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I’ll give you mine if you give me yours

By Tori Taylor, September 24 2019—

I avoid listening to radio talk-shows as much as possible. But, on the rare occasion that my phone fails to sync up with my car’s Bluetooth fast enough, I find myself catching a few lines of radio commentary. This was the situation a couple mornings ago. I ended up hearing a conversation regarding the timeline in which it becomes acceptable for a couple to exchange phone and social media passwords. When my music overrode the station and the discussion cut off — I immediately turned it back. 

You know when you are repulsed by something but just can’t look away? Ya, that’s what happened. I knew I needed to stop listening but my mind was so blown away by the insanity of the opinion that I just couldn’t turn it off. 

Apparently, giving away the right to personal privacy is how some people show their commitment in a relationship. This boggles my mind. I’ve spent a few days wondering in which situation I would ever assume someone’s love for me was based on my ability to log-in to their Instagram. I mean— they must be my soulmate because they want to access my phone whenever they please. Should I even consider it a real relationship if they can’t read my messages before I do?

The idea that two people need to find security through the exchange of passwords just screams “red-flag” to me. I am an advocate for personal privacy. And I genuinely think that part of caring about someone means you allow that person the same right to their own privacy. You fall in love with a person because of who they are. I think that if you invade every inch of that person’s space because you think it will make your relationship more secure then you are fooling yourself. Instead, if you’re feeling like you need to monitor the person in order to feel safe— it’s likely time to step back and ask some hard questions about your own insecurities. Why would you need to know a partner’s passwords? I don’t want to be in a relationship where I feel like it’s my job to police their socializations. Likewise, I’m a grown-ass adult and do not need to explain why my Instagram dm’s have a few regular creepers. I’m never going to meet @trucksnbutts123456 in person, trust me. 

Instagram is filled with beautifully-edited photos and I am the first to like a whole slew of gorgeous bikini pictures. I’m not going to defend my right to follow however many gorgeous people I want just because my partner takes their insecurities out through my social media. I wouldn’t love someone less or pick a fight about an ex liking a picture of their #leanandgreen breakfast smoothie. 

I’m not an overly private person. I’ll hand out my passwords to friends when I’m too lazy to reach for my own phone. If you’re closest to it and I need to know who is blowing my phone up then I’ll tell you to rapid fire your finger on the number one until the lock screen disappears. But it’s a completely different situation to believe that you deserve my passwords. I have vulnerable conversations with family and friends that will always remain private between myself and the other party. I respect my sister and when she trusts me with her personal problems — I don’t go to tell other people. There are some things don’t need to be shared. I believe that whomever you choose to partner up with should be the first to trust that you share with them almost everything because you want to do so — not because you’re obligated by a social norm that fuels insecurity and jealousy.  

At the end of the day, every relationship is unique and the boundaries are between the people involved. I would suggest thinking twice before diving down the rabbit hole of “regulated password exchanges.” It may be a better idea to have a conversation about trust and open conversation within your partnership so that you both feel genuine security instead of an impulse to go through their text messages as validation.

This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet‘s editorial board.

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