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Shared Email Addresses: Convenient or Claustrophobic? November 9, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought.
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11 comments

I have some friends who share an email address with their spouse. I also have some friends who keep their own email address after they get married. I don’t see any big ideological, political, cultural, or background differences between these two groups.  So why do some people merge their accounts when they tie the knot?

Full disclosure: my parents share an email address. This is convenient when I want to announce my Christmas Wish List to both of them. It’s claustrophobic when I want to scheme with my dad about what to get for my mom, or vice versa.

I think in general I’m going to have to come out against shared email accounts. If one of my girlfriends has been complaining to me on the phone about her husband, I have to make sure I don’t reference our conversation in an email to her because he might open it instead. Claustrophobic.  The merging of accounts is also an uncomfortable metaphor for the merging of lives. Sharing an email account is Total Openness. Her contacts become his contacts; his messages become hers. Nowhere does real life present such total fungibility in a relationship, except in our culture ‘s mythology of marriage as being totally open, a complete sharing. This myth sets all couples up for disappointment and frustration, and sharing an email account just reinforces that myth that two people can become one.

Copious Readership, what are the plusses and minuses of sharing email addresses? Have you ever shared an email address with a sig-other? Do you know people who do?

–Christina

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