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Do you resolve relationship dilemmas over text?

Can you say overshare?

According to new figures from the Pew Research Center, 27 per cent of couples share an e-mail account, 11 per cent have a joint profile on Facebook, Twitter or other social media platform and 67 per cent have shared a password to one or more of their online accounts.

What kind of couple shares a Facebook account? According to Pew, retirees and those who've been together a long time, which feels more endearing somehow than newlyweds Chad and Kimberly, who'd like you to experience their love on a joint digital platform.

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Those who share one tool often share another and tend to have been married more than 10 years.The likelihood of sharing an e-mail account rises steadily with age: Retirees, white people and those who with household incomes of more than $50,000 (U.S.) are most prone to doing joint e-mail.

"Those who were already together as a couple at the advent of a new platform or technology were a bit more likely to jump on together, as a unit, while those who begin relationships with their own existing accounts and profiles tend to continue to use them separately as individuals," according to Pew.

As for sharing online passwords, which two-thirds of couples report doing, this behaviour did not vary by age, but was more common among higher earners.

The digital sharing also extended to online calendars, presumably for the division of chores and child care: 16 per cent of 25- to 34-year-olds revealed a joint calendar, the most of any demographic surveyed. "Sharing of online calendars tends to be most prevalent among couples in their logistics-intensive middle-age period (i.e. mid-20s through mid-40s)," according to Pew.

The findings revealed online coziness but distance in person: 25 per cent of couples surveyed said they text each other while they are home together. Nine per cent have resolved arguments through texts or online, arguments they could not manage to solve face-to-face. That number climbed to 23 per cent among the younger cohort.

Pew conducted telephone interviews with 2,252 adults age 18 and older last spring; these people were married, living together or in non-co-habitational, committed romantic relationships. The survey examines how couples use technology to manage their "digital and offline lives" and how they feel tech has "enhanced or detracted from a sense of intimacy and connection."

From Pew: "Couples use technology in the little and large moments. They negotiate over when to use it and when to abstain. A portion of them quarrel over its use and have had hurtful experiences caused by tech use. At the same time, some couples find that digital tools facilitate communication and support."

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Which couples did tech affect most? Parents living in cities, according to Pew. Some 74 per cent of respondents said the Internet has a positive impact on their relationships. Ten per cent more felt this positive back in 2005, the first time Pew posed the question. Twenty per cent said tech's impact on their intimate lives was "mostly negative," that figure rising 7 per cent since 2005.

Some 25 per cent of all those surveyed complained that a partner was preoccupied with a cellphone during their time together. Among those age 18 to 29, the percentage of partners disgruntled this way skyrocketed to 42 per cent.

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Zosia More


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