Should You Ever Keep Secrets From Your Partner?


All relationships should be built on a foundation of trust and mutual respect, but romantic relationships, in particular, can be complex and fraught when it comes to the matter of privacy and secrecy.

For a start, some people have difficulty in differentiating between these two things!

Privacy vs. Secrecy: Is it Ok to Keep Your Secrets in a Relationship?

So, what is privacy in a relationship as opposed to secrecy? Well, privacy, generally speaking, relates to matters that concern you only, for example your past, or matters which perhaps concern your close family and friends. If your family members or friends confide in you and ask you to keep it between you two, you have every right to do so… as long as it does not concern your relationship or partner, and as long as it’s not damaging your relationship.

Any reasonable person will understand if you simple say,
“Sorry, X asked me to keep it between us, but don’t worry it doesn’t concern us/you, it’s a family/relationship/medical thing.”

If they don’t this is a lack of trust and respect.

Secrecy, in contrast, is when you hide things that do involve your partner or relationship because you don’t wish to deal with their reaction, or because you know they would not approve. Privacy is a personal right, secrecy is damaging and negative.

So, yes, it can be ok to keep secrets in your relationship – as long as they’re not your secrets.

Is it Ok to Keep Some Secrets in a Relationship?

Well, there are always exceptions to the rule!

There are some things you should keep to yourself to avoid causing unnecessary damage to your relationship. For example, if you dislike your partners family it would be best to keep that to yourself and be civil because if you don’t they will feel that they have been put in the middle and must mediate, or else take a side!

Likewise, if your family doesn’t like your partner you (and they) should keep this quiet. Try to smooth the relationship and sooth your families worries, whatever they may be, to avoid a rift forming!

Furthermore, if you have a crush on one of your friends, or if your friend has a crush on your partner, you shouldn’t make it known.

Little crushes are natural, they come and go, and as long as it hasn’t become a real issue (i.e. as long as you still love and cherish your other half) you should let it run its course.

The Effect of Hiding Things in a Relationship

So, what are the effects of hiding things in a relationship?

Well, they’re many and varied, and, in some cases, the effects can vary depending upon what it is you hide from your partner and what kind of person you partner is. After all, different people have different ‘cut off’ points.

There is one effect which is guaranteed, however, whether you’re hiding debt or a suspect office flirtation you are going to lose your partners trust if and when they find out. Loss of trust is not only a bad thing, obviously, but it could be a fatal thing for your relationship depending on your partner’s views and past experiences.

Secondly, lying and keeping secrets can lead to insecurity and instability whether or not your partner finds out! After all, have you never had that feeling that something is not quite right? Your partner has those feelings too, and if you’re hiding things consistently this will begin to degrade your partners feelings of security and stability.

How to Decide Which Secrets to Keep

So, with some secrets better in than out, and some far better not being secret at all, how do you decide which is which? Well, you should ask yourself a few questions;

1) Why do I want to keep this a secret?
2) Will keeping it a secret benefit me or my partner?
3) Is this going to require constant upkeep?

The last question may seem suspect, but it’s as valid as the others. For example, if a stranger at a party says something nasty about your spouse and you’re never going to see that person again, it might be better to just not say anything to your partner. After all, why hurt their feelings because of someone who has no bearing on your lives at all?

If, however, someone that your partner thinks is a friend is being nasty about them, or if someone makes a move on you, you should probably tell them; these kinds of incidents have a way of circling back to bite you (even if you’re innocent).

In truth, when thinking of keeping quiet about something you should really only be doing it for the benefit of your partner (and we mean a real benefit, not an ‘I didn’t want to hurt them’ cheating scenario).

Only you can make this choice, of course, so take all of this under advisement and make a choice that suits you!

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