Are you being secretive online? Passwords and online security have become deeply embedded in all aspects of life, including intimate relationships, according to new research from 1Password.

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the Love and Logins: Password Sharing in Relationships report draws on a survey of 2,001 U.S. adults to explore when a romantic partner gains access to passwords, the allure of having a virtual little-black-book of secrets, and the palpitations of a digital break-up.

The Double Life
Relationships are not all rainbows and butterflies, and with the advent of digital lives comes the rise of the online secret life. 1Password’s survey revealed that 43% of Americans have an online account their romantic partner doesn’t know about, according to a 1Passwrd news release.

  • You should have known: The research reveals men are more secretive than women – nearly half of men (48%) have an account their romantic partner doesn’t know about, compared to 35% of women.
  • Little black *social media* book: Twenty-five percent of men admit to having a secret social media account. Watch out on Snap!

Love and Marriage, Trust and Boundaries
Couples who don’t share their personal passwords are not only practicing good digital security but doing so for the benefit of their relationship. Respondents were twice as likely to believe that not sharing passwords with their partner was healthy (33%) versus those who thought doing so could lead to relationship trouble (16%), the news release said

  • With this ring, I (might) give you my passcode: Twenty-five percent of Americans won’t share their phone passcode until they’re married — and 20% won’t ever share it.
  • Women of secure means: Women are more protective than men when it comes to sharing their password across most accounts earlier in a relationship. Women were significantly more likely than men to say they’d never be comfortable with sharing the password for online shopping sites (50% more likely), personal email (48%), financial accounts (47%), social media (36%), work computer (36%) and their smartphone (35% more likely).
  • Digitally active: Young people are willing to share their password with a romantic partner earlier in a relationship than older people. Thirty-six percent of Gen Z say they’d be comfortable sharing their smartphone passcode after deciding to date exclusively, significantly higher than Millennials (25%) — and more than double Gen X (15%) and Boomers (7%).

The Digital Breakup
Habits can be hard to break and sometimes an ex can’t stop loving you — or your login. Nearly half (44%) of Americans have tried to access an ex’s online account post-break-up. Most say they do this to save money (38%) or for convenience (35%). Login love can linger; more than a third of Americans (34%) access their ex-partner’s accounts for a year or longer after the relationship has ended, the news release reports.

  • The breakup fallout: While you pack up everything they owned into the box to the left, don’t forget the passwords. Fifteen percent of Americans say they’ve never thought to change their passwords following a breakup or separation–all while 34% still check on their exes by logging into their social media accounts to see what they have been up to.
  • The last laugh: 25% of men said they accessed an account to prank their ex-partner vs. 12% of women.

“Passwords have become the third wheel in many relationships,” said Jeff Shiner, 1Password CEO in the news release. “Figuring out when to entrust partners with the keys to our digital lives is hard enough; managing access when things don’t work out it is even harder. This complex portrait of modern relationships shows that keeping tabs on your digital life can lead to both headache and heartache without a system in place.”

Survey Methodology
1Password conducted this research using an online survey prepared by Method Research and distributed by RepData among n=2,001 adults in the United States. The sample was balanced by census targets for age, gender, and ethnicity to be nationally representative of the US population. Data were collected from November 13 to November 18, 2020.  View the complete Love and Logins: Password Sharing in Relationships here.

Source: 1Password