DEAR Jerkass: I married a great guy a short while ago. It's the second marriage for both of us. He's good to my kids, my parents, and even gets along with my ex-husband.
"Stan" moved into my home after we married. There's only one major problem I'm having trouble dealing with: He goes through all my things, from my mail to my closet. I have caught him going through my glove compartment, the trunk of my car and anything else he can get his hands on.
He says he has a "right" to do it "because we are married," but I don't look at it that way. His first marriage did not go well. His ex didn't cheat on him, so I don't know where this is coming from.
Jerkass, I am squeaky clean. I have never given him any reason not to trust me. I believe he's just nosy. Meanwhile, I feel violated.
I have tried talking to him about it, but he just doesn't get it. Please help before I end my new marriage. -- THE NEW MRS. IN DELAWARE
When I first got into the relationship that led to my marriage we pretty much exchanged passwords to our email accounts. If I wanted to I could go through every account my wife has. She has total access to my bank accounts and vice versa.
Some may say that's crazy, but it was a mega trust builder. There have been a few hiccups in the whole process (one being it's impossible to get surprise gifts or make plans without the other knowing), but it's made us stronger.
I wouldn't even think twice about my spouse going through our cars, our mail, or our closet. Is it possible that he is sorting through the mail and paying the bills and not "going through your mail"? Is it possible that since he moved into your house that he was trying to see how much closet space you could make for him in what is now their closet? Is it possible that he was looking through your car to see where the insurance and registration is in case he gets pulled over and making sure that you have a spare tire and a jack in case of emergencies, where they are, and how to use them, in case they are out together in her car and something happens? It seems to me that you could be taking his perfectly innocent and normal way of familiarizing himself with what should now be their shared space, and maybe trying to feel like it is theirs instead of just hers, and him being controlling. I don't know why his last marriage failed. You left out if the ex was a mega bitch. Just because she didn't cheat on him doesn't mean that she was honest in the relationship; that doesn't justify carrying over that baggage to a new marriage, but people make decisions based on patterns.
You claim to be "squeaky clean", yet you are not above airing your dirty laundry in a national forum.
If you catch him wearing your underwear, smearing himself in peanut butter, then get a little concerned. Seeing your gas bill (You live together, and marriage hasn't changed so much that the ceremony ends with "I now pronounce you roommates and bed buddies") is not being snoopy. which doesn't make sense to me. Give it a bit more time. It works both ways. If you go through his stuff and he gets all uppity, then sound the alarm bells. Til then, just keep being honest.