Sharing passwords with a partner: here's what the research says

Sharing passwords with a partner: here's what the research says

Andrew Zangre by Andrew Zangre on

Last year we published a report looking at the state of online security and password habits in the home. Today we’re publishing the second half of that research in a new report that focuses on password sharing in relationships and the online security habits of romantic partners.

How dating and relationships factor into the online security equation is interesting to say the least. If you want to dive right in, you can download the report – but I wanted to share some of the most interesting findings here.

Trust and personal comfort

As with anything, we all have different philosophies on this topic. Your comfort with sharing private details is your own, and we’re not here to judge. The findings in our report show the range of habits and opinions here, at the intersection of online privacy and romance.

According to our survey, 25 percent of people won’t share their smartphone password with a partner until they get married. While not insignificant, that tells us the majority are still trusting enough with that info somewhere along the dating journey. That level of trust is a beautiful thing – so long as you set some ground rules and ensure the password stays between you.

Different strokes

The degree that people are comfortable sharing passwords varies by the type of device or account, as well as the age group and gender of the person sharing. Female-identifying respondents, for instance, were less comfortable sharing passwords in their relationships. That goes especially for work devices and email accounts – more than half of women say they won’t reveal their work computer logins to a significant other.

Elsewhere in the report, Gen Z and millennials show they’re more likely than older generations to share passwords in the early stages of dating. As privacy experts, this is a trend that gives us some cause for concern. But again, having conversations that help nurture trust and prevent resharing or misuse can make a big difference.

If and when you “make the leap” with your partner, keeping things safe in 1Password Families is still the ideal way to prevent identity theft and other issues. Rather than scribble various passwords on sticky notes or in emails, create shared vaults then add the passwords you’re comfortable sharing. Take things slow with what you reveal, to help protect yourselves and your partners.

The not-so-fun side of things

Our report also touches on a few prickly but super-relevant items – namely, secret accounts between partners and what happens after breakups.

According to our research, many of us keep some things to ourselves, even from our significant other. This includes certain online accounts for nearly half of the people we surveyed. The simple knowledge of that could cause a few arguments, and understandably so. What you share is, again, a personal choice – and plenty of healthy relationships may involve some online secrecy.

Then there’s the breakups. Sharing important passwords, even with your family members, reduces your overall security; that’s just a fact. If your relationship goes south, we can’t recommend strongly enough that you change any passwords you shared, no matter how close you were and might continue to be.

Our study helps illustrate the point, showing that 44 percent of people try signing into an ex’s account after a breakup. So updating your important logins is the safe move if it comes to that point. And well before you get there, limit your password sharing to those people that have proven their trustworthiness with you. Fixing a problem is way harder than preventing it when it comes to your online safety.

Get the full report

If you’re curious to learn more, check out the full report for plenty of insights, paired with some gorgeous visuals from our Design team. We greatly enjoyed putting it together and learning how people approach password management in the throes of love.

We hope this report can inspire some productive conversations and increased awareness around online security. Thanks for reading and Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️

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Content Marketing Manager

Andrew Zangre - Content Marketing Manager Andrew Zangre - Content Marketing Manager

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