You share desserts. You share smiles and laughter, good times and bad. You've even shared a toothbrush, in a pinch.
But would you share the password to your email account? What about sharing an online calendar, or a social media profile?
For a growing number of couples, digital technology is a dominant feature of their relationship, and — for better or worse — how partners use email, social media and other communication tools says a lot about their relationship.
Among people in a committed relationship who use the Internet, two-thirds have shared the password to one of their accounts — email, Twitter, Facebook or an online calendar, according to a new report from Pew Research.
"Sharing passwords is [a] vehicle for establishing trust," said Jane Greer, a family therapist and author of "What About Me? Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship."
But though there are benefits to sharing online media, there's also a real risk of oversharing — especially in the early days of a relationship.
"A lot of times the context and emotion of what you're saying gets edited out," Greer told Live Science. A sincere compliment, she explained, could be misinterpreted as offensive, or a question could come across as a demand.
No relationship is problem-free, of course, and digital communication can be a sore spot among some couples. The Pew study found that among couples who were partnered 10 years or less, 36 percent were troubled by the fact that their partner was too distracted by their cellphone when they were together.
To avoid these rough patches, Greer recommends setting some early ground rules about how often and to what degree digital communication will influence the relationship and the plans couples make together.
"Before you start using it, have your own 'Morse code,'" Greer advises. "Be clear before you start planning, scheduling and posting online."
— Marc Lallanilla, Live Science
This is a condensed version of a report from Live Science. Read the full story.
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