Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Cross Cultural Flummox

Scanning through the blogs yesterday, I saw one I almost didn’t check. It seemed to be a no-brainer. LaialyQ8 asked if you would share your password with your husband/wife.

Sheerly out of idle curiousity, I checked. And I was stunned to see the responses. Almost every person said they WOULD.

I’ve thought about it all day. It has to be a cultural difference. Hands down, I bet most of my friends would say “no way!” It isn’t a question of how much you love someone, to me, I just need some areas of my life that are private. I don’t keep secrets from my husband – I share things with him gladly.

But do I think he needs access to my correspondence with old girlfriends, friends I knew before I knew him? If they confide details of some crisis to me, does he need access to that information?

He trusts me. He should! And he would never, never ask me for my password, and I wouldn’t ask for his. Of course we share passwords for financial records and access, but not for our e-mail accounts.

It never for a heartbeat occurred to me there was another way of thinking about it. I was flummoxed (that’s for you, Zin!) And it is good information; I need to think about this and integrate it and try to understand it. That’s one of the things I love about living in a foreign country; challenges my assumptions and forces me to think differently, outside the box.

December 6, 2006 - Posted by | Blogging, Communication, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Kuwait, Marriage, Middle East, Relationships, Social Issues, Women's Issues


  1. lol bit of a tricky one isnt it? 😛

    i never really thought of it either, and i guess i assumed we’d just have our own emails. and that theyd be our private domains.

    i read the comments on that blog, and there was a bit of an odd feel about the ‘yes’ responses. on the one hand its nice that theres the wilingness to disclose the password, on the otherhand the force with which they insisted on sharing the password was odd.

    lol like a trusting mistrust, but that may just be a people thing not really a cultural thing.

    its still got me flummoxed tho 😛

    Comment by skunk | December 6, 2006 | Reply

  2. since I don’t have a husband I can only speak speculatively, which of course will not stop me :-). my mother always told my sister (Increasingly Pregnant Diamond) and I: whatever you tell me you will also be telling your father – I will not keep secrets from him. I know her password, as well as my father’s – not that I ever check their email, but they use the same passwords for email, frequent flyer miles, etc. and as I am often the designated family travel planner, I often need to access those accounts for hotel and/or air reservations.

    The funny thing, though, now that I think of it, is that no one knows my password. It suddenly seems very selfish, this expectation of parental transparency not matched by any similar return gesture. hmmm.

    in another strange family quirk, we _all_ have the same PIN and security code. Its the last four digits of a cell phone that was passed from my father to me to my sister to my mother – starting back when cell phones were actually car phones. my family may not know how to read my email, but they definitely know how to access my checking account :-). how’s that for priorities?

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | December 7, 2006 | Reply

  3. SKNK – It’s just funny how we go along thinking we are the “norm” and then get this big surprise! Did you see my neice’s response? It’s not even cross-cultural! My sister’s family does things totally differently!

    ET TU, Little Diamond (she gasps from the knife to her heart and falls bleeding)???? It’s not even a family culture? Come to think of it . . . would my Mom even be allowed to have her own e-mail?? WOW.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 7, 2006 | Reply

  4. mmm. let’s ponder that. Grandma gets handed a check by Grandpa whenever she goes out, with an admonition or advice regarding her intended purchase. I very much doubt that Grandpa would welcome the suggestion that she should have her own email address, if the idea that she have her own checkbook is too much for him.

    as for passwords, I vary mine: my gmail account has one, my university account another, my Amazon, Ebay, etc. accounts still others. sometimes it takes me three or four attempts before I match password and account and can successfully log in :-).

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | December 7, 2006 | Reply

  5. Although I have no stats to substantiate this, my hunch is that the bulk of the Kuwaiti blogging crowd is in their early twenties. That is , if they were married they would be at the start of their marriage relationship where jealousy, youthful insecurity and fear of cheating is ripe. I think this is why you saw the responses you saw. People want to be given passwords so they can both on each other and they want to give their passwords out so they can prove to each other their loyalty and that they’ve got nothing to hide.

    I agree with you though regarding not divulging your friends’ secrets to your husband. Some of the sms’s I get from my freinds, even if theyre not secrets, they’re private jokes between us and I personally would hate it if my friends’husbands read an sms I sent to my freind, let alone a detailed private email.

    Comment by 1001 Nights | December 9, 2006 | Reply

  6. Comment by Mrs Wordpress | December 19, 2006 | Reply

  7. I found what I was looking for,easy to read, gave me some great ideas

    Comment by burly phones | March 10, 2007 | Reply

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