Trust is an important bedrock for any relationship, but this isn’t trust. This is mutually assured trust destruction. Intimacy comes from sharing select private information with people, not giving them keys to your privacy kingdom.
When you share your password with someone, you open yourself up to the obvious downsides suggested by the Times. But you’re not just violating your own privacy, you’re violating that of everyone you correspond with. People send an email to your account assuming you’re the only one who will see it. They realize there’s a risk you might share the news with significant others, friends, family, or a random stranger on the bus, butthere’s a reasonable assumption that you don’t have someone else reading your email.
I speak from experience. I was in a relationship a few years back where my then-boyfriend and I knew one another’s email passwords. It happened almost by accident. We shared a computer at home and if the other person was using the computer, we would ask them to sign in and check our email for anything new. This was in my PS (pre-smartphone) era.
It wasn’t healthy. Curiosity is a devastating emotion when you have access to a significant other’s account. When times turned bad, I found myself addicted to seeing how he was describing our crumbling relationship to others. I eventually had to ask him to change his password — which he initially refused to do, seeing it as a nail in the coffin of the relationship — but I insisted, because I couldn’t stop myself from looking.