Social Question

Dog's avatar

In the new decade is complete transparency an expected offering to prove fidelity?

Asked by Dog (25024points) January 1st, 2010

Inspired by this question.

When dating is it now expected that passwords to email and social sites are to be ceremoniously exchanged as a sign of fidelity? Is this now common?

If one refuses to allow the person they are dating to ramble through every nook of their email and social site is it assumed that they have something to hide?

Alternately is it now acceptable to have to answer for anything found that can be misconstrued or taken out- of- context as suspicious even if it was posted or sent by another person and not written by the account holder?

I am curious as to why this is done and why simply trusting one another is not enough. Can anyone explain if it really is a benchmark for trust and commitment or is a sign of insecurity?

Personally, though I have nothing to hide in the least, I would not offer up my social passwords to my soul- mate nor would I expect such information to be given to me. Perhaps that is just us but we each have our own private space and this does not interfere with our intimacy or trust. That being said I am very curious as to what is becoming a norm- if indeed it is.

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32 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

To me trust and fidelity are expressed by absence of need for proof and lack of invasion of privacy.

AstroChuck's avatar

What, we can’t just trust each other? Whatever happened to just that?

wildflower's avatar

I for one wouldn’t want to go that far – it seems more about control than trust. If I felt the need to control rather than trust, I’d question the relationship.

Berserker's avatar

That’s like asking my boyfriend for his pin number for his bank card…I guess it was more simple back when the net didn’t exist?

rooeytoo's avatar

I always feel guilty and invasive when these subjects come up. My mate and I are both on facebook, he has some friends I don’t and vice versa so we have each other’s passwords and often look in. For us, it has nothing to do with trust or fidelity, it is just, I guess convenience.

And I do go through his pants pockets (sometimes even when he’s wearing them, blush) but usually when I do the wash. If I don’t he keeps forgetting flash drives and those damned felt tipped pens. So again it has nothing to do with trust.

So really I think it depends more on why you do it.

jangles's avatar

I guess it depends on how syndical you are about others being honest in a relationship.

Dog's avatar

@rooeytoo I do that as well- and actually if my spouse wanted to look at my accounts it would not be challenging to do so. We just never made a gesture of formally handing over the information nor would we ever thing it was necessary to do so.

I just asked a couple and they also said that they have exchanged passwords for their social networking sites/email. When I asked why the response was that they trusted each other. So to them it is a token of commitment. How does that figure? What are the implications of this regarding personal privacy? Does this set a relationship precedent of entitlement that would carry over into marriage? Are future relationships evolving to include cyberlife?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

If there is no basic sense of trust in the relationship, it is like a structure built on sand. No amount of transparency will substitute for basic trust. Constant demands for this kind of access is an indicator that the relationship is shakey. This is not like an employment situation where one must continuously prove blamelessness.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Dog – I think you just have to do whatever works for you, and really the intent is the important factor.

faye's avatar

I think everyone should have a little privacy if they wish it. I wouln’t want anyone to have total access. This is why I don’t tell friends about Fluther. It’s my private place.

Dog's avatar

@rooeytoo Yes- I agree. We are content with where we are. By the way- funny about pants pockets. ;)

My curiosity here is in how relationships and interactions may be evolving with modern technology. My Grandmother wore my Grandfather’s High School ring on a chain around her neck. My mother had a promise ring. My status was updated to reflect my dedication to my significant other. I am curious to know if this is a progression along these lines.
It is all really interesting.

Kelly_Obrien's avatar

Now you get a prominent place on your SO’s sped dial.

downtide's avatar

I would end a relationship with anyone who had so little trust in me that they needed to demand such things.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@downtide Exactly right. It is not a relationship worth having. +GA

oratio's avatar

Trust can’t be conditional. Then it’s control, and is the expression of never ending suspicion. Trust and respect play the music of love walking down the path hand in hand. Trust is a wonderful feeling. It’s sometimes very scary, but is a source of great strength. Life without trust is being lonely in the middle of a crowd.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Expecting passwords is the sign of a controlling person. I had a situation where someone left their e-mail up and open on my computer, and because of other issues going on, I read some of their e-mails, and told them I did that, as part of a discussion about a larger problem. They offered me their passwords as a sign of good faith, but I wouldn’t take them. The problem was not what was in the messages, but the behavior in real life. I should not need to check up on him via e-mail; he should be conducting the relationship in a manner where I would not have reason to question his behavior or intentions. I would never have read the open e-mail if other behaviors weren’t throwing up red flags.

janbb's avatar

We each have our own computers at home and our own work areas. We keep our accounts separate and forward to each other e-mails we want to share. I don’t consider it a trust issue but an acknowledgment that we are two individuals who share their lives.

dpworkin's avatar

@janbb makes the important point that a couple is not an organism, but an arrangement. Without privacy and autonomy we wither.

Axemusica's avatar

Removed by his imaginary paranoid girlfriend.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I just think people need to be up front: Hey, you know, I’m not a one-person dater. Or, Hey, I met this person and they’re knocking my socks off/I find them extremely sexy and want to sleep with them/whatever, and I think we should talk about it.

Honesty. Honesty is the foundation of trust, which means that you can depend on a person to do what they say they’ll do. If you say you want an monogamous relationship, but you really don’t, then why should I trust you when you go off with another girl? Do y’all see what I mean? I don’t need transparency via passwords and PINs. I need honesty so that I have the information to make my own decisions on how I want to carry on with a guy in a relationship.

casheroo's avatar

I never demanded my husbands passwords, but we do have each others passwords. I did find that question odd, that the person expressed that they trust each other because they have each others passwords…that doesn’t indicate trust to me at all. It just means you have each others passwords. You can still cheat or lie without using the internet…

As for your other question, I think that if I saw someone posting on my husbands Facebook and I didn’t know the person, whether they are male or female, I wouldn’t feel badly for asking who the person is. It’s just curiosity, not paranoia in my case. I can’t speak for all couples. But, I don’t see why he’d ever hide or lie about who the person is. So, yes, I would expect “full disclosure” if I asked who a person was. If he told me “None of your business” then I’d be hurt that he was rude to me more than anything.

dpworkin's avatar

My girlfriend has a whole set of friends whom I have never met. I don’t even know their names. She goes sailing with her sailing buddies, she goes running with her running buddies, etc. I would never dream of butting in. We both like are autonomy, and are certain of our love for one another.

downtide's avatar

@pdworkin my partner and I are both very much the same. There are some things we do together but we both have hobbies that the other isn’t interested in, and friends connected with those hobbies. A relationship where a couple is in each other’s company 24/7, to the exclusion of individual friends and hobbies, well that would be a deal-breaker for me.

Merriment's avatar

I think that people have become so divorced from their own “radar” that they are looking for outward “proof” of things that should be gut knowledge.

I also think that they are fooling themselves if they think any number of passwords and free access to those accounts will prove their partner’s fidelity.

If someone wants to cheat they will find a back door way to go about it while maintaining a facade of transparency and total access. The emotional equivalent of running two sets of books.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I am not sure how to answer this without getting personal.

I was betrayed by a partner in a very heinous way. Most of the cheating was done online and through texts. (Yes, there were physical meetings, too.) But the information was on the computer and through texts. I found out because as I was searching through my own photo files, some of his popped up…and I won’t tell you what I saw, but it changed my relationship with him forever. I also found a transcript that he had kept from a conversation with the crude Miss Hoo-Hoo (of the noted neon underpants).There were also photos of other women. It didn’t help that he was a sales executive who often travelled… countries where “pretty women” (that’s a stretch) were made available as part of business deals. The problem with him, is that his ego was so huge, he actually thought these women fancied him (and not the fact that he was from the West and might be their ticket out of the biz.) He ended up getting blackmailed by one of these “pretty women”. I didn’t find out about this until I found all the information a year later.

I asked for phone bills, for CC bills…but I never asked him for his password on his computer. He got smart. He started using his personal laptop for most of his work. He never gave me any information I requested. He swore that he had changed. But I never, ever believed him. His lack of transparency led me to believe that he had continued his affairs. I’m sure he did. I cannot tell you the pain I went through.

I think that, if there has been an affair or a reason for one partner not to trust another, there has to be full transparency

There is no other way.

Dog's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus said “I think that, if there has been an affair or a reason for one partner not to trust another, there has to be full transparency”

I completely agree. In this case where trust has been violated total transparency is vital.
Thanks for your input- it brought a very important balance to the conversation.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@Dog…..Thanks for the props….....:)

downtide's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus That’s a sad story but again such behaviour would be a dealbreaker for me and if I didn’t trust my partner to the extent that I felt I needed that degree of transparency, I would end the relationship. I would rather be single than live like that.

Janka's avatar

Some people tend to assume such things, but personally I am in the camp that thinks that if the relationship requires complete surveillance it’s not about trust. I do not share my passwords and all of my email with my husband and it would not occur to me to ask for his social site passwords myself.

augustlan's avatar

I saw this link in another question, and thought it was relevant here, too.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I hope not but suspect it will be. I specifically don’t have my bf on my facebook acct. and I don’t ask to be on his because I feel it’s important to be able to gab about with your own buddies and not have explain or give back stories to any things read and misunderstood or taken out of context- face to face interaction gives enough of that.

As my bf becomes familiar with my circle of friends then I foresee him being comfortable watching me check into my facebook page, type out stuff on fluther, soulpancake and poetry sites. Until I feel we’re at that comfort and trust level with each other and know who all the players are in each other’s lives then I will keep some things to myself rather than risk him being confused, suspicious or upset.

In reference to the link @augustlan gave, I have to agree it’s humiliating to break up in the tech age. I was involved with a man who said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and so on only to find out later I had been “replaced” by reading his status updates on Myspace and a myriad of other sites where he posted pics of his new beloveds. That he never told me with his voice or even an email or text we were no longer a couple was really distressing but to see it all over the web was heartbreaking. It really turned me against love, texting/IM’ing/ and social sites for awhile.

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