Although honesty is the basis of a lasting relationship, there are just some things that are hard to admit and better left unsaid.
It is said that being honest about everything with your partner can make relationships better and last longer. Whoever said that must be hiding a whole graveyard of skeletons in their closet.
Why do we keep secrets from our significant other?
Saying, “If a person really loved you, they’d accept you for the things you did” is not that reassuring. We want to be loved the way we are right now, not because of our past and the things we’ve done. The secrets we keep are those that we think could damage our relationships or leave us open to judgment that we aren’t prepared for.
Our insecurities and beliefs keep us from revealing some of the things that we’re ashamed of. Knowing that most people don’t react well to some secrets can make us think twice about telling people about it.
Sometimes, we hear people react negatively to other people’s circumstances. If we are experiencing the same things, our observations tell us that revealing the same secrets can make us vulnerable to that type of judgment as well.
Can a secret stay secret?
Most secrets don’t stay secret for very long, especially if someone else knows about it. The problem occurs when those secrets get out, and the person on the receiving end hasn’t had time to process said information.
It’s true that you need to be open about everything in order to move forward in your relationships, but some people need more time to process the information that they want to reveal. Apart from that, your partner needs to be ready to accept the things that you want to reveal to them. You can’t just tell someone about your mental disorder on the first date. [Read: 8 taboo topics you need to avoid in a new relationship]
You need to get to know your partner better and see if they are the type of person who won’t judge you for the things that you have no control over. You can’t control how they will react, but you can at least build enough trust to be comfortable about telling them your secrets… eventually.
What are the secrets we keep?
Some secrets are trivial and can be revealed in due time. Some, however, are more serious and requires a significant amount of trust between two people before they can be divulged. The list below contains some of the most common secrets we keep. Some of them are very important in keeping your relationship stable, while others are just little things that we want to keep to ourselves.
#1 The number of people you’ve slept with. Women are known to shave a few points off of that number, while men are more likely to add to it. As much as we’d like to admit it to our partners, it’s still a touchy subject that can make or break a relationship.
#2 Psychological disorders. When people jokingly say you’re crazy, all you can do is smile and sip on your cup of coffee. Although this is something that should be discussed early on in the relationship, the stigma on having a diagnosed mental disorder still keeps people from admitting the truth. [Read: Why we need to break down the stigma of mental illness]
#3 Past relationships with their friends. The girl code and guy code doesn’t apply if we really, really like the person. It should, but it won’t, so most people just work very hard to deny, lie, and cover up these past trysts.
#4 Gross habits we can’t stop doing. Oh, you know what those are. Picking on an ingrown hair, squeezing a blackhead, drinking out of the milk carton – the list goes on. But it’s so hard to stop!
#5 Our real insecurities. Appearances and career accomplishments are the usual suspects when it comes to insecurities, but some can go deeper, like questioning one’s self-worth or their ability to keep a relationship.
#14 When we want to get married. Honestly, any date that’s available in June is good for most of us women. For the men, it’s more of a question of if they want to marry.
#15 What we look like when we sleep. Those itchy, lacy thingies that women wear every night? Just bought it this morning. This spotless face beside yours? It’s usually slathered with gunk, serums, cream, and a cherry on top.
#16 Our blocked contacts list. If they ever saw it, there would be so many questions! So many questions that we don’t have half the answers to.
#17 What we looked like in high school. No matter how good we looked, it was still in high school. It’s like your mom showing you how hot she looked wearing hot pink leg warmers and shoulder pads in her sweaters.
#18 What we were like in high school. What we looked like doesn’t matter as much as who we were. If we were mean, that info’s going in the vault. If we were losers, that info’s going in there, too.
#20 Credit reports. When your partner realizes that they’re dating a shopaholic or someone on the IRS watchlist, that June wedding probably won’t materialize anytime soon.
#21 How much our clothes and shoes cost. Children are starving in Africa. Our clothes can’t help them, but neither can the fact that we spent a crapload of money on them in the first place. Your significant other might not approve.
#22 How we really eat. The issue of not eating what we want in public is so passé. The new thing is hiding how much you put in your mouth, if you chew with your mouth open, or if you even use utensils at all.
#23 College years. We can’t remember anything that happened before graduation day. Promise!
#24 That one DUI. Someday, you’ll admit this, but only if the shit hits the fan.
#25 The really serious stuff. Abortions, abusive ex-partners, traumatic experiences, etc. What matters is that some people need time to resolve themselves to opening up about these things with their partner in the present. [Read: Should you ever confess to cheating on your partner?]
No matter what your secret is, just know that you should always be honest with yourself. Keeping things to yourself is okay, only if it’s not going to bite you in the ass one day. The secret that you’re keeping shouldn’t cause anyone harm, as well.
An example would be keeping an abusive relationship with your family from your significant other. A secret like getting your upper lips waxed is no big deal. But if you’re harboring a secret that could possibly affect your relationship, you should think twice about hiding it or discussing it honestly with your partner.
Secrets exist because being honest with someone means that you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position. Once you’re ready to open up to someone, those secrets will start to become shared secrets – which is so much better because someone else is helping you carry the weight of it all.
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Those who can’t do, teach. I can neither do nor teach as well as others, but I can try. Aside from being a writer, I am also a physical therapist. My dream is...