Social Media Has Helped Rewrite the Rules of a Relationship

New study lifts the lid on the modern relationship: Brits would rather let people have a key to their home than access to their social media account…

New research from Direct Line Home Insurance reveals the remarkable timeline of modern relationships, where people would rather someone had the key to their home than access to their social media accounts.

Research conducted by Opinium amongst 2,005 UK adults between 9 and 13 June 2017 tells us that adults across the UK give their partner a key to their home at seven months, but wait another month before they would let them access their social media accounts.  The study into modern love in Britain highlights the timeline of new relationships and the impact of social media on couples.

Up to three months

Those in a relationship hedge their bets at the beginning by waiting six weeks before deleting their online dating profiles. Interestingly, one in twenty (five per cent) would never delete their accounts! The next stage is meeting friends, where on average people wait nine weeks before introducing to their partner. Social media has forced a whole new etiquette when it comes to dating. People wait until they have introduced their new partner to their parents before posting pictures of them online or updating their status to ‘in a relationship’.

Four months

After meeting the parents and changing the Facebook status comes giving partners access to the building, including them in online profile pictures and Instagramming a romantic picture of them, all of which happen four months into a relationship. Men are more trusting of new partners than women, with 20 per cent of males willing to hand out keys within three months of starting a relationship, compared to just eight per cent of females.

Five months

Five months in sees partners sharing their online food shopping, adding their partner’s family to social media platforms and giving them access to online streaming accounts. One in eight (13 per cent), however, admit they would never share access to streaming platforms, preferring to keep their entertainment choices private.

Six months

It takes the average Brit six months before they will give their partner control in the home, allowing them to manage home devices. At this stage they will also add their partner’s family to WhatsApp groups. It takes six months before the average Brit will let their partner shop for them, picking out clothes for them to wear.

Seven months

At seven months Brits take the big step of giving their partners the key to their home, which is before they would allow their partner access to their social media accounts (eight months) or email accounts (nine months).

A third (32 per cent) of Brits would never let their partner access their social media accounts, highlighting how private we like to keep access to our public online profile.    For people who were unwilling to share parts of their digital life, over a quarter (27 per cent) said they didn’t want their partner to access their personal information, while a quarter (23 per cent) said that they don’t want to go through the trouble of locking their partner out of their profiles if the relationship ended.

Jenny Trueman, head of connected homes and product innovation at Direct Line, commented: “People are more secretive with their online lives, hiding access from their partner, than they are with their homes. Modern love has established a new set of rules, with people avoiding posting pictures of a new partner online before they have introduced them to their parents. From access to online streaming services, house controls and online calendars, relationship etiquette have become far more complicated.”

Give it a year…

In terms of arguably more significant commitments, those who choose to open joint bank accounts with their partners wait an average of 20 months into their relationship. However, one in five (21 per cent) claim they would never share a bank account with a significant other. Women are more likely to say that they want to keep their finances private than men (40 per cent vs. 35 per cent).

People would name their partner as a driver on their car insurance after just over a year (53 weeks). Before that, they become each other’s emergency contact after 47 weeks and add their significant others to their wills after 27 months.

Jenny Trueman continued: “In the unfortunate event of your relationship ending it is important that you regain control over your personal information and claim back keys. Make sure your personal information stays safe and that only the relevant people have access to and control of your smart home and devices. In terms of insurance policies, we urge customers to add important possessions to their home insurance if they are living with a significant other and to add anyone who drives their car as a named driver on their policy.”

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break. With a background in PR working in Los Angeles and Barcelona, Charlotte has been working hard running Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden for the past 4 years. Dried mangos, Starbucks and runs through Hyde Park get this Londoner through the day.

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