In the early stages of any romantic relationship, it’s normal—and with good reason too—for either party to be wary and protective of their personal information.
This can range from sharing your mobile phone access code, to social media and entertainment accounts, and more.
But as the relationship progresses and hopefully, flourishes, when is the right time for them to share more? And how much sharing is considered as too much?
To find out, we asked a few young couples about how much they currently share with each other, and the different levels of commitment each stage entails.
Light And Easy: Sharing Entertainment
When it comes to online entertainment subscriptions (eg. Netflix, iflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime), it makes sense to share an account since it’s cost-effective.
It’s divide and conquer for Sarah and Alwin, who’ve been married for 3 years and dated for 8 years. They don’t know the passwords for each other’s accounts but share the usage of the platforms. Alwin subscribes and pays for Amazon Prime and Spotify, Sarah subscribes to Netflix.
“It’s our own way to contribute to the relationship—a relationship is about sharing and individually both playing our roles in both small and big things. So this may seem insignificant to some, but because we’re both contributing to something that makes us happy, and it’s also an activity we can enjoy together.”
Couple Tip 1: You don’t even need to be dating to share an entertainment account, but having one allows you to have a fun activity and topic of conversation. Just don’t use that shared password for any other accounts!
A New Level Of Trust: Social Media, Phone Access & Salary Info
After a minimum 1 year dating period, most of the couples agree that sharing each other’s phone access was a natural process. It didn’t feel forced because it all came down to convenience and safety.
“When my husband is driving and someone texts him, he would ask me for help to read/reply if it’s urgent,” Amira shared.
But sharing access to a phone actually requires a lot of trust because for many of us, phones are a digital gateway to many aspects of our personal lives. There’s photos, notes, to-dos, our calendars, phone calls, messages, social media, and even emails.
Sarra, however, doesn’t mind sharing her social media password with Philip as long as he knows his own boundaries, especially to not access it without her permission.
“I believe we need at least one person to know our social media passwords in case anything happens to us,” she added. “That person then can deactivate the account for us,” she added.
Couple Tip 2: Not everyone is comfortable with letting someone else into their digital lives, so this is not a step you should rush. Don’t exchange your security and privacy just for convenience, and remember that with phone access, there is a lot that someone can do if they have bad intentions.
Building A Future Together: Phone Plans, Financial Planning & Joint Bank Accounts
With connectivity becoming more affordable and accessible, even supplementary shared plans from Malaysian telcos are evolving to help people manage better—be it sharing data or even better savings on smartphones.
That being said, most of the couples currently don’t have a shared plan.
“Alwin did some research about it, whether it would save more cost but after that, it just never came up in conversation,” Sarah said. “My hypothesis is that we just rather manage our own phone and Internet usage, respectively.”
“But I wouldn’t say no to the possibility of having a shared plan in the future, I mean, whatever that helps us to save cost, right?”
When it comes to financial planning, Bing Han shared that he and Yee Cheng started about a year before their wedding.
“We both started saving very deliberately, mainly for the wedding, a house, and also for family planning,” he said.
All the married couples that we talked to (Sarah & Alwin, Bing Han & Yee Cheng, and Amira & Saif) now have joint bank accounts.
It is easier for them to manage their finances and monitor their family expenses. At the same time, they don’t have to worry about getting overdrafts.
Amira said that being sincere and building trust with Saif was initially challenging for her.
“When we first started to have joint bank accounts, I was also worried about whether one of us will be calculative about it later on.”
She wisely added, “But what’s the point of getting married if you don’t trust each other and be sincere in every aspect?”
Couple Tip 3: Sharing personal bank account passwords is not advisable, so a joint bank account is a much better option. Be very vigilant when it comes to your financial affairs, as a bad credit score for instance could have a large effect on your future. There are also advantages to sharing certain things like phone lines, if there are more affordable options.
In the end, there is no right or wrong time to start sharing something, as long as both parties are comfortable with the level of intimacy.
Based on the responses, we’ve put together a little questionnaire for you and your partner to reflect if you’re ready for a deeper level of sharing in your relationship.
While answering these questions, if you and your partner agree that there is assured confidence and trust with each other, then your healthy relationship has earned the merit to advance to a more intimate level of sharing!
However, even if you’re not “there” yet, don’t immediately panic and worry about your relationship status. Sometimes you can just test the waters by starting with the little things—and the practical things too—and work your way up.
Sharing an entertainment account, for example, requires limited resources, isn’t too invasive, and saves you money.
Another example would be sharing a phone line, which is also less invasive than sharing social media passwords. Maxis’ new MaxisONE Share only costs RM48/month for each line (excluding the Principal Line subscription). That’s generally cheaper than getting separate principal lines.
While you’re at it, you can also get a phone as the MaxisONE Share is the only supplementary plan that allows you to get a smartphone with zero upfront payment!
With unlimited calls and SMS, additional 20GB of monthly data per line (excluding data from Principal Line), perhaps it is time we look into upgrading how much we share with each other.
- Get more information about Maxis’ latest shared plan, the MaxisONE Share, here.
MaxisONE Share is a deal that couples—married or unmarried—can explore to save money, get a new device for each line, and even get rewards like free roaming when you travel together.
This article is written in collaboration with Maxis.