“Don’t Trust Me?” Sharing Passwords with Your Partner

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By Crystal Becerril > Senior > English and Journalism > Boston University; Photo by AR > Sophomore > Graphic Design > UMBC

Do you remember the episode of Boy Meets World where Topanga uses Cory’s razor in their college years? While it took Cory a while to get over it, it showed that some things, even in a very long-term relationship, aren’t always open for sharing.


In a lesser physical extent, what about online password sharing?

More and more, social media has becoming a gateway for finding out about someone’s personal life. While one might choose to censor certain things from onlookers, that control of your Facebook page or Twitter feed lies in your access, hidden away by your password.
Dr. Arthur Aron, a Social Psychology professor at SUNY Stonybrook, explained that one stage in a building relationship is the “sharing of resources” and inclusion of your partner in more of your life. He said that shared passwords are an example of “taking a risk,” which is one way of demonstrating that you want to be closer to someone.
When you share this access with someone, there is a level of deeper understanding with that person, which can be scary for some.
“In early stages, people are more cautious,” said Aron. “This is part of the way that we can demonstrate our trust in them and also, it’s something that results from a trust in the other person.”

Still, while a certain level of trust goes into sharing such information, is there also a different degree of trust in not sharing?


“I think that people should trust each other enough to be okay with keeping some things personal,” said Diana Giunta, a University of Vermont student.


While Giunta agrees that there is nothing wrong with the “openness” of sharing passwords, she brings another angle to the subject.


Since one person’s perspective doesn’t necessarily match their partners on everything—especially after a breakup—the risk of sharing a password is substantial.
“I have definitely heard about people who regret sharing their passwords while in a relationship, either because it led to too much snooping during the relationship or a messy situation after the break-up,” said Giunta.
Looking through photos or reading old messages can become addicting and has been known to lead many astray in a wind of doubt over their partner. What is considered a demonstration of trust can often lead to a betrayal of that trust.
The risk is there, whether you choose to show your trust in your partner by sharing or not sharing your online password. In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether you think they are worth it.

This article is the second in a week-long series of stories about online relationship etiquette. Check back tomorrow for the next addition!

College Magazine Staff

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