General Question

casheroo's avatar

Should a spouse be allowed to read your journal? Read details?

Asked by casheroo (18101points) April 5th, 2009

I’ve been writing in an online journal for over four years. You have to be “friends” with me on it, to read what I write, and my husband has always been “friends” with me on it.
I haven’t been writing in it lately, just posting pictures. Instead, I’ve been writing in an actual journal. i have a fear all my internet writings will disappear I just started doing this recently, my husband knows I have a journal, but I don’t know if he knows I write in it.
Usually he can read all my personal thoughts in my online journal, so does that give him the right to read my now written journal? Is it the same thing?
I’m not writing anything different than I would if I wrote in my online journal.
I feel that my actual journal is more private though, I’m not sure why. I feel more protective of it.
I know he’d never just read it without asking me, so that’s not an issue. I’m just curious what everyone would feel, in this situation?

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27 Answers

MrGV's avatar

No, a journal is private the only person that should be able to read it is you and if he pressures you about it hes being really insecure about something.

kenmc's avatar

No. By putting it on line, you let him read it. You don’t have to let him read it at all.

adreamofautumn's avatar

For me my journal is my lifeline. I’ve been maintaining one non-stop for the last 13 years. I wouldn’t share it with anyone. That is all the thoughts and emotions and everything that i’ve really ever had. No matter how much I love the other person, I don’t think i’d be willing to share them.

aviona's avatar

I’ve chosen to read excerpts to a boyfriend before. Usually they were excerpts regarding him and our relationship and how I was feeling, etc. There was no pressure from him, it was something I felt compelled to do on my own.

Online is another matter because that is more public.

Aethelwine's avatar

Personally, I share everything with my husband. He’s my best friend and I have nothing to hide from him. I’ve found that when you hide your feelings from your spouse, it just causes problems.

srmorgan's avatar

I wouldn’t do that. If your journal is for general consumption, like I put the kids on the seesaw today and made blueberry pancakes, then yeah.
If it is personal and introspective and you talk about day to day successes and frustrations and daydreams, I mean truly personal, I wouldn’t do it.

There are things that I might say to my male buddies about my wife, generally in jest and these are very old friends, that would make her blow her stack.
Similarly although she gave up writing in the diary when we were married and became parents, I kept my hands off of it, even if I wanted to read it, because what your spouse might write in it is certain to be misinterpreted by me.

Fireworks and misunderstandings ensue.
Don’t do it.


tinyfaery's avatar

Only if you’re okay with it. An online journal is one thing, anyone else out there in cyberspace can read it. But you obviously keep some
things off of the webpage because they are too personal. Are they too personal for your hubby, as well?

ninjacolin's avatar

but only if you want them to.

YARNLADY's avatar

First, protect what you have online by downloading it to disc frequently, that way you won’t lose it.

Second, I can’t imagine writing anything I wouldn’t want my husband of 34 years to see or know. I don’t believe in keeping secrets from the one you have chosen to share the rest of your life with.

ru2bz46's avatar

If you put it online, it is assumed to be open to anybody who can access it. If it is in a book, it is private unless you offer to share it.

casheroo's avatar

@srmorgan Here’s the thing, what I wrote in my online journal was intense personal stuff. I don’t really care who reads it, I do keep it friends only now, because of comment stalkers, who were bothering me.

What I’ve been writing is more directed to my son, so it’s nothing I wouldn’t want my husband to read.
@ru2bz46, that’s how I’ve been viewing is different than in a book.

cak's avatar

I have written in journals since I was a little kid. Some years, I was far more prolific than others; however, I’ve saved all of them. My plan is to give them to my daughter. She’s always thought it was an interesting idea – so we decided to start it. She’ll pass them down and start her own.

Obviously, mine are for public consumption. Everything I have them, I intend on sharing. My husband knows they are there, if he wished to read them, he would be welcome.

We both lived in marriages that had secrets – my ex started with one secret and it snowballed from there. Same happened to him. We made the decision not to keep secrets – even if it is something we don’t want to hear. It’s out in the open.

discover's avatar

Keep it to yourself. You should have some privacy. You will write more freely if you feel no one will read your journal…..

Kelly27's avatar

Only if you want them to. Some things are just private and it doesn’t mean that you are hiding anything from him or you don’t trust them. Everyone needs something that is theirs alone.

Aethelwine's avatar

@cak That is the secret to a happy marriage. To not have secrets. It took my husband and I 17 years to learn this.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

It really only matters what you want the journal to be for. Really there shouldn’t be any secrets among married people.. however.. there are days when you are frustrated and you just want to let it out on paper… those types of things may not be something your partner needs to see..

RedPowerLady's avatar

Just to be horribly honest here, if my husband had a journal, I’d read it. But we don’t keep things from each other. We both have each others email passwords and other passwords. We are open to each other so no trust issues exist.

So to answer your question, I feel like it is morally wrong for him to read your journal without permission, but personally I wouldn’t have something I keep from hubby. He typically isn’t interested in my personal stuff anyway, lol.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It is never cool to read someone else’s private journal even if they post an online one. With a private journal there is still the expectation of, well, privacy.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I think he should be allowed to read it but shouldn’t do it behind your back. My reason is just because I think spouses should be open and honest with each other. But, you probably won’t write as freely in it if you know in the back of your mind that he is reading it or might read it.

cookieman's avatar

I’m in the jonsblond, cak, YARNLADY, RedPowerLady camp.

I can’t imagine writing anything I wouldn’t want my wife to read.

dynamicduo's avatar

I can’t see why any spouse should be allowed to read one’s private thoughts and writings. Just because I am partnered with somebody doesn’t mean I want them to know my every thought and feeling, nor does it mean they are entitled to such. People are allowed to have secrets if they choose to.

If you believe your written journal is more private and thus aren’t as open to the concept of sharing it with your partner, I feel you are absolutely within your rights to keep it private, and I believe your husband should respect that.

ru2bz46's avatar

My first wife kept a journal of sorts. She wrote poetry (beautiful stuff, I might add), and used her journal to create. She told me that, though she didn’t have anything in there of which she was ashamed or wanting to hide, it was a dump of her creative mind. She wasn’t comfortable sharing her art in its raw form. She said that I could read it if I really wanted to, but she would prefer that I only read what she considered finished. I respected that, and I feel blessed to read her stuff online when she posts it.

wundayatta's avatar

Most of the women I’ve lived with have kept journals. Ok. All of them.

My first girlfriend kept her journal secret, and that bothered me a lot. It probably should have. She was having an affair with another guy (I knew about this, but she described it as a summer fling, even though she received phone calls from him on a monthly basis). In any case, had I been able to read her journal, I might have been prepared for what happened when she broke up with me. Then again, maybe the misery would have just stretched out longer.

My next girlfriend didn’t care at all. We’d had a long and intimate correspondence before we got together. Intimate in the sense that we spoke about everything in our lives, not in the sexual sense. I would read her journal occasionally, but not that often. She was keeping it for her daughter, whom she had given up at birth. If her daughter ever sought her out, she wanted to be able to show her what her life had been like at that time. Perhaps to explain her choice.

When her daughter eventually did find her, she let me know. I think she emailed me. Or maybe we met—she was living in my wife’s hometown. She told me that she planned to give the journal to her daughter. I’m not sure why she told me—maybe because I played a role in it. I asked her if she planned to keep a copy, and she acted as if she’d never thought of that. I told her I thought she should keep one.

A few months later, a large package arrived in the mail from her. I opened it to discover she had made a copy for me, too. I was a little befuddled, because I hadn’t asked for a copy, and I wasn’t sure I really wanted it. To accept it (and I had no choice about that now) would mean I would have to be respectful of her gesture. That meant I would have to read it. I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to.

I started reading it, and then I started skipping forward to the parts about me. I didn’t figure in it nearly as much as I thought I would. Anyway, I read about half of it, and it was just too tedious to go any further. I failed my duty, I guess. I haven’t talked to her since then, either—I don’t know why. Maybe she hasn’t gotten in touch with me, and she was always the initiator of these contacts.

My third girlfriend also kept a journal. Like the first, she kept it secret. I don’t know for sure why she did that, but maybe she was of the opinion that is was just for her, and not meant to be read by anybody. It was the place where she worked out her thoughts, as if it were her therapist. It bothered me a bit, because I felt that I was being shut out of something, and I wanted to know her better. Perhaps I should have insisted, because we started growing apart, and eventually we broke up when I met my wife. There was a bit of overlap in those two relationships, but she must have been ready to deem it over, because she moved out within a week. Maybe if she’d shared the journals, we would have done things in the proper order.

My wife keeps a journal, too, and I am allowed to read it if I want. She keeps it, she says, for our children, as a kind of reminder of what we did. I don’t think she puts any deep inner feelings into it. She’s of the belief that that stuff is for us, and a way of sharing. Not for a journal to be kept private. Of course, since I’m free to read it whenever I want, I don’t read it.

So, in thinking about this, I guess I come down on the side of sharing with your husband. Privacy, even if it is innocent privacy, may raise suspicion of secret thoughts. It could be as simple as the idea that you prefer paper to talking to him. However, if he is free to read it, he might not crack it open once.

I do have one other small comment. You phrase this in terms of whether he should be allowed to read it. It made me feel like you were thinking he might have a right to read it. It’s your journal and your life, and rights or allowing have nothing to do with it. It’s what you want that counts. If you want to share, then share. If you don’t want to, don’t.

casheroo's avatar

@daloon i think that’s the first long answer of yours i got through ;) i really appreciate your response. i’ve started writing mine out, for our son. just so he sees what our lives were like “way back when” when he’s older.
i guess i felt he had a right to it, because he is my husband. i do share everything with him. i mean, i literaly cannot think of anything i’ve hidden from him. i know some people say that even in a marriage, you should keep your individuality, and we both do. but, i’ve never been one to think having secrets is part of individuality. (now i’m going off on a tangent)

srmorgan's avatar

@casheroo – I think keeping a journal for your child, who is really just a new-born, right, is wonderful and I hope you stay with it. My wife did that for our first child but the journal sort of peters out around the time that child began pre-school, maybe when she four years old.
The two younger one got zilch. But by that time my wife was taking care of three, not just one.

Regarding your spouse, what works for you sure as hell would not work for us. My wife still has some things that she keeps to herself and doesn’t want my involvement. Not a diary, it’s hard to put a finger on it, but she just maintains a little shield of privacy around that I have become used to and have learned to respect.

I don’t want to know her intimate feelings as they are being shared with her friends or her sisters or if she is truly keeping it to herself. Her privacy is paramount and I have no desire and no right to go peeking into her letters or emails

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