Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

What would you say if your SO wanted passwords to access all your communications?

Asked by wundayatta (58354 points ) September 29th, 2009

I’ve seen this in a couple of places recently. One was a recent answer to a question on fluther. The other was a story line on “Entourage.” In either case, they mentioned SO’s (I think mainly women) wanting passwords to email and facebook, and to be allowed to look at their SO’s phone.

Do you know of any other examples of this? Have you done it? What does it mean? Why would you think you have a right to request such a thing? How would you react if your SO asked for this access?

It seems to me like this is evidence that some people think that couples no longer have a right to some privacy. They get to police each other. Maybe it’s a sign of trust, or maybe it’s a sign of suspicion. What do you think it’s all about?

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81 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

I think it’s good to have all your information stored somewhere safe, so that, in the event of a serious emergency or death, your various electronic points can be accessed (email, online banking, etc), in order to communicate and/or deactivate.

while youre alive and well? i don’t know about that. searching a person’s phone, reading their email, etc – that seems like a lack of trust.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

He knows all my passwords anyway – he can go looking all he wants and I know all his and I’ve used them to look in the past, he knows this – we’re pretty open with each other – I know this doesn’t work for others

live_rose's avatar

I hate people messing with rooting around in my computer but I gave my SO the password to my computer (he’s a computer guy and he was going to fix something for me) But it made me anxious . . . I had to leave the room lol

critter1982's avatar

Wy wife already knows my passwords to everything. I don’t really have anything to hide from her.

gussnarp's avatar

Well, my wife knows enough of my passwords for practical reasons that she could easily figure out the rest if she wanted to, and I have no problem with her knowing them because I don’t keep anything from her. On the other hand, she would never ask for such information just to keep tabs on me and our relationship wouldn’t have gotten this far if it had the kind of lack of trust that she felt the need for that information. If it was at the beginning of a new relationship or just not anywhere near marriage, I would say no and if that’s an issue then you have trust issues you need to work out.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I think it’s really bad, everyone deserves some privacy, everyone. Yes I have had my accounts examined and my handbag too and it really really pisses me off. I don’t write or have anything of interest to anybody, and it always makes me think that people that do that have something to hide themselves.

holden's avatar

My SO knows my email and admin password and vice versa. We trust each other.

marinelife's avatar

My SO has my passwords and I have his. We don’t use them to spy on each other though.

gussnarp's avatar

I’m going to rephrase my answer a bit. In a long term, committed, trusting relationship there is no reason for someone not to have this information, but also in such a relationship there is no reason for someone to ask for this information unless there is a specific practical need for it. If someone just wants a general blanket handover of your usernames and passwords, there are trust issues in the relationship. If they need a username and password for a practical reason and you don’t want to give it to them, there are trust issues in the relationship. In a less committed, long term relationship, no one should be asking for or giving out that information.

sandystrachan's avatar

I would say when did the trust walk out the door ?
She knows all my passwords , i know all hers nothing to hide

knitfroggy's avatar

My husband and I know each other’s passwords to everything and PIN numbers, etc. I know all his info better than he does. I have no reason to hide my info from him and vice versa. If we ever get divorced which isn’t likely we’ll be screwed though!

thanatos's avatar

If you die, you probably want your SO to have access to everything. And since you could die tomorrow, you might as well hand over the passwords before it’s too late.

casheroo's avatar

If they demanded them? I’d think we had major issues.
I’ll tell my husband my passwords if he needs them, but he really doesn’t need to know every password change I make. He rarely goes into my accounts for me. I have his but it’s mainly because I deal with the online bills (he does some through checks, but I still have online accounts with the companies.) Sometimes I go into his mail account and delete crap from his father, who tends to drink way too much and send weird things to my husband…it upsets my husband and I hate seeing him that way. So, yeah, i go and delete it. But, I know he wouldn’t be upset since he doesn’t want to read it anyways.
We have each others pins, out of necessity because usually one of us forgets our debit card and we use it for everything. We have a joint account, so it’s not like it matters.

Being married is different than a relationship though. Unless you plan to get married, or plan to be together for the rest of your lives, then password sharing is weird. I rarely shared passwords with boyfriends unless it was serious. I’d probably let them know my school password, so they could check grades or whatever for me, if need be, but I always keep my school password separate from everything else. There’s no need for a casual boyfriend to know my Facebook or email passwords…

I do think sharing passwords is almost a rite of passage within a relationship, like taking the next step since computers have a lot to do with our lives nowadays.

cwilbur's avatar

“No.”

My email accounts are private. If you trust me so little that you want the ability to snoop in my email, I’m better off single.

cyndyh's avatar

I only use my powers for good. That is why I have the power. :^>

EmpressPixie's avatar

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but we leave email up all the time. So I see his email and he sees mine (less now that we live in different cities). I often have to log out of his various accounts to log into mine. I’ve logged into a few of his accounts over the phone or while he was busy with his hands (usually cooking—gross hands + computer = bad times) for him, I think he’s done it a few times for me.

While we’ve learned a lot of our passwords and happen to see emails, texts, etc, we don’t demand passwords or intentionally look through email or whatever. I think what we do is a natural extension of spending lots of time together/living together, whereas the other is an invasion of privacy displaying a massive lack of trust.

tinyfaery's avatar

We have all of eachother’s passwords, pins, etc. Recently my wife opened a new account in her name (a teacher’s credit union) and I needed to know her balance because we have bills to pay. I just asked “I need your new account number and pin.” She didn’t hesitate and just gave it to me. She never even asked what I needed it for.

If I was snooping, why would I ask? I’d be much more covert. Personally, if my SO said “what do you need it for” and had a funny look on her face, I’d think she was hiding something.

deni's avatar

I used to know my ex boyfriends password to everything while we were dating. He knew mine too, but it didn’t really matter. A few months after we broke up I logged into his myspace or email or something, and I saw a message he had written someone regarding our break up and he mentioned how for the last month we were together, he couldn’t stand being around me. I wished I had never read it and since then I don’t snoop in other peoples business or on their phones because its THEIR business and I wouldn’t want someone looking through my stuff.

Marriage is maybe different though.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I’d say no.
While I’m not opposed to an SO being on some of the sites I enjoy, I don’t want their passwords, don’t want to read their private messages and I don’t want them to want to read mine. It’s not about having something to hide but it’s all about avoiding having to decipher and explain things easily misconstrued said between people who are familiar with each other on different levels yet not at all a threat to the SO. I also don’t believe in going through one another’s private e-mails or cell phones, same thing- too many things can be misinterpreted and that takes time away from couple time, screw that. Facebook is great fun for friends but unless my SO is familiar with everyone on my profile already then I’m not adding them and I don’t want to be added to theirs because that would probably change the nature of banter between the people already there, who wants to tiptoe worrying about again… shit that can get misconstrued. I tell my guy I don’t want to be on his stuff, I want real face time that’s between us not spent hashing up the internet, it’s hard enough just to get calmed down after a regular day.

mramsey's avatar

I have my SO’s password to his email account. I got it because he has been to lazy to get off his bum so he asks me to log in for him for some reason or another. I don’t check his email and monitor him though.
He has my myspace password because he doesn’t want to create his own account. He just gets on to look at band profiles.
I don’t mind him having my password. I have nothing to hide.

Haleth's avatar

I think the answers on here deal with two different situations. If you’re married, it’s probably just a matter of convenience to share this information because it lets you do things for each other. That situation sounds kind of sweet, but I wouldn’t be comfortable with it- I think everyone still needs a little privacy.

What the OP seems to be asking about is, what if you’re just dating and your SO asks for this information? This actually happened to me a few years ago. A guy who was just an acquaintance left a flirtatious message on my facebook for my birthday, and my ex was concerned so he wanted to trade passwords with me. He brought up how close we were, we should trust each other, all that stuff. The dude went through my entire inbox and dredged up stuff from before I even knew him. (We’ve long since broken up and I changed all my passwords.) Looking back, there were other signs that I missed- he always pointed out when other guys were checking me out, got annoyed when I laughed too much at other people’s jokes, and tried to get me to stop hanging out with my friends so much. I don’t think this goes for every relationship, but if an SO asks for your passwords or phone logs, it reeks of insecurity and controlling behavior.

nikipedia's avatar

Maybe I’m a jerk, but I totally have things to hide.

I want to be able to complain to my friends about my partner and not worry about him reading it. I want to be able to have stupid crushes that I don’t tell my partner about that I can giggle over with my friends. Stuff like that.

And I think the other way is even more important. I would never want one of my friends to share something with me in confidence that my partner found out by checking my email.

So no, I don’t share passwords and never will. That would be a dealbreaker for me.

Facade's avatar

Like I said in a previous, related question. When people are are married, they become one. I think couples should be close enough to share everything without feeling like their privacy is being invaded.
I don’t know why man would want my passwords, but I’d have no problem giving them o him.

Supacase's avatar

I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all. My husband isn’t the jealous, nosy or policing type. (In fact, it would never actually cross his mind to ask for my passwords.) If he was a man inclined toward any of those things, I would hesitate if not refuse, but that is not the case.

Besides, he can barely keep up with his own life, let alone find time to investigate mine.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I would tell him no. The computer is MY domain. Sorry if this sounds selfish or secretive, but it is. He doesn’t have any accounts on there at all. My email comes up automatically, but everything else needs a password. And I keep them to myself. He has no reason to get in there. He leaves it alone unless there’s a mail I want him to see. Everyone needs privacy & that’s where I have mine. We each have our own bank accounts with the other as co-signer, so they are an open book. But the computer? No. That’s private.

SuperMouse's avatar

My SO and I actually have a document that we keep updated with all of our account information and passwords. He goes on to my Facebook and into my email regularly and I do the same with his. It isn’t a big deal, we have nothing to hide from each other.

tinyfaery's avatar

I can’t help thinking that those who value privacy actually have something to hide. What private things would you keep from your spouse?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@tinyfaery: a spouse who knows your history, your friends and all about you is different than an average bf/gf situation, at least I remember there being a very different level of comfort in everyone socializing.

Facade's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence Why wouldn’t a spouse know everything about the person they love? I don’t understand that.

nikipedia's avatar

@Facade: Because you’re still different people, dude! I don’t get the need to merge into one.

Facade's avatar

Yea, and I don’t get the need not to

deni's avatar

@nikipedia I agree, I don’t think marriage should be about merging into one, it should be about two people co existing side by side happily. You shouldn’t need to be one. You can still have privacy and seperate identities…

tinyfaery's avatar

I am very distinct from my wife, but we have no secrets. What do I need to keep secret for?

Facade's avatar

@tinyfaery That’s what I’m thinking. A couple can become a unit without deserting who they are individually.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@deni thank you. So far, I think you’re the only one on here who gets that.

SuperMouse's avatar

@jbfletcherfan I think @tinyfaery gets it, and I know I get it as well. My SO and I have not melded into one, but we don’t have anything to hide from one another.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I’m just saying that everyone has the right to keep some things to themselves.

casheroo's avatar

I understand where @nikipedia is coming from. I too want to be able to bitch about my husband to my friends. But, him having my passwords doesn’t make this impossible. He would never go through private emails. The fact that he has my passwords is only for certain things. Like, my Amazon account purchases go to my email..if he does it under my Amazon account, since I’m logged in more, he’ll need to check my email to check the status. this is just an example But, while doing so, he’d never read private emails. Like an email between me and my best girlfriend? What would his motive even be? If he did, I’d think there was a major breach of trust and I would think he did something and felt guilty.

Also, I agree with @tinyfaery You do become one when married, but you are still a distinct person. I have my own thoughts and feelings separate than my husband, but we share those things.

tinyfaery's avatar

People want privacy to hide things they are ashamed of, embarassed by, or to keep secrets. Why do you need this from someone who you love and loves you. When I am upset with my wife I don’t shoot out an angry email or bitch to my friends. I talk to her about it.

From Dictionary.com
pri⋅va⋅cy  /ˈpraɪvəsi; Brit. also ˈprɪvəsi/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [prahy-vuh-see; Brit. also priv-uh-see]

–noun, plural -cies.
1. the state of being private; retirement or seclusion.
2. the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs: the right to privacy.
3. secrecy.

Facade's avatar

@tinyfaery Right on!
Wouldn’t bitching to friends totally contradict the “privacy” some people want?

Adagio's avatar

@tinyfaery People want privacy to hide things they are ashamed of, embarrassed by, or to keep secrets I wonder where this belief comes from ? It is such a blanket statement and certainly does not hold any water to my way of thinking. To my mind privacy is simply something that every human being has a right to; whether they choose to use that right on any or every occasion in their life is completely up to them. To demand that somebody shares everything with their partner goes beyond all reasonableness and respect. The day the sharing of passwords etc becomes a measure of trust in relationships will be a very sad day.
The second dictionary definition that you quote best describes the kind of privacy I seek: the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs: the right to privacy it is the right to privacy that is important, whether somebody chooses to exercise that right is entirely up to them

tinyfaery's avatar

So your SO disturbs and intrudes upon your life? What a great relationship.~

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Adagio too bad I can’t give you 10 GA’s.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@facade: what I meant was that I understand and have experienced the dynamic of spouses and sharing these type of things with them is less a big deal than two people who are coupled but maybe not for very long or don’t feel that level of “melding” yet. If I were married again, I wouldn’t mind my spouse having access to my stuff whether they used the access or not. I figure by that time and that level of comittment they’d know exactly where they stand and where everyone I interact with stands. I’d also expect them to respect there must be privacy for friends to confide in one another. This is why longterm friends, a few exes and intimates are welcome on my facebook and interact comfortably with one another but I don’t invite my current romantic interest- he’s too new to me and would probably experience a lot of shock and confusion if he jumped in right now.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Adagio my SO did not demand my passwords, nor did I demand his. We exchanged them willingly. I gave him mine because I have absolutely nothing to hide from him, I’m thinking he gave me his for the same reason.

Facade's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence I agree it can be difficult for people in a new relationship to share everything. I’m just going off how I am with my relationships.

Adagio's avatar

@tinyfaery I am speaking about principles, I am not inferring that anybody is disturbing or intruding upon my life.

@SuperMouse When 2 individuals are both genuinely happy to have all their personal information in a shared domain, of course, there is no problem, they are exercising their free will. What would be a concern for me is when one individual demands the information of another individual because they see it as their right.

I used to send e-mails to my father but discovered to my horror that his partner read everything I wrote, despite the fact that the subject line said “e-mail for my father”. Sometimes she even replied and there were even occasions when the e-mail was signed as if it had been written by my father I knew it wasn’t because he has a very distinct and dyslexic way of spelling ; I never replied to her replies it was my way of not validating her actions. There was nothing written in the e-mail that I wished to hide from her but to my mind it was like somebody opening a letter that was not addressed to them. I no longer send my father e-mails, preferring to telephone him instead.

YARNLADY's avatar

All my passwords come from my Hubby, and he has full access to my computer through ‘logmein’. I don’t know enough about computers to even care about his passwords.

mistered's avatar

I have nothing to hide so I don’t give a shit if they have my passwords. I wouldn’t just give it to any random girl I’ve been dating though.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

The question reads “What would you say if your SO wanted passwords to access all your communications?” This says that they’re ASKING for them. NOT that you’re WILLINGLY giving them. There’s a difference. This ‘melding’ business is fine. We’ve been married for 42 years. There’s not much more melding we can do. But we DO believe in privacy. What goes on here on this computer, is MY private place.

@tinyfaery how would you feel if your SO went through your wallet? Would you go through her purse? My husband wouldn’t think of doing that. One time he wanted my nail clippers out of my purse. I said to go get them. He picked up my purse & handed it to me. He wouldn’t do it. And I wouldn’t DREAM of getting in his wallet. We respect each other’s privacy. That doesn’t mean we have anything to hide. It’s respect & courtesy.

wundayatta's avatar

I tend to assume that if I tell something to a friend of mine in confidence, that that does not include my friends SO. I.e., that spouses may share everything with each other. I may not like their SO, or trust them as I trust my friend. So I tend not to tell my friends things I would trust them with, but not their SO.

I do the same thing, however. I talk to my wife about everything. Even the stuff I’m ashamed of. She has access to everything I write, but she doesn’t read it. She tells me to give her the stuff I think she should read. Well, I don’t know how to whittle it down to that. She should read everything.

There are things that I know that bother her, and I don’t rub her nose in those things. She has told me she doesn’t want to see them. It’s unnecessary to hurt herself that way. I used to have some secret email accounts, but I don’t use them any more. They were secret because I didn’t want her to know what I was doing. I didn’t want her to know because we had problems in our marriage. We’ve been working on that.

Growing up, many people kept a diary. Many, if not all of them wanted to keep the diary secret from their parents. We do have private lives, and we need to explore things and work them out and most of us didn’t want our parents to know everything we were going through; especially the things that were against the rules.

Is there still room in a marriage for one person to have a private space to work things out before they present them to their spouse? Or should all the working out be done together? It sounds to me like most people do their working out together, or leave it open to their spouse, although neither party takes advantage of this openness.

I think that being open, as in sharing passwords, is often a symbolic gesture. We are saying our lives are open books to the SO. However, many of us—maybe most of us—don’t look at our SO’s stuff because there is this unspoken respect for privacy, and the unspoken acknowledgment that we are different people. We could look, but we don’t.

Part of this may be respect for the SO’s need to protect their friends. Part of it may be respect for the SO.

I think it is a problem when one member of the couple needs to look over the shoulder of the other. It indicates an insecurity and a lack of trust, and does not bode well for the relationship.

Of course, if you do have something to hide, it seems to me that, often, the best place to hide it is in plain sight. Most people looking for something often overlook that which is right in front of their noses. They assume it is hidden.

I think this discussion is really interesting. In truth, I think I am different from most people, based on the answers to this question. I do feel a need to keep some things secret from my wife. Or at least to feel it is possible for me to do that, even if I don’t do it. I’m not even sure what it is—but I think that I do keep a part of myself separate from everyone. It’s something that I don’t think I realized until I just wrote it now.

In a way, that makes me the guardian of the cage I keep myself in. Even though I have often claimed loneliness, and lamented about it, I now realize that I was/am the one who keeps a barrier between me and others. It is instinctive. I don’t even know why I do it, although it seems like I am ashamed of myself, and I want to protect myself. Perhaps this is why I ask so many questions about things that people do keep private, except from their SO’s.

I don’t know if this is a problem, or how unusual I am in this. I don’t know if I really want to break down this wall I have built between me and my most intimate partner. There is something—some kernel inside me—that I want to keep to myself. It must be something that I believe people would judge me for if they knew what it was.

It’s funny, because I have tried to be as open as I can be online. I have tried not to hide anything. I suppose that’s easier with strangers, because, as with conversations with a passenger next to you on a train, you know you will never see them again. But with someone intimate, things matter more. Privacy seems even more important to me, even if I tell her all the things I’m ashamed of.

I’m not truly an open book even though, in theory, I want to be. I don’t know what I keep hidden. Maybe I keep it hidden from myself, too. I guess if I don’t tell my conscious self, I can’t blab it to anyone else. And if the part of me that keeps it secret thinks it should be secret, then I don’t think I want to pry—even though I think I would fail if I tried to pry. Does that sound weird? Does it sound like I have a split personality?

tinyfaery's avatar

She can pick up and rifle through anything she wants. I have nothing to hide.

I was thinking about this last night. I decided that privacy is something people want, for whatever reasons, but when you have nothing to hide, and you have completely opened yourself up to another person, you no longer want privacy because there is no need. What you have instead is trust. Trust in yourself that you don’t need to invade the space of your beloved, and trust that your beloved will not invade yours.

It’s akin to the idea that in order to truly be free, you have to give up your will.

valdasta's avatar

My wife has my passwords (actually we share many of the same ones)...it keeps me accountable. I don’t have to worry about my wife – she couln’t do wrong if she tried.

Janka's avatar

I would say “no”.

To elaborate; this is not that I have anything to hide from my husband. It is that I don’t. He does not need to spy on me to trust me; I do not need to spy on him. If we need to know of every little bit about each other’s lives, to read each other’s mails, to listen each other’s phone calls, etc etc, to trust each other, that is not trust. That is control. If you need that kind of control to behave, or to have them behave—sorry to tell you, but there is something wrong with your marriage.

Moreover, most passwords are personal, and they should be kept that way. Anyone—yes, anyone—you give them to unnecessarily is an unnecessary risk. Do I believe my husband would abuse my accounts, steal my money, make me look like an idiot, and move to.. ok, he won’t get to the Bahamas with my money, but you get the point? No, I do not believe that. But neither do the people who get screwed by their SOs, obviously, or they would not have given the SO the accesses in the first place.

Do you believe most of your friends would screw you over if you gave them access to your personal files? Is this enough of a reason to give that access to them?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I would say “No”. A partner should respect your privacy. Suspicion is detrimental to any relationship.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Janka & @The_Compassionate_Heretic Hot damn ! Two more people that understand where I’m coming from. I deal with control issues being forced on me. This is it in a nutshell.

Bluefreedom's avatar

My SO doesn’t have a need for most of my passwords and vice versa so this isn’t a question that I’d ever have to expect from her. If she ever did ask, I’d question her on why she needed all my passwords. Unless it was for something of grave importance, she wouldn’t be getting any of my passwords. We trust each other also and that is another reason that I never foresee her asking for my passwords for things.

Adagio's avatar

@Daloon I do not think it is at all strange that there is a part of yourself you like to keep private even from those you are most close to. It seems entirely natural, we are, after all, separate individuals, no matter how closely our lives are interwoven with the lives of another and/or others. I would not describe this habit as being secretive , I see it as simply retaining something for ourselves alone. Does this make us selfish? I think not, it reveals our humanity. Does it keep us from engaging fully in a relationship with another human being? Why need it do that, there is still plenty left to share with others.
You pose the question Is there still room in a marriage for one person to have a private space to work things out before they present them to their spouse? Heaven forbid that there is ever a Big Brother who is capable of invading the private space we need to work things through in our mind. Thought Police, keep out!

jonsblond's avatar

@tinyfaery but when you have nothing to hide, and you have completely opened yourself up to another person, you no longer want privacy because there is no need. What you have instead is trust

Thank you for expressing exactly how I feel. You are one awesome chick! :)

EmpressPixie's avatar

@tinyfaery @jonsblond: You know, I was thinking, “we don’t have anything to hide from each other, yet we still value privacy” but then I realized something: we regularly hide things from one another. He planned a beachside-sunset proposal for me. I buy him gifts. He makes reservations to take me out to dinner. There are lots of little things we hide from each other all the time. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.

Also, you are wrong about privacy and trust. If you truly trusted your SO, they wouldn’t need to know your passwords because they wouldn’t really care because they trust you. It is a mistake to think that privacy must be given up to have a fully trusting relationship.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m going to have to go ahead and agree with @tinyfaery – it seems that privacy is something different to people and people get attached to it but, imo, in a relationship that’s really meaningful and loving, there is NOTHING you hide, keep from each other…

EmpressPixie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: So for a relationship to be meaningful, the people involved can never plan surprises for each other? Because the element of surprise is kind of vital to, you know, a surprise. And that means keeping the information about the surprise back. And if there are no surprises, none at all, no small yet planned romantic gestures that show you care about each other, well, I kind of find that depressing. Don’t you want to do nice things for your SO that will surprise and please?

How boring to know about every gift your SO gives you the moment it is ordered. No build up waiting for the holidays. No build up waiting for your birthday. Just, “Honey, I got you a BLANK for BLANK.” Not exactly fun. In my opinion, obviously you feel quite differently.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@EmpressPixie hm, i don’t know, we’ve had plenty of surprises in our relationship but somehow the planning of these didn’t have to done via the computer, I guess shrug…and it’s not like I check his email so I’m sure all those order confirmation emails went unnoticed by me…that’s in terms of passwords and the such…other than that surprises are temporary – they, to me, do not constitute ‘having a private life’

critter1982's avatar

Privacy is not the same as a surprise. Private things exist for your own “Personal Interests” whereas suprises exist for “somebody elses interest”. I think privacy and trust, to some, can be held hand in hand, and the less willing you are to share everything with your partner the less likely they will be capable of trusting you.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Not true. Some privacy exists for the interests of others. My friend Sam could not care, seriously he couldn’t, if he closes the bathroom door when he is occupied within. I care. I value that privacy for him. So he shuts the door, attaining the privacy necessary to do his business in my interest.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

A relationship is nothing without trust. How can there be any trust if your partner expects or demands access to your most private things?

What if you have a sibling who asks you to keep something in confidence? Does your significant other automatically get access to this. Mine won’t. Relationships affect a lot more people than just the two involved.

valdasta's avatar

Earlier I said that my wife has all my passwords and I have nothing to hide. I don’t, but there are things that I do not tell her because it is not her business. I have people who speak to me in confidence; my wife knows this and does not demand the “dirt”. These folks are trusting that I will not repeat to others what they have said to me in private. I have had some of these folks who later confided in my wife as well and they were surprised that I did not inform my wife of their circumstances.

There is one other area that I do not share with my wife: my journals. Funny, I don’t keep them under lock and key (the older ones are on my shelf in the office and now I keep a journal on the pc labeled, “journal”). The unspoken agreement is that I really wouldn’t want her to go through it…and to my knowledge she hasn’t.

…I haven’t asked specifically, but I believe my wife feels absolutely secure with me.

wundayatta's avatar

There does seem to be a camp who believes they have nothing to hide, so why not share passwords? This seems to imply that not sharing passwords means you do have something to hide. It also would seem to imply that spouses should share everything with each other to the point that they have no private lives.

I question the idea that having a private life means you have something to hide. I think we all have private lives—and that this is a good thing. We are not totally merged with our spouses, and if we are, then there’s a kind of codependency that disturbs me. I’m not sure if that’s really the best way to be. Surely we all have thoughts that it would serve no good purpose to share with our spouses, although we may want to share them with other friends, or even write them down for our own good, but not for the eyes of anyone else.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@daloon I agree 100%. I also resent the idea that some have stated just because you don’t share every fart you have is a bad thing & that it suggests secrecy. A person HAS to have somewhere in their lives that’s just their’s & their’s alone.

jonsblond's avatar

@daloon I’m happy to be merged with my spouse. We have other friends, but my husband is my best friend. I don’t see why that is codependency. I think we are lucky. Some people feel they need privacy so they can bitch to their friends about their spouse. If I have a gripe about my husband, then I gripe to him. If I gripe to my female friends instead, nothing is accomplished. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to share any thought that I have with my husband and he feels the same. It may not work for other people but it definitely works for us.

Janka's avatar

@jonsblond : my husband is also my best friend. I do not have any reason to bitch about him and I consider myself very lucky too not to need to do that. If there are problems, I talk to him about them. I agree with you that it is a great feeling to be able to share any thought.

However, “best friend” does not mean that we are completely the same person. We have our own interests, jobs, routines that we talk about with each other, but do not always do together. We have opinions we like in the other person, but do not share.

I would quote Kahlil Gibran:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

jonsblond's avatar

@Janka I never said we were the complete same person. We are individuals that share many interests but we also have interests that the other would rather not do. We just have nothing to hide from each other.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jonsblond I’m with you
and he and I have a lot of our own things that we love to do or are passionate about
but there are no secrets, no ‘our own worlds’ nothing
we are fully actualized, as individuals and as a couple

YARNLADY's avatar

Some people are just naturally more privacy minded than others. I don’t know why that is. In our household, we don’t consider privacy to be very important. We don’t even close the bathroom doors unless ‘other people’ are in the house.

Hubby does have some need for discretion, because he counsels people who have an expectation of privacy, and we respect that. If I ever felt it detracted from our relationship, I am confident he would give it up.

Janka's avatar

@jonsblond: I have nothing that comes to mind that I would have to hide from my husband, either (well, apart some gifts I am planning for him). I just cannot see how that means I should give him all my passwords. What does he need them for? He knows I tell him everything important, anyway.

Jeruba's avatar

“I can’t imagine why you’d ask that. If you want to give me your reasons, I’ll think about it.”

I learned a long time ago that I like myself a little better if I keep a few things to myself. It almost doesn’t matter what they are. It’s a bit like having a room of one’s own, you know?—which I do, as does he. We trust each other, but we also positively never rummage in one another’s desks, purses or wallets, pants pockets, or other places for storing personal belongings unless we first ask permission. I consider that to be a matter of courtesy and respect, not concealment or fear of discovery.

Adagio's avatar

@Jeruba Such a clear, measured response. One adult to another. written before your second paragraph was added. I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly with your additional paragraph

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks, @Adagio. I’m hardly ever finished with my posts at one stroke. I’m an editor. Afterthoughts R us.

BBQsomeCows's avatar

hide nothing from your spouse

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