Shared lives, shared passwords?

Jennifer Leigh DiMarco

Thursday, July 16, 2015

And the two shall become one...sound familiar?  This excerpt is read at many weddings.  When couples unite the two individual entities join together as one.  Your home and finances become a joint conservatory, but what about passwords?  Should Husbands and Wives share passwords with one another to email?  Social media accounts?  The majority of committed people do it, but horror stories have psychologists wondering whether sharing passwords is ever a good idea.  

 According to a recent Pew study, 67% of Internet users in marriages or relationships have shared passwords to one or more of their accounts with their partner. Though we don’t feel comfortable exchanging passwords with perhaps more trustworthy family members and long-term friends, we do feel comfortable exchanging access to our personal information with their significant other. It’s an exercise in trust, the logic goes. If you have nothing to hide, why would you want to hide your password? In most circumstances, psychologists suggest keeping passwords private.  “In relationships, we depend on each other for a lot of things, but it’s good and healthy to have some independence too,” says Kelly Campbell, PhD, an Associate Professor of Psychology at California State University. “The more you self-disclose, the happier you are. But the happiest couples have some degree of secrecy and privacy.”   Many couples believe that sharing passwords or, if appropriate, maintaining a shared account can also be a way of building a hedge around your marriage. It's a strategy for protecting your relationship against outside threats. Whether you've been married for thirty days or thirty years, you're never really immune to the threat of an extra-marital affair.  Other couples ask, just how much do we really need to share and argue that there is a place for privacy in loving, trusting relationships, and it’s important to remember that a person’s request for privacy doesn’t mean he’s up to no good.  

What side are you on?  To share or not to share?  Leave a comment!