Lo, Valentine’s Day draws nigh. Have you made your dinner reservations yet? Best get the eff on that. You’ve got like, three hours before every restaurant from the French Laundry to Applebee’s is booked up.
I remember the day I really, truly committed myself to my relationship with my husband. It wasn’t the day I said, “I do.” It was the day I gave him my email password. Now, I happen to be a uniquely uninteresting person, so I knew I had nothing compromising or incriminating in my inbox, but it was still a sweaty, heart-pounding moment of realness and vulnerability. Interestingly, a new Pew study released Tuesday reveals that 67% of Internet users in a marriage or committed relationship have shared the password to one or more of their online accounts with their spouse or partner.
The Pew study looks specifically at the impact of technology on relationships and finds that technology is playing an increasingly larger role in couples’ lives. Currently, 27% of Internet users in committed relationships say that the Internet has had some kind of impact on their relationship, with 10% saying it has had a major impact. Of those who say the Internet has had an impact, 74% say it has been positive while 20% say it has been negative.
As you might expect, younger users are more likely to report that technology has had an impact on their relationships. Fully 41% of users ages 18-29 say that they’ve felt closer to their partner because of online or text message conversations, compared to 21% of all users. And a whopping 23% of younger users admit to having resolved an argument using digital tools that they were having trouble resolving in person. That’s compared to 9% of all users.
But with the good comes the bad. Some 42% of younger Internet users say their partner has been distracted by his or her phone while they were together (compared to 25% of all users), and 18% have argued with a partner over the amount of time spent online (compared to 8% of all online couples).
And we all know those weirdos who share accounts like Facebook profiles and such. I knew one couple that did the shared Facebook profile thing, which got really irritating really fast when they would send me a message and I didn’t know which one of them I was talking to. While 67% of Internet users in relationships have shared their passwords with their significant other, a full 27% actually share an email account. Okay. Not too crazy. I’ve seen that before. But holy shit, 11% share a social media profile? What?!
It will be interesting to see the co-evolution of technology and relationships as younger users who have grown up with the Internet, social media, and sexting find themselves in committed relationships. Remember the movie You’ve Got Mail? When the idea of dating someone you met online was still considered weird and risky? A Pew study released in November found that while the number of marriages and committed relationships that started through an online service remain marginally few, they seem to be growing. Currently, just 5% of those in marraiges or committed relationships say they met their partner online, but among those who have been together for ten years or less, that number more than doubles to 11%. Meanwhile, a full 38% of those who are single and looking have used an online dating site or mobile dating app.
Image source: romancemuse.com