*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
My worst boyfriend and I dated for eight long years.
I would have ended my last relationship a lot sooner if it weren’t for one problem. I have all my passwords.
“If he didn’t have all my passwords, I would have ended it by now,” I’d lament.
“Why don’t you just change them?” my mother would ask.
“There are just so many of them,” I’d reply in defeat.
I’d log into my Facebook account and see that he had been snooping through my messages. I changed my password, but within a day or two, he’d have figured it out. He had all my email passwords, too, so I was constantly worried that he was reading my private correspondence from him.
My boyfriend took over all my bank accounts, used my PayPal, sent himself checks from my checking account, and made transfers from my accounts to his without asking.
He got my Amazon seller account banned by arguing with a customer after using my account to sell counterfeit products. Then I have usurped my eBay account, too.
One time, I got the nerve to change my email password without telling him, and he hit the roof. He called me shouting and screaming. I have demanded my password. “Or else it’s over.”
I should have called his bluff. Instead, I gave him my new password.
I was so worried about what he would do if I left him that I stayed with him for far too long. If it weren’t for the fact that he had all my passwords from him, I would have ended things a lot sooner. But because he had such a hold over me, I stayed in an unhealthy and toxic relationship for far too long.
It wasn’t just the digital snooping that made me feel trapped; he also knew all my secrets. He knew things about me that I had n’t even told my best friends about him. And I knew that if I ever tried to leave him, he would use those secrets against me.
So I stayed even though I was miserable because I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of winning.
In the end, I did leave him. But it took me a long time to summon up the courage. And even then, I had to change all my passwords before I could finally break free.
But then, one day, I realized that I was the only one who could save myself. So I changed all my passwords, gathered up my courage, and finally left him. I never looked back.
And it felt amazing.
My life is better than it’s ever been because he’s not in it, and the only one who has access to my passwords is me.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who knows all your passwords, beware. They may be using that information to control you. If you ever find yourself in my situation, remember that you have the power to change your passwords and take back control of your life. Don’t be afraid to use it.
Change your passwords and get out of there. You deserve better.