My Husband Opened a Package Addressed to Me and Threw It Out

Updated on May 31, 2014
B.W. asks from Seattle, WA
34 answers

My husband and I have been going through a contentious period and have been considering divorce. He has been very jealous of a platonic male friend. He opened a birthday present that was addressed to me and threw it out. I am really upset about this and want to know if I can file charges or a complaint. Anybody know?

EDIT: It is actually a federal offense to open someone else's mail adressed to them. How are you saying he broke no laws, Julie? He THREW OUT a piece of art that was personal property. Your answer was extremely unhelpful. We are already in counseling. Thanks Doris for the helpful answer. Yes, I have a job outside the home. I am consulting with a divorce attorney soon.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

If my SO couldn't deal with the fact that I had platonic male friends, the relationship would have been over long before marriage was ever on the table.
If my husband couldn't deal with the fact that I had platonic male friends, then he would have to either get over it or get out.
Opening MY mail or throwing away MY belongings, regardless of where I got them, would be a HUGE issue for me. I probably WOULD file charges just to let him know how grievous his transgression was.
If things had gotten tot he point where he was opening my mail and throwing away my belongings, counseling would be a waste of my time and money. One of us would be packing up and moving out.

Julie G - just because you are married does not mean that you no longer have the right to claim personal property.Big things are considered joint property - house and car, for example. But my personal items were MINE and mine alone - my clothes, for example. He could not claim that the lace thongs in my underwear drawer were his property as much as they were mine. Mail addressed solely to ME was mine. Mail addressed solely to HIM was his.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Wait, a platonic mail friend sent you a piece of art for a birthday present? I believe you that's it's a platonic relationship, but I think it's a little unusual for a male friend to send a married woman an expensive gift. I would feel very uncomfortable if any of my male friends sent me a gift. And I have no problem with male/female friendships. But my female friends and I don't even usually get each other birthday gifts, so it seems just a little too intimate for him to be sending you something.

There are probably more problems than this with your husband, so it sounds like divorce is in the cards. But seriously, his throwing out a gift is really the least of the problems here. You have three kids, you need to be worrying about them, not whether your immature husband threw out a gift.

You are seriously going to waste time and create more problems by filing charges over him throwing out a gift? You need to get your priorities straight and focus on things that matter, like your kids.

19 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

I always tell my kids that a real friend will look out for you by not doing things or encouraging you to do things that will get you in trouble. Does your "friend" know your marriage is in trouble? If so, shame on him for sending you something. Shame on him for not backing off and letting you try to save your marriage. If you're in counseling, then you are trying to fix things, in theory. As far as I'm concerned, this friendship should not be maintained if it is undermining your marriage.

19 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i suppose you could, but you'd be considered a crank by the court, and it's likely your frivolous charges would be viewed in a hostile fashion by the judge.
that doesn't mean you have no right to be upset. it was a dick move by your husband. however, making a federal case (literally) out of it won't help your current tense situation nor an upcoming divorce.
you've got kids to consider. refocus on them instead of presents from other men, and keep this rapidly deteriorating situation as civil as possible.

18 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

De-escalate. Don't go there - it's just not worth it. And let your friend know that things are bad right now and regardless of the fact that it's a platonic relationship, he needs to back off for now. He's not helping. Just get the divorce done and move on.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

Grow up and be the bigger person. It sounds like you both are being immature about things.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

You are kidding, right? This is the only complaint you get to make.

He broke no laws! What on earth do you think he did that was illegal? Mail tampering, nope! he lives there!

I agree with Mary, find a good counselor.

Oh wow! I have to say Doris is dead wrong! No court will take your kids away because you can't earn like your husband. That is what child support is for!

Hun, it is NOT against federal law to open the mail of your spouse sent to your home address! Have you opened bills lately? Anyone mailed anything to your kids? Same thing!! You say platonic but sorry, no one gets this upset over a guy's gift you have no feelings for.

You could throw out his pants, personal property. If they are in your house, you can do that. Seriously you need to talk to an attorney because you haven't a clue about law.

My ex, after he was my ex, took my mail. That is against the law.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I can only speak from a what if scenario if I had been in your shoes...If some guy friend was brazen enough to send me a gift of such value during a time when my marriage was in trouble, my husband would probably think we were sleeping together or at the very least that he would like to. My husband would have a physical altercation (oops, I mean a stern talking to) with said friend, and probably would have paid a fine and seen a judge. Second, if I had threatened to press charges on my husband for throwing inappropriate gifts away because it was MY MAIL, I would fully expect my personal belongings to be thrown in the yard along side the artwork, and the locks to the house changed. All in all, I think if I was so fed up with my marriage that I might even consider such reasons to be angry-I'd cancel any future counseling and just be done. Why continue putting him through such misery? Again, that is just me.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

My first thought was that if you are so angry at him that you are considering legal action against him over a package, you might as well save your effort and put it into divorce proceedings. While his actions were wrong, you bringing a case about them would be petty and just indicates that your relationship is in very bad shape. If you aren't ready to start the divorce process, you may need to think carefully (maybe in writing) about the pluses and minuses of your relationship. Good luck with it, and sorry things are hard.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

This is how I envision your future:

You: Judge, my husband threw out my mail
Judge: Why did he do that
You: Because it was from a platonic male friend
Judge: So your husband doesn't agree with this platonic relationship
You: No, he's very jealous of this friend
Judge: Isn't your marriage and your family more important than a male friend
You: NO, my male platonic friend is more important and I'm considering a divorce so I can keep this male friend.

Aren't they all "platonic", NOT. This male friend has no regard for you or your children. You have no business getting gifts from a platonic male friend. In a divorce case this is a HUGE black mark against you if you get a judge that frowns on extra marital *friends*. You may want to reconsider seeking legal action, it can backfire.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, it is a federal offense, and your husband broke the law. But I don't recommend filing charges against him. That will go nowhere, and you will only make a bad situation worse.

You need to de-escalate situations like this. Your husband was wrong, but it sounds like he likes to kick it up a notch when you are fighting. This could make for an ugly divorce.

Definitely talk to a divorce attorney. Maybe start seeing a therapist. And avoid this platonic friend for just a little while. Think about how your behavior with your husband is affecting the kids. I'm in the middle of a divorce myself. It has been horrible and wonderful at the same time. Good luck to you!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Yes, opening up someone's mail is a Federal offense but no law inforcement is going to even take a report. Same for what could be called theft because he threw the art away. There may also be exclusions to the law because you are married and reside in the same. I don't know. I do know that law enforcement will not get involved and will code the call as domestic in nature.

You know you have a much bigger problem than him violating the law. As retired officer I suggest you do some strategic planning so you are not putting this relationship in his face. You do not need to prove that he's platonic and by having the package come to your house he probably feels you're throwing your relationship in his face.

Yes, you have a right to have this friendship. My question for you is how will continuing to show him you're friends improve life for you. My motto is tell no lies and don't volunteer information.

You cannot change him. Take care of yourself and your children. For cchildren to see this much anger is not good for them or for you. I would be angry too but I would not be receiving a gift at home and if I did I would leave and come back after I'd cooled off. Experience has taught me how to do this. This is probably the first time you've been in a situation such as this. Keep going to the counselor to learn how to have success in your relationships.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I certainly don't agree with him throwing out your mail, and I have male friends myself, but it strikes me as odd that a wife would want to actually file charges against her husband for this. And you are in counseling? Doesn't sound like either of you want to fix the problem.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Sure, maybe you COULD get the authorities involved. But really. Is that a good idea?
What's your goal? For him to get him in trouble with the law and for you to look really bad?
Was receiving a precious birthday gift from a friend you know your husband is jealous of expected to be OK?

My ex got gifts from "friends" in the mail too. I never opened or smashed one, but it sure hurt. If I had opened or smashed them he wouldn't have called the cops. He knew it wasn't OK and he would apologize all like "It's not my fault she sent me something..."

Whatever. Lame. So glad to be rid of that a-hole.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Whoa! Courts will not take away your kids just because you're a SAHM! (Which you're not.)
What he did us wrong.
It MIGHT be breaking the law...but it's DEFINITELY immature and rude.
I'm sure you'd have no problem with women mailing gifts to your home?
Have your friend mail your gifts to work.
Get a good attorney if you decide to file.
Good luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Art is a very personal, thoughtful, and usually expensive gift. In fact, short of lingerie, I don't think you could get someone something more personal. I can see where both of you were very upset. I bet your husband didn't get you anything that thoughtful. Don't you think your platonic male friends should consider how that might make a husband feel? I agree with others who say you would be wise to deescalate. Even if he was in the wrong. And in any case, any legal trouble he get in is your trouble too. Don't drain your resources over this.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Forget the package - he did nothing wrong (except for demonstrate his immaturity and temper). Put your energy into your possible divorce. Put your energy in fighting for the most custody you could get of your kids. Do you want custody of your kids, or of your gift that your husband threw away? Focus only on your kids, and be 100% honest with yourself about this "platonic" friend of yours. You may think of him as platonic (or do you think of him as more?), but that is not how he thinks of you.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Enough. Just stop. What your husband did was immature and stupid. But then in my opinion so would getting the authorities involved.

If you want to get a divorce then get a divorce. The tit for tat thing will not help you in court.

Word of advice, if a friendship is causing this much problems in your marriage, its not platonic. Doesn't have to be sexual but there is an emotional connection that is interfering with the marriage. Art is very personal.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

OK - so you have a platonic male friend who sent you artwork to you at home for your birthday. And your husband behaved in a jealous way. Shocking.

Let me ask this, if a woman sent your husband a peice of art to him - how would you feell?

I'm old fashioned - I know that. But having a close male friend when your husband isn't included in that little frienship circle is developing an emotional connection. I would not be happy with that with my husband and I know he wouldn't be happy with it happening with me.

As to whether or not he broke a law - I could be wrong but the law is really directed toward people taking things out of other people's mailboxes. I assume you and your husband share the same mailbox and he's taken your mail into the house before this time. True he shouldn't have opened it - but I can fully understand why he did.

Many, many years ago in my first marraige, I was involved in a situation with another man. It began as friends at work. We took our lunches together ran errands together, we even shopped for eachother's spouses' birthday gifts. It started very innocently - but it didn't end that way. I realized I was desperatley unhappy with my husband (he had a drinking problem) and we eventually divorced. But the emotional connection I made with this other guy began as platonic friend.

I've now been married for almost 20 years, we have one kid headed to college and another a few years behind. A mature older mentor told me at the begining of our marraige to guard my marriage. Guard my emotions, my connections, etc. Having male firends is fine - but if they become so close that the two of you want to spend a lot of time together without other people it's time to take a step back, take an honest look at the situation and do what you know you need to do - drop the guy friend and get into counseling with your husband.

I have to say if a platonic female friend sent my husband artwork for his birthday I'm not sure what I'd do. I'm 55 and have mellowed quite a lot over the years - but I still would not like it. Maybe I wouldn't have thrown in out before he saw it - but it might end up in the garbage afterwards...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

If you have a male friendship that is causing your husband to be jealous, why don't you ask your friend to step back a bit until you can get your marriage under control. If he is your friend he will want the best for you. That is if you are interested in saving your marriage.

If not, while you have asked your friend to step back for a bit, get your divorce completed and ask your friend to hold off on sending gifts to the house. There is no point in aggravating a bad situation.

If you find neither of those choices will work for you, then get a postal box and have him send all your gifts to the postal box.

As for the art that is now gone, was it valuable art? Hopefully your friend got insurance on it.

Can you file charges? Well, sure anyone can file charges, but you will need proof. Was the package sent signature required? Did your husband sign?

I am sure the courts have heard it all. You are not in Nevada, so hopefully the friend, gift, and piece of art don't come up in divorce court against you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If you are married, everything is joint property, really, so I don't see how he threw out your property. Marriage destroys the very definition of personal property.

In any case, I'm with Veruca salt. This person isn't your friend.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Okay, I read this on a lawyers blogspot after googling.
It looks like it's illegal, but that most law enforcement have bigger things on their plates than a domestic dispute. PLUS, if he has been allowed to open your mail before and you have not made a big stink about it then that "implies permission" since you never got upset before.
Maybe you need to open up a mailbox at some mailbox place and have your mail forwarded there?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Wow check yourself. Why are you getting gifts from another man? What else does he give you?
If you do not want someone's opinion, don't ask for it. You decided to bring the issue public, so don't get offended when someone offers one you do not like.
Oh and Kudos to Southern Yankee for being on point. Grow up and be done. The only reason you could care so much is if your friend comes with benefits

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Oh Veruca Salt! I stopped reading the other responses after reading yours! Exactly! I say the same thing!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Time to talk to a marriage counselor before either of you throws anything else.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I hope you get a good attorney, your soon to be ex sounds like he's gone off the deep end. I'd make sure he had to pay for the gift he threw away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Divorce is already a very stressful process to go through. Why would you add more stress by filing a case over that opened package? My husband read my diary behind my back,so I do know how you feel. But I think right now its important u choose your real battles

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

So, WHO is considering divorce? You or your Husband?
It does not seem like... a mutual decision.
You are both, contentious with each other.
You both seem, to be totally irked with each other and at wits end.

Then complicating matters is: You have a "platonic" male friend who sent you a birthday gift.
Well, if the tables were turned, and it was your Husband... who had a "platonic" female friend who sent him a birthday gift... how would you feel about that? Would you be all happy as a clam, about it and that some female friend of his, sends him gifts? Would you be HAPPY, that your Husband has a "platonic" female friend???

This is all just one more thing, that is derailing your marriage.
Too many wrong things, derailing your marriage.
This is just one of the many things, that is wrong. Between the both of you.

Have you both gone to counseling or TRIED to make amends and improve things between you both?

You are pissed off that your Husband threw away that art gift from your male friend.
So you either file charges against your Husband, or you see that this is just another symptom of the problems you both have with each other.

What is, the point? Getting back at your Husband for throwing away that art, or getting past that and seeing it as just another problem that you both have with each other?

You seem to want to, file charges against your Husband for opening and throwing away your mail.
So, contact the law in your city, and see if you can. And if you can, then do it. Since that is what you seem to WANT to, do.
So if that is your choice, then follow through and do it.

And if your Husband is terrible and abusive and you have documented all the atrocities he has done to you, then you would have all the documentation you need, for your divorce and/or custody issues with him.
And your Husband is probably keeping track of all the wrong things you do too, in your marriage.

Get an Attorney for yourself.
If you are both going to divorce, then you need your own Attorney.
And research child custody. There are different types of child custody.

What is more important now?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'd have tossed something of his in return.
But then again, I'm a vindictive b*tch.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sounds like there is A LOT more to this story. Seek out counseling. Get focused on what is important and what you want to do with your marriage and your family. If there is any chance to work on your marriage and better it, do it.



answers from Dallas on

If you get mail and gifts from male friends, fine - I can't imagine many husbands going for this though (I think they are jealous by nature). My problem is it was YOUR mail. Yes, it is a federal offense to destroy mail - can you prove it, probably not. My husband opens up all my mail too b/c "he pays all the bills" - I'm a SAHM these days and it pisses me off to end. Granted, I never get anything good, but it's the point. Good luck to you.


answers from Hartford on

Since your main issue is the mail thing: Your husband was immature and mean to open the mail and then throw the gift away. Yes, what he did was a criminal Federal offense. You really could get him in legal trouble by reporting him. Even spouses are NOT allowed to open each others mail without express, explicit permission. Being married is not tacit permission to open someone else's mail. It would not be "immature" to report him and press charges.

However I do think pressing charges against him for opening your mail when you're only considering divorce would probably seal the deal and push you right into "filing for divorce tomorrow." This would be a signal from you that the marriage is completely over.

I know you don't really want to talk about the platonic friend. But please... think about this. He threw that package away because he's jealous. Men who still feel love for their wives wouldn't go to the trouble of feeling jealous enough to throw away a gift she was given from another man. Another man made you a very personal gift, paid attention to you, and is showing emotions for you. Platonic or not, your husband is jealous. Whatever is going on in the friendship/relationship it's hurting your husband and it's hurting your marriage on top of whatever else is going on.

Is this other man and his gift really worth throwing your marriage away over? Is it worth continuing to hurt your husband over? Or is this just the straw that broke the camel's back?



answers from Washington DC on

That is something you can discuss with your divorce attorney. Perhaps you can add the value of the item to the agreement. I would also get a PO Box if you cannot trust him not to mess with your mail.



answers from Miami on

Have you been to a divorce lawyer? I see you have 3 kids. Do you work outside the home? If you don't, you may have a really hard time with a divorce because the court may give him custody of the children because you cannot support them.

Go find out from a REAL divorce lawyer what your legal rights are and what you may be facing. Then go to a marriage counselor. This does not warrant filing charges. In fact, with his jealousy and bad temper, he might end up throwing something at you. Instead, a third party needs to work with both of you. Perhaps the counselor can persuade him to take anger management classes.

Think hard before you jump head first into divorce if you don't have a career. Men like your husband have a propensity to try to starve their wives out in order to hurt them, not caring WHAT they do to their children in the process.

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