Do you share passwords with your partner?

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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. Zack and I do not know each others passwords, but I do know that if I was ever feeling anxious or concerned and I asked him to look at his page or email account he would open it up immediately for me. We also leave our pages and accounts signed in out of laziness/forgetfulness on each others computers and neither of us has ever been uncomfortable.

  2. We don’t share passwords unless we need to β€” like for the router, or to log into sites we both use but don’t both need an account for. Otherwise, I don’t know any of his and he doesn’t know any of mine β€” we don’t really need to, and even though I don’t have anything to hide and trust him not to mess anything up, I feel better knowing I’m the only one using my computer/my accounts, and vice versa.

  3. We know some of our passwords, but I’ve never really had the inclination to sit my husband down and make a list of his passwords, and the same with me. Plus, like others said above me, we tend to get lazy and stayed logged into sites on each others computers, so it’s there if we want to see it I guess. We know each others PIN numbers for various things, but that’s mostly for emergencies.
    I don’t snoop. And let me just say, I’m not trying to be holier-than-thou. I had a previous relationship where we both spent a lot of time snooping and spying and basically just looking for SOMETHING to get mad about. And, frankly, when we got to that point, we realized we were really looking for a reason to split.

  4. Before I give my response, I’m going to clarify that when I say “partner,” I mean someone you’ve been with long enough to know them, and whom you feel you could trust with your life. I do not mean that boyfriend that you met three weeks ago and OMG YOU’RE SO IN LOVE. (I’ve heard SO many stories about people who stupidly shared passwords with new flames and got hacked or worse.)

    Anywho, I think that passwords should neither be hidden or demanded, except on a need-to-know basis. For example, I needed my boyfriend’s password to log into the internet when I visited him at college. He needed mine because he wanted to play on my maplestory account for a bit and see how mages work. But, neither one of us snoops, and neither one of us has anything to hide. We trust each other enough to share passwords willingly, and we trust each other enough to not feel we need them, except when a specific circumstance calls for it.

  5. No common password – I know his and he’s supposed to know mine (but has a goldfish memory). I do store my various passwords in a safe place, though. I am not concerned with my virtual shoppings accounts but as a work-from-home freelancer, I thought my partner would find it useful to know how to contact my clients in case something happens to me.

  6. My husband and I share all our passwords and I check his facebook all the time. I don’t have a facebook account and some of our friends only communicate with it. This way I can see the messages but don’t have the ability to respond to the stupid posts that I would totally call out.

    As far as I know he’s never snooped through my stuff but he wouldn’t find anything if he did.

  7. We don’t have a no snooping rule, we just don’t snoop. We know most of each others passwords, which comes in handy. I signed my husband up for Pottermore and it was a race against time, so it’s good I could get into his email account. If I need him to pay my student loan he can do it more easily with my info. Once in awhile we tell each other “Do not go into my email/closet/craftster, there is secrets abounding!”, but that’s only really at Christmas time πŸ™‚

  8. I have 4 passwords I alternate for different things. My Fiance knows what they are but doesn’t know what goes to what. Same with me. I know what passwords to try…. We both ave a list (somewhere around here) that has then listed out in case something should ever happen.

    actually last night i called him out a bit on a privacy issue. I got a text on my phone and asked him to grab it as he walked by it… he did only he started to open the message. I said to him- “I don’t red your messages don’t read mine.” him: “you could you know, I don’t care.” me: “I do.” him: “why” me: “becuase if that person had something to say to you they would have sent you the message… plus it’s my phone. if you wanna pay my bill you can read my messages.”

    I have nothing to hide, but that doesn’t mean he needs to see it.

  9. After a nasty summer last year, I would suggest that both of you should write down all usernames and either passwords or hints to passwords (be sensible about it!) for the essential sites (email, social networking of choice, online banking, any online utility accounts), seal the pages in separate envelopes and put them somewhere very safe. When my late partner went into intensive care last summer, I ended up with no way to let his friends know what had happened as his phone had been with him in hospital so it was in their safe until he was back on a normal ward and I also ended up struggling to pay the bills after a few weeks. I seriously hope and pray that you never need to open each other’s envelopes.

    • Blasted laptop! I didn’t manage to edit this post in time πŸ™

      I’ve come across as very, I don’t know, bossy perhaps, in that above post. Finding myself with a fiancΓ© who was on life support in intensive care with no way to contact any other than our mutual friends and, eventually, with no way to pay the bills either was a sobering experience. I’m not saying “share all your details” just work out what’s important if something like that were to happen to you and make sure that it can all be dealt with.

  10. My partner knows my passwords, but I don’t really know his.
    I’ve gone snooping before though. Once, it turned up information that he really should have told me (info that I actually needed to know- his friends was no longer planning on being one of my bridesmaids!), and the other times I learned that my partner is actually pretty boring…

  11. This is an interesting thread.

    My husband and I don’t have a lot of accounts between us: a few email addresses, a joint bank account, debit cards, the odd online account at shopping websites like Amazon. We don’t social network, we don’t have smart phones. Neither of us even text. So that, in itself, simplifies things. That being said, we each know every password and PIN that exists between us, and have both given permission to the other to check any account at any time, should they feel the need. This is partially because we share essentially everything (a car, a house, a computer, belongings, our time — why not passwords?) but also because we’ve got some trust issues, both from previous relationships and our own relationship’s less-than-glorious beginning. We would both get all crazy if we felt like the other one had to have something password protected (i.e., “What are they hiding?”) Having total access to each other’s accounts reinforces the trust we have for each other. We proved to each other that we have nothing to hide by keeping these things completely accessible. We’re both kind of snoops by nature, which can ruin (and has ruined) relationships, but I know that every time I’ve logged into his email in the past and found nothing to worry about, it’s made me feel better and less likely to do it again. It’s been quite a while since I’ve checked his accounts because I know there’s nothing in there that I shouldn’t see, and I could bet that he’s in the same boat. Eventually, I’m sure it won’t be an issue at all. It’s what works for us.

  12. I shared my passwords with my partner, no problem. Then when we separated, I had issues with changing my passwords. So much so that when I opened a new phone account, they ended up giving him full access – which meant potentially he could have cancelled my phone, changed my plan, and had access to all the numbers I’d called and texted. Lucky for me we separated “well”, but in another circumstance this could have been ugly. I’ll be a lot more wary next time I think.

  13. We both have separate computers but we both know the passwords for each, (his has wifi and mine is still attatched to it’s leash the ethernet cable) yet we both keep out facebook and other various social neworks open and we have a mutual trust that neither would snoop, modify or otherwise mess with each others stuff. I believe it’s all in the trust. I know that he won’t be in my facebook or msn messenger looking through my conversations (not that he would find anything in there other than me talking to his mom) because I would never look through his. I do happen to know that all of his favorite nudie pics are his screen saver, and for that I give him crap, because if I didn’t who would? But again it really is all about trust. πŸ™‚

  14. My boyfriend and I shared our passwords fairly early on in the relationship. One reason is because we trust each other immensely, but also because we don’t have anything to hide, and I don’t mean in the traditional sense. Neither of us are really tied to any social networking sites (only he has Facebook and I have tumblr) and our emails are used to connect with shopping accounts, our parents and school so again, nothing exciting there.

    However, it’s also extremely useful. I can call him and tell him to check my bank balance online if I’m not near my branch. I don’t have a smartphone so I can get him to check my email if I’m out. Honestly, it had never really been a concern for us since we share everything anyway.

  15. Mister and I share passwords and neither of us snoop – which is strange because I was SUCH a snoop in my last relationship and I seem to be a snoop by nature (I found my Christmas presents three days after Thanksgiving, for example).
    We don’t do it for any kind of emergency plan, but just because it’s easier. If I’m getting out of the shower and want to check my bank account, I know I can ask my Mister to log me in real quick while I feed the cats. (He can ask the same of me, but I always need to be reminded of his passwords! I can never remember them.) It’s just convenient for the two of us, and we know that we would never invade each other’s privacy. I’ll always ask before I check his email, for example, and he does the same. It’s not really a big deal with us; it just felt natural.

  16. I dated a guy years back that hid everything from me. So bad that if he left his phone sitting on the counter and I picked it up to look to see what time it was, it was even password protected for that. His OVERPROTECTEDNESS made me want to snoop. I never did but damn did I want to. I didn’t care about bank accounts or anything like that. I didn’t need any of it but his blatent “NO” toward letting me pick up his phone when I was closer to it when it was ringing was making me angry.

    I should have taken that as a clue because the girl that kept calling him was really his “fiance”. We dated for 2 years and it finally ended when I did pick up the phone once when he was in the shower and she wanted to know why I was always in the house that he lives in… (I owned the home).

    What I’m trying to say is: if he refuses to share for no reason at all, I might be cautious. I wouldn’t ask him for the information but if something were to happen and you needed it, and he still refused, then something might be wrong.

  17. My fiancee and I both have had each other’s passwords for everything for years. I admit, I use them to screw with him for fun, like unlocking his computer and giving him a background of horses humping, or stripping all his WoW characters and setting them up in weird locations. We check each other’s email for a variety of reasons, and we both admit to snooping. But there is nothing there except fodder to tease each other with. “Wow I found emails from when you were a teenager, you grammar hasn’t changed at all!” And then he’s shoot back with a, “At least I don’t read all my shopping advertisements and bookmark them!” It’s never been a source of mistrust or stress. Mostly just a source of laugh and playful bullying.

    There has been times when we both would say, “Hey, I bought you something online, so would you mind not looking at my mail until I surprise you?” And that works out fine too.

  18. We share passwords, PIN numbers and other things. The password thing just sort of developed organically–we’ve been together three years and there have been times when we needed one another to go into various accounts from a distance, or simply because it’s more convenient. My partner has also given me his blessing to access his bank account to keep an eye on his spending. He has a very bad habit of making impulse buys that he regrets later, but he’s aware of this and the knowledge that I’m checking helps him to keep from spending that money. Finally, he and I have a joint account for bills/rent/big purchases where the bulk of our money goes. Because, as previously mentioned, I tend to be better at managing money, I’m in charge of this account, though he’s capable of accessing it whenever I need him to. He also has the PIN number for my separate bank account (and I have his) because I’ll sometimes give him my card to run errands. Basically, it just makes things more convenient for both of us to do it this way, but neither of us is particularly secretive or careful about our privacy to begin with.

  19. We share the Netflix and Hulu password, which so happens to be his facebook login. I told him upfront, I will respect his Facebook privacy. We are in a long distance relationship (Navy) so we like to share the entertainment.

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