Password protection and significant others—not an easy one to get your head around., right? When it comes to relationships, one of the most important ingredients for a healthy partnership is trust. Without trust, your relationship won’t last very long, and it certainly won’t be very rewarding. That said, it is also crucial for your own well being that you protect yourself, your best interests, and you most valuable information.
So all of a sudden, we are faced with a dilemma: you want to trust your partner, to the point where you can share anything with them and have nothing to hide, but you also want to protect your assets and have your privacy respected. How do you know what to do and where to draw the line? Do you choose to trust your partner and offer full access to of all your most important information (aka your passwords, your phone, your house alarm, your email…)? Or do you adhere to strict password protection and keep your passwords a secret? It’s a tough call, and there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer.
Back up—let’s talk about trust. As Women’s Health reports, according to Laura Luchies, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Redeemer University College, “trust helps people think less about the risks of getting close to someone, depend on them, and see them in a positive light.” And when there is trust, the relationship has the potential to be a secure, fulfilling relationship for everyone involved. Beyond that, trust isn’t just an important part of creating a loving, open and comfortable relationship today; it is also a big part of showing that you see a future in that relationship and you want to build a life together, as a team.
So the question remains, if you trust someone, can you share anything with him or her? Or on the flip side, if you trust them, and equally important, if they trust you, should you have to lay everything out in the open? According to Peggy Drexler Ph.D., research psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University, allowing your partner to “have access to your key passwords has become something of a relationship milestone. It implies trust and may symbolize intimacy and connection as well. Handing over control of your phone to allow your partner to look through your photos, text messages, and call history may show him or her that you have nothing to hide, that there are no secrets between you.”
Handing over control of your phone to allow your partner to look through your photos, text messages, and call history may show him or her that you have nothing to hide, that there are no secrets between you.” So far it might seem like a no-brainer; if you trust someone, give them your passwords and let them into all aspects of your private life. The issue is, that as many of us know firsthand, even the best relationships sometimes come to an end.
People break up, couples grow apart, sometimes you might be betrayed, or sometimes you might do the betraying, but bottom line: sometimes your plan for forever falls through. Then what? All of a sudden your complete trust backfires and you end up not only heartbroken, but also scrambling to protect your assets and your future.
According to Sam Biddle at Gizmodo, sharing passwords is a really bad idea. He argues, “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.” More than that, if you do share your passwords and then the relationship goes sour, that access you granted to your significant other suddenly becomes a weapon that can be used against you to sabotage your future and future relationships.
The bottom line is that there are two sides to this argument: 1) if you have nothing to hide, you can share everything. Or 2) if you trust each other there is no need to share all your secrets. And either way, there are pros and cons. But if you are stressing over whether or not you or your partner are ready to share your passwords, then this could be symbolic of a larger trust issue. Instead of freaking out over the actual password swap, talk openly about your fears and concerns. Because at the end of the day, having access to your partner’s bank account, social media account or email isn’t going to guarantee a healthy relationship. The only things that can guarantee a lasting, loving partnership are trust and respect.
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