Passwords, they say, are the frontiers of privacy online. Although social media and other Internet companies advise users never to share their passwords with third parties as a security tip and for the sake of privacy, there is, however, an increasing debate whether couples should do so. The question is: How much information should a couple hide from each other?
A sample of opinions on different blogs and social sites shows that many people canvassing that passwords should be shared between a couple do so with the belief that since spouses don’t have time to follow each other everywhere, a simple password exchange might do the job at a click.
But for others, who also belong to another school of thought, it’s imperative to know each other’s passwords as part of an open, healthy and functional relationship.
Mrs. Tinuola Oluwajare, commenting on a blog, www.femmelounge.org, says she has no issues sharing her social media, including her e-mail passwords, with her husband.
She says, “Personally speaking, I have all my hubby’s passwords, including the official ones and he has mine too. Anytime he needs a new password he calls me to make up one and that makes me love him more and more. So, there is no big deal in it. Since you guys are one, nothing should be hidden. My hubby earns more than I do and I have access to the entire stuff and he has mine too.’’
For Temitope Ifegbesan, who is also commenting on the same blog, the idea of maintaining individual privacy in marriage is fallacious. According to her, a spouse that feels reluctant to share online passwords to his or her partner definitely has some skeletons in the cupboard.
She says, “If you don’t want it to seem like you have something to hide, please let your husband know your password, considering the fact that he is totally free with you where his passwords are concerned. You guys became one when you got married, and that oneness should permeate all aspects of your lives. So the idea of privacy is fallacious.’’
Meanwhile, a school of thought argues that the exchange of passwords between husband and wife could cause more harm than good.
A respondent on the Facebook page of Splash FM, Ibadan, Olugbenro Olasogba-Goldeng, says he tried it with his spouse but ended up blaming himself.
He says, “Should password disclosure be important in making a relationship work out more? I believe there is no need to delve into each other’s social media accounts because so many things could be misunderstood by either partner.
“Even if we are talking about trust, it means she (his wife) shouldn’t be bothered about passwords. Because if she trusts you, she would be rest assured that you have no skeleton in your cupboard. I did it once and she went ahead to chat with some people and even posted comments and she didn’t tell me! I don’t think I would like do that again.’’
Emmanuel Ajileye, commenting on the Facebook page says, “Why should I disclose my password to my wife all in the name of commitment? If she doesn’t trust me in the first place why did she agree to marry me? Please, I think there should be a little privacy in one’s life. Thank you.’’
A Professor of Guidance and Counselling, University of Lagos, Mopelola Omoegun, says though sharing online passwords between couples could go a long way in enhancing their relationship and foster bonding between them, it should never be used as a tool for checking infidelity.
Omoegun, who is the Dean, Faculty of Education in the university, notes that there is a need for couples to know the objectives to be achieved with such exchanges before setting out to do so.
She says, “Once there is an element of trust between the couple involved and they know the objectives they want to achieve they can go ahead. In some cases sharing online passwords have the power of enhancing relationships.
“However, it is not a guarantee to checking infidelity and couples should never set out to do so with ulterior motives and on suspicion of infidelity on the other party. Besides, they should never force it on each other. This is not good for them as this will be the beginning of crisis and make the gap between them wider.’’
Also, a lecturer in the Department of Educational Foundations and Counselling, Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, Dr. Bonke Omoteso, says there are practical considerations that must be in place before couples should embark on sharing their online passwords.
Omoteso, who has a special research interest in communication of emotions through the Internet, warns that newly-wed couples who did not have the opportunity of having a long courtship should desist from it.
She adds, ‘‘There is nothing bad with the couple sharing their passwords with each other. In fact, it is healthy for them. But, there must be mutual trust and love between the couple. This is because, there may be a misunderstanding of the message that is being sent and received by either of the couple on social networks and this may cause trouble between them.
“This may cause a crack in the wall of the marriage if the marriage itself is not initially based on mutual trust. Thus, couples need to sit down and iron things out before embarking on it. Also, newly-wedded couple who had brief periods of courtships should endeavour to get to know each other very well before they go ahead with it.’’