Should you share your password with your partner?
Considering sharing is caring, it’s best you know what you’re sharing and whom you’re caring for.
Respect and trust are the foundations on which a relationship finds its legs. And sometimes, proving your trust to them comes down to sharing social media passwords. Every serious relationship enters the zone when questions like ‘Why don't you want to share your password if you have nothing to hide, baby?’ or ‘Don’t you trust me?’ float in conversations—sometimes as a by the way, sometimes in serious conversations.
Why do people, who aren’t cool with it, do it? What does it mean for the relationship? And is it the only way to show and prove your trust? We have some, if not all, of the answers.
Being vulnerable and letting go of your guard
So let’s begin with the why. “When couples grow older together, they start being vulnerable with each other. They let go of their guard and trust the other person not to misuse that trust,” says Sherene Aftab, founder at Serene Hour Counselling & Career Advice Consultancy. Aftab reiterates that sharing the password with your partner by choice and the partner snooping around, are two different things. “When someone is spying, it’s a cause of concern and a severe red flag.”
Trust comes with actions, not words
“When it comes to trusting your partner or earning their trust, one must trust the person’s actions rather than words. You’re likely to share private details and give access to their social media accounts only if you are comfortable and believe that they are trustworthy.”
Sharing passwords cannot be the only form of trust
Dordi hits the nail on the head when she says password sharing cannot be considered the ultimate test of trust. “If their trust is built only by sharing passwords, the couple must look at other avenues to build trust. This can’t and shouldn’t be the only thing. If you’re uncomfortable, talk about the things that make you feel secure, leading to more transparency and trust.”
Understand why the person wants the details
There are two sides to every coin, which is why there could be some genuine reason as to why a person asks for their partner’s password. Kamna Chhibber, clinical psychologist and head of the Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Healthcare, gets into the details. “It could be due to past experiences where they've faced some amount of betrayal or trust issues that could have been helped had they got some more information. Even if it's not the past, there are sometimes doubts that come into your mind. There are parts of a partner's life that they're not privy to.”
You don’t know everything but need to know more
Forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest. The same goes for the amount of information that we don’t know about when it comes to our partners. “What we don't have access to directly, assumes a lot of meaning because a person is controlling that information. There is no way to know if there was more or less, but when something is protected, there is a curiosity in the mind of knowing what it is. Add to that, coming to know later about something always hurts.
Also, when you see them on their gadgets, and they don't tell you what you're doing, you're always curious about what they're doing. There might be nothing going on, but the fact that they feel that they don't need to share leads to you asking 'why not'. Once this starts and there are repeated instances, a person feels that they want it and don't want to be in that space,” adds Chhibber.
Why does one person end up doing it?
Both people choosing to share their passwords comes from a place of immense trust and understanding, one that takes a long time to build as per Aftab. “Lives are so entwined with each other that sharing just comes naturally. That happens when a relationship matures. Partners do that in case should something goes wrong, but it takes trust to reach such a point.”
This to us, and many, is fine. The problem arises when it’s one-way traffic. Mehezabin Dordi, clinical psychologist, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, tells us why it happens. “The challenge is that the giver of the password doesn’t want to increase conflict—that’s why they give in. It could be a case of them not being assertive and cannot stand up for their own rights. People need to come to a place where they realize that none of their individual privacy is violated. The dynamic should be based on equality.”
Be smart and consider it a major red flag
It’s important to know what you’re doing at the end of the day when you’re the only one in the relationship who’s sharing their password. “It’s plain manipulation where you coerce the partner to do something and gain control and stay extremely very secretive on the other side. If this happens, you should really run for the hills and end the relationship. You’re sharing something that could become manipulative. They could change your password, and talk bad about you if the relationship went down the drain. Today it’s the password, tomorrow it could be someone else,” says Aftab
Talk about it if you want to do it
One person’s expectation that passwords are to be shared in a relationship can be the other’s person prime source of discomfort. So what’s the way out if there ever is a conversation? The answer, like the key to any successful relationship, is in talking. “Talk about your expectations and end goal when it comes to privacy and the sharing of passwords. If you feel uncomfortable about it, expressing that is very important. If I am asking for my partner’s password and they aren’t comfortable, then I should be respectful and understanding of the situation.”