Although it’s good to maintain some independence in relationships—even when you are married—many couples feel they should be sharing passwords. What’s mine is yours, they believe, and many want access to their partner’s phone and computer. But when is it crossing the line?
Many couples struggle with individual privacy boundaries, and when it’s OK to share and not to share certain things in a relationship. But if your partner wants the password to your phone, social media accounts, or e-mail, they should be able to have it, and vice versa, says relationship coach Fran Greene, author of Dating Again with Courage & Confidence.
“I think that sharing passwords is something that should be done if both people in the couple want to do it,” Fran says. “When you’re married or involved with somebody, you share a lot of private information. Why should something online be so different?”
She adds, “there is a caveat.” “If I’m going to share my passwords with you, that doesn’t mean the spouse or partner can go snooping around. Sharing is transparent, breaking in is called snooping.”
Sometimes there’s a very good reason to share passwords, like if you share a computer, one of you can get locked out.
“Anything that you share electronically or on social media is something that you should not be afraid of your spouse to see,” Fran adds.
But what if you are totally funny and crazy with your best girlfriend, and you just don’t want your partner to see your jokes or your private thoughts?
“If you wanna talk about your partner or make private jokes, it’s OK,” Fran says. “The danger with anything electronic is someone always being able to see it. If you don’t want someone to see it then you can’t do it. I get that there are things that are embarrassing, or you talk on the phone to your girlfriend and you want to talk about your husband, except by talking there’s no record of it. Peeping is a false sense of security.”
And Fran says, there’s of course a big difference between sharing passwords and using them against someone to violate their privacy or check up on them.
“Someone can always do something behind your back, regardless if you have access to their passwords or not,” Fran says. “You’re not going to open someone else’s real actual mail. It’s not always about infidelity, it’s about sharing who that person is.”
One thing that’s really important is understanding that it’s not sacrificing your own openness, you don’t want someone going through your wallet or pocketbook or drawers. It’s about boundaries.
“If person I’m closest to in the whole world can’t have access to what I’ sharing online, there’s something wrong. On the flip side, is every couple has their own rules, as long as both people are communicating and in agreement, it’s OK.”
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