It is the love season, or so we are told. The month of Valentine. The problem with the emotions that accompany being in love is

Common sense guide to electronic security for people in love

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It is the love season, or so we are told. The month of Valentine. The problem with the emotions that accompany being in love is that it causes people’s heads to stop functioning right. In counselling people, I hear a few silly things. Part of these include ideas like sharing passwords is seen as a sign of love, devotion, and commitment. It may sound good and assuring on the surface, but it is a naive idea. It doesn’t take into consideration other factors.

For example, a lady who has just experienced a breakup mentioned to me that her ex has access to her Facebook and email accounts because he knows the passwords. You see, while she was still cuddly with the dude, she shared her login details with him as a sign of trust and commitment. Months or years ago, she could swear by heaven and earth that their love was invincible. That’s being naive. In the real world, things are often different. Now, he is an ex, and her stuff are all accessible to him. The damage done will depend on how malicious or vengeful he is.

I came across an article that highlights some of the issues involved and gives practical advice. It is about protecting your digital data from a vengeful ex, and here are some of the tips:

Start by turning on password locks for your mobile devices and computer. When you’re comfortable in a relationship, you might be more lax about security on these devices. Adding a passcode to a smartphone is recommended for everyone, regardless of relationship status, but only 40% of Americans currently protect their phones with a password.

Yes; lock up everything – phone, laptop, email, Facebook, name it.

Don’t feel pressured to share your passwords, even as a way of proving that you are trustworthy or trust someone.

It’s OK to keep certain things to yourself; it doesn’t necessarily mean you are hiding something

Sharing your passwords with a lover is a bad idea. If he or she claims that you don’t love them because you refuse to share them, so be it. You don’t. If he/she claims that you have something to hide, so be it; you do. All those accusations are emotional blackmail and manipulations. That isn’t good for any relationship.

Oh! I hear some of you say that you are married, so this doesn’t apply to you. Duh. Someone doesn’t have to be your ex to be vengeful. Look around you – vengeful spouses everywhere – desperate housewives and maniac husbands. Some of them were sugar sweet just three months ago. Now, the picture is a stark contrast. Then, there’s that thing called separation. Divorce too. Plus, let’s not forget that trust and personal security are not mutually exclusive. As such, even if there is trust, it is still not a smart thing to share your passwords. Many things can go wrong that you do not foresee. You know how people think that some things can never happen to them? The people who have been victims thought exactly the same thing.

Over and over again, I say to people in love: “Keep your head screwed firmly on”. Keep your passwords to yourself. All of them. If your partner keeps asking for them, he or she is likely a snoop and someone not to be trusted. I mean, what do I need my wife’s passwords for? Why should I demand that she shares them with me? If you have a joint bank account with an ATM card or internet banking service attached, sure, that is a different scenario and you have to share access. But I also tell people never to live off a joint account exclusively. Each partner should also have a private personal account. Life is more about your capacity for dealing with the unexpected than how well you are able to deal with the expected. Build that capacity.

I know that to a number of people, all these sound like one is encouraging distrust in relationships. Far from it. The idea is to help protect you and protect your partner. Your relationship actually stands a better chance of stability when both of you are adequately protected. If there is one thing to take away from the article I am referencing, it is this:

Prevention is the only way to really protect yourself, and there are some practical security measures everyone should take.

Wise words. You can read the full article here: How to protect your digital data from a vengeful ex.


  1. Different strikes for different folks. Thankfully I don’t belong in those circles and I don’t live with those kind of people.

    There’s no way I’d give a boyfriend my passwords, not even a Fiance. But vengeful spouse? I laugh. Seriously, that kind of drama eludes me.

    If I’m concerned about security of my devices, it would be more about people outside of my family and close personal circle.

  2. Very thorny issue here @Yomi but I don’t entirely agree with everything. Inasmuch as a degree of privacy is allowed I will say this out loud, the easiest way to catch a cheating partner is through their phone. If your companion cannot give you his or her phone PIN, then runaway from that relationship (I don’t support snooping around their phones though)

    ATMs, business Emails and facebook passwords are a different matter all together, you can keep these ones secret if you want.

    Its all about trust anyway. I propose that married couples have a ‘death folder’ in the house where these important information maybe stored for easy retrieval if the worst happens. A degree of maturity will be needed so that it will not be abused by either spouse.
    When I lost my father years ago it was easy to just walk to the bank and use his ATM, this avoided all the long protocols in the bank.

    It all about trust and how serious the relationship is. A one night stand shouldn’t have any of your passwords.

  3. LordBenny,

    If your companion cannot give you his or her phone PIN, then runaway from that relationship

    My wife once asked me for my phone’s password/PIN. I told her straightfaced that I wasn’t giving it to her. If her marriage to me depends on your interpretation of my refusal to share my password, I guess she should be packing her bags right about now. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be hooked to someone who places such a low value on our relationship as to evaluate me based on whether I share a password or not.


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