things from the insurance companies, retirement funds or union but personal items I don't open or the things that come to his business. Packages I don't open until he tells me to open them. If he took one of my letters and hid it that would be trouble.



answers from Davenport on

Since you are divorcing, I think it was definitely wrong for him to open mail addressed to you personally, but it was wrong of you to go through his folder of papers in the car too.

Sorry if this is a repeat of other responses, I didn't read them all. I don't open things of my husbands unless he asks me to, and we are on good terms. Bills are different, they are joint info, even if only one name is on them. He still won't rummage through my purse to find things, will bring it to me to find the garage door remote or car keys, etc. Doesn't open things addressed to only me, either.

I would suggest you get a P. O. box, ( or have it mailed to a good girlfriend's house or your mom or sister's address), for your own personal mail during this time...or else move out, and have a different address altogether.

Sounds like he is being controlling/trying to take advantage of the situation, telling you not to get a lawyer, taking mail addressed to you...make sure you do what is in your own best interest, if youhave decided to divorce, there is no reason you need to be following his orders anymore.



answers from Washington DC on

I would get a PO box and start sending my mail there.

I only open DH's mail when it's a joint account or bill. Personal preference.

I think it was wrong of him to take your mail.



answers from Appleton on

What is he hiding?????? If he doesn't want you to get a lawyer and even stole a letter sent to you, he's hiding something. Protect yourself and your children and find a barracuda of a lawyer.

As far as opening another person's mail; if it's personal mail no, unless they ask me to read it over the phone to them. Anything else is okay.



answers from Omaha on

I usually open all the mail, unless it's a birthday card or something like that. I toss the junk, put the bills in a place to pay them (since I pay the bills), and if something for him I put that in a pile to give to him when he gets home. I never open packages addressed to him, and very rarely open any addressed to us unless he is there. We both use the same passwords for everything,mostly so we can remember them. We can access eachother's facebook, email, etc.. although we usually don't. If we do the other peson usually knows about it. Like when we had a baby my husband posted on my Facebook about it, or I had an email that pertained to him, that kind of thing. All that being said, your situation is different. Since it sounds like the two of you still live together, I second the people who said get your own PO Box to have mail sent to. If you can't do that maybe there is a trusted friend you can have your mail sent to.



answers from Dallas on

I think if you were on good terms with your husband(not getting a divorce) there would be no problem with opening each others mail. I open up all the mail(except for personal letters and cards to him) because I send out the checks for the bills. I have no problem with him opening up my mail either. But when you open up the other person's mail and hide it or don't tell them about it- that's wrong even if everything else in the marriage is great. It is wrong to hide stuff like that from your spouse.
So yeah, since he hid it and wasn't going to tell you about it- that's wrong, but had he opened the mail just to see what it was, then gave it too you- I don't think that would be a big problem.


answers from San Diego on

Around here we're always opening each others mail, unless my husband says something like I bought a surprise so don't open packages. I don't open anything that he gets for work but that's more so it doesn't accidentally get lost and I have nothing I need to do with it anyway. I always give him his mail when it arrives as soon as I can. It is OK to open your spouses mail if you make sure they get it, unless they really don't want you to and asked as such. But, really, my husband and I have nothing to hide.
In your situation it sounds like you soon to be ex is intentionally taking things you need to represent and take care of yourself during the divorce. His taking the mail is manipulation. He did not intend to give it to you from the sounds of it. This is completely wrong and dangerous to you.
I would recommend as another lady did to get a PO Box and make sure that all of your important mail goes there so that you receive it and your soon to be ex can not steal and hide it from you.



answers from Baton Rouge on

My husband and I have never opened each other's mail unless specifically asked to do so.


answers from Rockford on

My husband and I have been married for almost 18 yrs....I open generic solicitation type mail (because I know he won't!) and I do all the bills...but if it looks like something personal or something I'm not sure of, no, I don't, unless he asks me to. And packages, no. If he wants to tell me or show me something, he will...but majority of the time, what he ordered is for ME anyway, so why ruin the surprise!

I think it just depends on the relationship, level of trust and how a couple does other stuf, ya know?



answers from Chicago on

Wow I always open almost everything, I don't open his personal cards, letters, or packages unless he tells me to.



answers from Dallas on

We open everyday types of mail, but his magazine and his birthday cards, that sort of thing, I don't open. This agreement came after years of asking him each and every time (and vice versa, btw) until we finally just got comfortable.

If things were bumpy, that agreement would not be around. It's a given, in my mind, that if you're working on having separate lives, mail is one place you can do that right now. Best of luck to you.



answers from Spartanburg on

An old friend of mine adviced me once: "Always call your husband before going back home...don't surprise him, or he may surprise you!" The old grump was right, darn it...My answer is NO, unless specifically told to do so i would not open my (hypothethical) husband's mail. If there's nothing to hide, great. if there is, well,I still expect to know from him, that's the man I want by my side (and that's why I am still single too LOL). Oh, and I like privacy for my mail too.



answers from Houston on

Yes! There has to be some level and sense of privacy no matter if you are getting a divorce or if you are madly deeply in love.

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