In relationships there’s always a point when you have to open up and share your personal information with one another. We’re not talking about divulging the deep dark secrets of past relationships or stupid, misguided moments from your youth. But as far as the stuff that counts, you need to be open and honest if you want your relationship to go to the next level. But where do you draw the line? One point of contention always seems to be sharing passwords—the last line of defense protecting your money, your email, your social media accounts, your phone, your belongings and even your home. Passwords aren’t something to be taken lightly, which is why you’re encouraged to change your passwords often, not use obvious codes like your birthday or name, and not share them with people outside your circle of trust. So when it comes to all of your carefully crafted and protected passwords, should your lady know yours? It’s a hard question, and unfortunately there is no simple answer.
Some relationship experts argue that if you truly trust your partner then sharing passwords shouldn’t come with any concerns, and you should be able to feel totally comfortable offering up that information as a way to further develop your commitment to one another. Other people think that those so-called experts are out of their freaking minds and you should never ever share your passwords. So who’s right?
It can be argued that if you do share your passwords you’re showing your partner that you trust them completely, you have no secrets, you have complete faith in their commitment to protect you and you are invested in the longevity of your relationship. Who knew that giving a 6-digit code could say so much? It makes sense in some ways, but the issue with that argument is that sometimes having free reign over your partner’s personal information and accounts, especially online, can do more harm than good. People get jealous, curious, overly involved in what their partner is up to at all times, and those attitudes can ruin a healthy, trusting relationship.
And at the same time, needing to share your password just to confirm that you trust someone seems unnecessary and even dangerous. According to relationship counselor and sex therapist Judy Kuriansky, it’s a bad idea to use each other’s online accounts and personal information as a way to keep an eye on your relationship. “I am not in favor of using password sharing to prevent you from doing things. Just be careful in your relationships,” she argues.
Furthermore, you need to recognize that even if you are completely in love and committed to your relationship today, relationships can change. Unfortunately nothing is forever, and if you share your information prematurely and then that relationship goes sour you not only have to heal from that breakup, but you also need to change all of your passwords and work fast to protect your identity and your accounts. It’s an added source of stress that could be easily avoided if you were to keep a little privacy in tact.
And while your woman might argue that sharing passwords is about not having anything to hide, it’s actually about more than that. It’s about having something that is yours and something you can protect. Sam Biddle at Gizmodo in a Forbes.com piece says, “this isn’t about having something to hide—it’s about keeping meaningful boundaries in an era when there are verrrrry few. We all need whatever scraps of privacy we have left, and your email is just that.”
Whether it’s a good idea or not is up for debate, but the fact is that a lot of people are sharing passwords. A recent Pew study shows that “67% of Internet users in marriages or relationships have shared passwords to one or more of their accounts with their partner.” And if you think that only idiotic teens are divulging their most important passwords you’re wrong; adults 30-49 were even more likely to share their passwords than teens, according to the research. When the time comes for you to share (or not share) your passwords, really think through your actions and don’t make a rash decision that could haunt you down the road. If sharing your passwords will help you feel more secure, then go for it. If you feel pressure to do so then it could be symbolic of a larger trust issue in your relationship, and if that’s the case you have a lot to work on before you can or should be opening up your identity to another person, even a girlfriend or spouse.