Do you share passwords with your partner?

Posted by
Personal Password Keeper by CityGirlPlanners

Qui.lee asks:

Do you have advice on whether couples should share passwords with each other?

Does it encourage snooping? Is it bad for the relationship or do we even need privacy if we have nothing to hide?

This seems like such a touchy subject for most people and maybe there’s no right answer for all couples, but here’s my take:

No snooping. If you know enough to think you should be snooping, either your partner’s up to something or you’re in a bad place. Either way, it’s time to step back and reconsider your course if snooping crosses your mind. I’ll fess up: I snooped once and it sucked and it made everything worse. There was no upside.

But what about passwords? Now that I’ve laid down the law on snooping, passwords are a much easier topic.

When to share your passwords:

  • When it is necessary. If you need to print something off your partner’s computer but in order to do that you have to call them for the password? Generally should be fine. Do you work together on projects or share bills online? Totally. If you want to create a layer of security, create a different password than your usual.
  • When it is responsible. Every household should have a password plan in case of emergency. A file, a post-it note — some way to share passwords in case one of you is unreachable. I would hate to get hit by a bus (nose tap) and not have a way for Scott to get my essential info.

Those are my rules. What’s worked for you and what hasn’t in password swapping at home?

Comments on Do you share passwords with your partner?

  1. My husband and I are still getting things sorted out. We have occasionally exchanged passwords for things as needed and he has offered to give me his password for anything if I want to check up on him (after an incident with him receiving an unsolicited text and a text from someone who didn’t know how to be appropriate and I got confused and hurt before asking for clarification). I’ve seen his debit card pin but I never pay attention, and I’ve offered to let him use my Facebook account if he ever wants. We are in the process of getting a joint account and negotiating how we deal with that but we’ve been talking about big purchases and all that for a while and sharing buying groceries, etc. He isn’t worried about keeping things private and neither am I but I also don’t actively invade his space because there’s no point. He keeps his email to himself because he may be working on a surprise for me or something like that, and I keep mine to myself because he doesn’t need to see all the random emails I get.

  2. I definitely second having a plan to share passwords as a backup when the other one is away. I’ve been in the position of the wifi crashing and needing a reset. Not knowing the very complicated wifi security reset password and my husband traveling internationally and being very hard to get a hold of was very frustrating, especially since our main mode of communication was email and Skype which obviously both need the internet to work! It’s important to have them written down for the other person for extenuating non-emergency and emergency situations.

  3. my husband and i are both privy to probably most if not all account passwords the other one has. we trust each other to use passwords for good, not evil. i don’t check his email unless i’ve used it for some reason or know there’s an invitation/important information in there that i need. same for him, if there is flight info in mine, etc., i just tell him to log in. trust is a huge part of being in a committed relationship. we share pretty much everything. i also know my aunt and uncle function well with almost everything separate and private. different strokes.

  4. I don’t share my password with anyone, and the few times I have it’s been in a situation that I literally could not get whatever I needed out of an account. My ex used to share his passwords with me which was probably a dumb thing for him to do–looking for a certain email lead to my finding exchanges with chicks from craigslist and my tearing him a new one. I admit I was snooping at the time, but I don’t regret it.

    I value my privacy and value my partner’s. If I need to retrieve something off the ‘nets I’ll get it myself, or wait until I can.

  5. Reformed snoop because of password sharing.

    I keep my personal and business passwords separate. And then I break it down to social, networking, and other. I share all but my social with my husband-to-be. After he shared his with me- all of them- I no longer felt a need to snoop. I mean, he is sharing, so what can he be doing that would bother me to find out?

  6. We didn’t set out to share passwords for personal things like emails, mostly because I don’t think the notion crossed our minds. However, over the years, we’ve kind of grown to know what each others usual passwords are. I can’t say with 100% certainty that I know how to get into his email address, but I could make a couple of educated guesses at the password if I had to. My partner goes on tour fairly regularly, so the only time I have need to get into one of his accounts is when he needs to check on a message/email, but can’t get access to reliable internet for whatever reason.

    • Mmhmm. I think I could make it into my partner’s accounts if I needed to. He’s also got the built-in advantage that I can’t remember numbers for shit, so he’s told me some passwords over and over and I’ll never remember them. It’s taken me eight years to get his soc memorized!

  7. This is a hard one for me. I’m incredibly nosy (which is exactly why I love this site so much where I can snoop in peoples houses 😉 ) I know several of my bf’s passwords but have resisted snooping so far. It’s not even a trust thing I trust him 100% I am just nosy! I’m also guilty of the odd frape but only if he’s left it signed in. I think I’m hilarious, he thinks I’m silly. 🙂
    I really should have some kind of password back up but mostly because my memory is terrible.

  8. This is a hard one for me. I’m incredibly nosy (which is exactly why I love this site so much where I can snoop in peoples houses 😉 ) I know several of my bf’s passwords but have resisted snooping so far. It’s not even a trust thing I trust him 100% I am just nosy! I’m also guilty of the odd frape but only if he’s left it signed in. I think I’m hilarious, he thinks I’m silly.
    I really should have some kind of password back up but mostly because my memory is terrible.

  9. We share a computer (it is not password protected) and while we dont’ share passwords, because we use the same machine, one of us will get online and be automatically directed to the other’s facebook page, blog, email etc.. It doesn’t bother us because we have nothing to hide.

    We probably should have a password file around somewhere just in case, though.

  10. We have our computers networked together so that we can share files that way. We share passwords, but it’s very casual (hey, what’s the password for this so I can check that). I think it would be hard to live with someone where you never knew any of the other person’s passwords. But maybe that’s just because I’m forgetful and sometimes rely on my husband to look up things in my email. 🙂

  11. We know the passwords to the important stuff like bank accounts and credit cards, but for things like Amazon or email or facebook, we don’t share. Not because we do it on purpose, we just don’t see the point. We also each have our own password protected account on our PC, but just because he hates how cluttered my account is. We don’t hide anything, so the idea of snooping just doesn’t come up.

  12. I know pretty much all of my husbands passwords and pin numbers and such things. He potentially could know all of mine but he always forgets them. It wasn’t anything that we spoke about or did on purpose in the sense that it was a monumental relationship discussion, they were just shared when one of us needed access to check or see something.

    That said, after being with him for so long, I would be pretty ticked off if he said “No” to sharing any of his passwords. We both are pretty independent people who like our own space but refusing to give out a password seems like a sign of trouble. If you think they are going to snoop, or if you have something to hide… well both of these seem like relationship problems that need to be spoken about.

  13. We’ve never outright been like “Okay let’s sit down and exchange passwords”, but through the time we’ve spent living together, there’s been many times we’ve given passwords and pins and such to eachother as a matter of convenience. Also, even if it’s not good, we both tend to use the same formulas and combinations to come up with usernames and passwords, so honestly, even if I didn’t tell him an explicit password (or he didn’t tell me) we could pretty easily hack into the other’s account. Honestly, I’d be upset if he felt like we should have a list of eachother’s passwords. To me, demanding that or wanting it would not only be a glaring expression of lack of trust, but it would also be a kind of implicit go-ahead to get into eachother’s accounts and spy and snoop on eachother. Just because I can easily get into his facebook account doesn’t mean it’s at all ethically okay for me to log in and see what he’s been up to, just like just because I know his pin number doesn’t mean it’s okay for me to watch his ATM transactions. In my opinion, knowledge of your partner’s passwords should be organic.. demanding them outright, to me, anyway, indicates a breakdown in trust and communication.

    • It is funny… I just said in my post that refusing to give someone your password is a sign of a relationship problem but I ALSO agree with Nikki: trying to FORCE your partner into giving up their passwords or “keeping an eye” on your partner is also a relationship problem in my opinion. I guess it can be a pretty delicate balance for such a little issue!

      • It is super delicate, IMO. I think it ties into my “organic” statement. I won’t give my ATM pin to my partner because he sits down and wants all of my passwords and pins.. but if he calls me and is like “I need to pick up groceries, what’s your pin?” freaking out about giving him the PIN is totally a sign of relationship issues, IMO. He gets my passwords and pins but not because he demands, but because it makes sense. Similarly, if it makes sense to give that information and another person doesn’t, I would be very suspicious.

  14. We share passwords mostly out of necessity. For instance, I set up our online banking account, and used one of my passwords. I of course gave it to my husband so he could access our account info and pay bills online. I knew most of his until recently (mostly because it was the same for many accounts), until he got hacked and changed everything in his name. I haven’t asked for the new ones, and I’m not terribly concerned. He’s good about paying credit card bills on time anyway.

    I would occasionally go into his email account if I needed something and he wasn’t immediately available. For example, last year we went on vacation, and the flight info was sent to his account. I needed the flight numbers, and he was away from his desk or in a meeting or something, so I just went in and got it myself. He wasn’t bothered, mainly because he knows that’s ALL I’d ever use his password for.

    So I guess we’re not very concerned about privacy, not because we’ve got nothing to hide (we both know we don’t) but because, as a married couple, we share too many online accounts to be in the dark.

  15. My husband and I share some passwords. I am in the IT field and it is a big no-no on sharing so it is hard for me to share all. We never never share work related passwords. Our mutual accounts have the same email but a series of different passwords to keep things secure. Sometimes he gets erked because I will change a home password to a work one (I only have about 53 of them for a crap load of systems lol) and I have to reset it before I will give him the new password. This usually happens when the password expires and I am accessing it at work. But he deals.

    I actually know most of his passwords since I am the one who sets up his accounts and he could careless what the passwords are. He loves me so much when I get creative on the passwords lol

    Everyone should be careful about syncing and sharing passwords too much because they can be used against you. Also for accounts associated with money and other highly confidential things, use an encryption password app. That way they cant be guessed or accessed without they “key”.

  16. We share passwords, I know all his regularly used passwords and he knows mine. It’s a trust thing. We both trust that neither of us are doing anything to merit snooping, so if snooping does occur, we aren’t going to find anything. I think, and I’m pretty sure he agrees with me, that privacy is for your own head. Secrets are ok in a relationship, but lies kill one. So neither of us does anything that the other would be re-thinking our relationship over.
    However, we are both each others second marriage, and both of us were left because our spouse had been cheating secretly. Both of us blindsided and trusting. So maybe it’s stupid to trust again, but I don’t believe so and neither does he. (though both of us will admit to snooping just to prove it to ourselves) Both of us are the kind of people who want that partner who helps us be the person we want to be and have a partner to grow old and have years and years and years of shared history with. Our previous partners weren’t. They were the adventure seeker types. So we share, and have been for about 5 years, and it works for us. If I want something kept private, I keep it to myself. Internet isn’t for privacy anyways LOL!!

  17. We’re pretty relaxed about it but we dont remember each others passwords specifically other than his university log on which for a while I had to use to print my stuff (largely for a rival university!)

    Email passwords we dont share on the basis we’ve never had the need to. Facebook ones we have because I often use his iPhone to access mine and he asks that I log him back in when I’m done, otherwise all hell breaks loose when he’s posting on my account etc.

    On the odd occasion we do share passwords we do it verbally, i.e. I’ll spell mine out to him for the online banking which holds our joint account (he’s with a different bank and cant access it). When we hear the letters one by one we tend not to remember it as well as we would if they were read out in sequences. Like remembering a phone number, it’s easy when its said to a pattern eg “three-six-three—-seven-doubleeight” but harder to remember digit by digit (dialling 1471 is a prime example, nobody can remember what the voice says)

    The only other way we’ve shared passwords has been again for the online banking. In that instance I wrote the details down on a wipeboard (chalkboard but white plastic and politically correct) so that he could wipe them off as soon as he was done with them.

    Also we tend to input passwords in front of each other but like using a chip and pin machine, fingers move so fast its pretty hard to see the password and memorise it to use it. Though like I said, there’s no real reason for us to do so

    • Also, I know his pin number and he proabably knows mine in case either of us lost our cards or we’re having to use the others accounts to buy something, say I’m skint but he just got paid and I need to buy milk

  18. i really need to set up an ICE file just in case; i don’t know any of FH’s passwords and he doesn’t know any of mine. We do know each other’s pin numbers but thinking about it we also haven’t shared online banking info either.
    we don’t share passwords because we have no need to – if i do need to get into something he’ll tell me but i suck at remembering his passwords because we use completely different naming conventions. we have separate computers, no joint email or bank accounts other than our flat account which is shared with a flatmate as well.
    Neither of us has any reason or desire to go snooping in each other’s stuff, partly because we know it’s all going to be boring to each other. I have no interest in his work stuff and he has no interest in my knitting patterns and fanfic!
    One thing we do do is read over each other’s shoulders when sitting with our laptops, which works for us – that’s how we share.

  19. I’m really protective of my privacy, and always have been. My email addresses all have different passwords from each other and from my social networking sites, and from my banking sites -even my mobile is set for autolock after 15 seconds. I don’t know if I could pinpoint exactly why I’m so obsessed with keeping out, if it stems from working with sensitive personal information at work or if it’s just the way I’m wired. It has proven to be a mixed blessing. I’ve never had any issues with people getting into my stuff, but in my last relationship, I was accused of cheating by my partner. I wasn’t, but I guess my bizarrely private behaviour and various locked files didn’t foster a different image. However, I can speak from personal experience that the second you demand a password from your partner or (even worse) rashly accuse them of something, you’ve pretty mush put a nail in the coffin. It was acrimonious and bitter, and in hindsight, I wish we’d been able to communicate more effectively, but eh. It was several years ago, he was younger than me, and I was a lot younger at the time.

    As to the subject at hand, I trust my partner immensely. I still maintain my labyrinth-like password creation system, but there are the odd gaps. For things like netflix, hulu and amazon, we share our passwords, and he knows the pin to my debit card. He doesn’t know how to access my personal stuff -my paypal, online banking and personal bills, like my mobile -but he does know my mobile’s unlock code.

    So maybe it’s a matter of what people are willing to share with each other, and whether or not the person you’re with is the RIGHT person to be sharing that.

  20. We have a few general passwords that we share but my email and work related stuff remains confidential as I work with clients and my profession’s code of ethics require that I keep all information confidential. My husband also has a separate password for his computer because he works as a system administrator and has access to company information.

  21. My husband knows my passwords. I use the same 4 or 5 over and over, so it’s not like he couldn’t guess if I didn’t tell him explicitly. I know the password to his computer, but not to anything else. He’s told me his go-to password a couple times, but his are a lot harder to remember than mine.

    We do, though, ask permission to get on each other’s computers. He gets ticked if I install stuff on his computer, so I usually swing a, “Hey, is it cool if I stream from the desktop Saturday night?” his way — unless he has work, he doesn’t mind. He asks my permission to use my laptop, but I don’t actually care, so. 😀

  22. Boyfriend and I share passwords because we so often have to get into each others accounts for various reasons. We have a couple shared accounts, and he has to get in to my xbox and psn, and sometimes facebook and such sometimes. It was an automatic thing for us, but only because from the start we have an amazing level of trust in each other. It’s not normal for me and that makes it all that much better. Neither of us snoop (I only snoop for xmas presents… sometimes… really… it was only for 5 minutes.) in our accounts. 🙂

  23. We share passwords for things we share in real life (bills, shared other accounts that really have little meaning to the outside world). We have shared access to anything regarding insurance for the house or the cars or other shared bills. All he has to do is call the company and do his thing. We keep everything we need to both have access to in google docs. Emergency things are not kept locked up.

    Never felt the need to know his passwords. Never felt the need to snoop. Its bad security to share passwords with other people. That is a big no no in our house. Though he has admin rights on my computer (so he can fix it) and could easily find whatever he wants if he needs to.

  24. My fiance and I know our passwords because we like to get on each other’s game accounts to mess with our friends 😀

    Ehem, and if he needs help with stuff online (he grew up without internet, it’s very tragic), it’s way more simple for me to just get on his whatever it is and do it for him ^^ He’s 1000 miles away currently, so it’s not like I can just show him what to do.

Read more comments

Join the Conversation