Relationships are built on trust and communication, with one improving the other and vice versa over time. If one of these crumbles, the other will as well.
Redditor willnotshare is seeing the cracks in one of these aspects of her relationship and is wondering if it’s her fault. The original poster (OP) decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit if she was wrong.
OP refuses to make it easier for her boyfriend to snoop in her phone.
“AITA for not sharing my phone with my boyfriend?”
But why does he want that in the first place?
“I (27F[emale]) have been dating my boyfriend (28M[ale]) for about five months now. We haven’t moved in with each other yet but we’re talking about doing that when our apartment leases are up (mine is up next May, his next June).”
“So we’re still in the ‘newly dating’ stage but talking about moving on to more serious life commitments in the future.”
“Boyfriend has said he wants us to share the passwords for our phones and to give each other access at all times, as a trust gesture I guess? Like, we wouldn’t share email passwords or anything, but he could ask to see my phone and see my text conversations and such. And I could do the same in return with him too, he wants this to be equal.”
“The thing is, I can’t do that. I’m a teacher, and I sometimes get emails that are protected by FERPA (think the education equivalent of HIPPA).”
“I have my work email set up to go to my phone too, so I can get notifications while I’m working. (My phone is also set to a facial scan unock for this reason, so people can’t just take my password and unlock it.) If I let my boyfriend have access to my work email, I could be fired for breaching FERPA if he reads the wrong things.”
“So I explained this to him and he said he understood that part, and that he wouldn’t ask to get into my work things. I said I couldn’t let him access my phone at all because my work email is attached to it.”
“I could hold it and show him what he wants to see, but I can’t just hand it over for him to look at. (Well, I COULD technically and just trust him not to look at my work email, but I don’t want to.)”
“He suggested that I remove my work email from my phone to avoid the problem entirely. I refused this suggestion because it’s more convenient for me to get emails to my phone.”
“If I take my class to library or out to recess I take my phone with me but not my computer, and when I’m at home I can check my work email from my phone to see if it’s something important before opening up my computer to do any work.”
“Now he’s upset with me because of this. Holding my phone and showing him what he wants to see isn’t enough for him.”
“Also [for the record] there’s no history of cheating for either of us so it’s not a trust issue either. So AITA for not removing my work email from my phone so he can check my phone?”
OP wants to be able to provide her boyfriend with this ‘trust gesture’ but is she wrong to not just remove the work email?
To figure that out, commenters respond with one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP was more than accommodating for her boyfriend’s request by offering to hold the phone and show him what he wants to see. But demanding she make her job harder just so he can snoop through her phone is ridiculous.
OP would not be TA for refusing to get rid of her work email, and likely would still be in the right if she refused the request entirely.
“NTA. And girl you need to run! That is not normal behavior. He is controlling.”
“Wanting to access to your phone at all times, to the point he wants you to delete your work email isn’t okay. He doesn’t need to search your phone, he should just trust you. And if he doesn’t, there is no reason to be together.”
“This really sounds like the beginning stages of more controlling behavior. Nip it in the bud now.” – hiyajn1242
“Sounds like the next step should not happen. We have been married for 39 years and even though we happen to know each other’s passwords for just about everything”
“I have no interest in snooping or bothering with my wife’s phone, email, computer or tablet and she is likewise toward mine.”
“Just because we know his information does not mean we use this information.” – JustTheFacts714
“Oh hell no. NTA, because this is a major, MAJOR violation of your privacy and boundaries.”
“I agree this isn’t a trust issue, but only because this is a ‘massively controlling’ issue. I mean FERPA is just a minor icing on this NOPE cake. He has no business having access to your emails.”
“In not going to tell you to run, but you seriously need to consider if this is the type of relationship you want. Because I don’t think it’ll get better.” – Beginning-Ice-1005
It’s strange that OP would claim that this isn’t a ‘trust issue’ but also think it’s a gesture of trust.
It’s one or the other, and if it’s not about trust, then why does he need it?
“Your boyfriend wanting access to your devices in this manner is a HUGE red flag for me.”
“I appreciate that you’re saying isn’t a trust issue, but it very clearly IS one. Why does he want access to your phone whenever he wants? Did he give any rational or sensible answer you can share with us?”
“Whilst I’m not privy to the exact Laws at play in the USA, I should imagine a violation of FERPA isn’t something that is taken lightly and could cause you significant problems that have far reaching consequences beyond the scope of just your employment.”
“In all the years I’ve dated people I have never, ever asked for access to my SO devices, messages, emails etc as you should be able to trust them not to do things against you.”
“Not to mention you have a very valid, legal reason not to allow him access. You shouldn’t sacrifice your convenience just to appease your SO.”
“Also if I were you, I’d be seriously reconsidering this relationship at this juncture…” – A-Purple-Lagoon
“Basically, FERPA is a law to protect the identity of students in my care. People not directly involved with the students are allowed to see identifying information about that student without parent consent. (or, if the student is 18+, they can give permission themselves)”
“So for example I could tell my boyfriend about how one time a kid gave me a cool mug for Christmas, since that is not easily tracible back to a specific student. But I can’t tell him anything about a specific child or their grades or any personal information.”
“This is why I have to be careful about my emails. We don’t send important documents over email as a rule, that’s all done by paper mail. But often we use emails to send messages to each other about students.”
“So for example I might send my principal a message saying ‘Remember JS’s IEP is at 4:30pm today’ where JS stands for John Smith, a student in my hypothetical class. If someone saw that and was able to connect JS to John Smith (if, for example, John Smith was the only ‘JS’ in my class this year) and then tell other people that John Smith has an IEP, I could get written up for that and possibly fired.”
“So yeah. FERPA is definitely not to be taken lightly. And honestly my boyfriend gets how important it is and would never ask to see my work email anyway.” – willnotshare (OP)
“Your boyfriend… doesn’t get anything. You are giving him too. much. credit.”
“BTW, when you say: ‘it’s not a trust issue,’ you are 1000% wrong. Your boyfriend is asking for this because he doesn’t trust you. Don’t take it as a reflection of your relationship. He probably isn’t able to trust any partner.”
“You’ve only been dating him 5 months. The relationship still has glow and intensity; but this crap is the wrong kind of intensity!”
“Trust an older woman when she tells you that you don’t want any part of this.” – mouse_attack
OP’s boyfriend isn’t communicating well. He needs to explain why he needs this, and what is the real issue at play.
His lack of communication is crumbling their trust, and if he needs to go to therapy over his trust issues, that might be something to consider.