5 Secrets You Should Never Keep in a Relationship
Are you hiding a big secret from your partner? If so, it’s probably burning a hole through your soul and causing extreme guilt and anxiety.
You may be holding on to your secret because you’re afraid your partner will break up with you or you’re concerned about hurting your love’s feelings. However, your attempts to strengthen your relationship and keep the peace will likely backfire if your secret is discovered before you have a chance to discuss it.
Researchers in a study about secrets in romantic relationships found roughly 60% of respondents admitted to keeping some kind of secret from their partner and about a fourth were keeping a secret during the time of the study.
Why do we keep secrets? The researchers found some of the top reasons for keeping relationship secrets is to avoid damaging the relationship, disapproval, or shame. Even if you have good intentions, your secret will likely come to light. You’re better off unloading this burden and sharing with your partner. Here are some secrets you should never keep from your significant other.
1. You’re in financial trouble
Sure, debt is a part of life, but if you are at a point where most of your credit cards are at or near the limit and you are in so much debt you’re considering bankruptcy, it would be in your best interest to disclose this. This is especially important if you are engaged or talking about getting married. If you decide to purchase a home together, your financial secret will eventually be uncovered. Most couples in a recent survey said financial infidelity is a deal breaker. Roughly 70% of married respondents would think about breaking up over a secret debt.
2. You have a criminal history
If you’ve found yourself on the wrong side of the law, you may be tempted to hide this little tidbit. However, if you’re in a serious relationship, you should come clean about your criminal past. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, your partner may want to know the circumstances so an informed decision can be made. Furthermore, if your partner happens to uncover this information before you say anything, it will erode the trust you’ve built.
“Keeping secrets indicate that there is a lack of trust, authenticity, and real intimacy in the relationship. When you feel compelled to hide certain behaviors, choices, and situations from your partner, it reflects your lack of freedom to be who you truly are, weaknesses and all,” said therapist Julie Orlov.
3. You have a significant physical or mental illness
If you have a significant mental or physical illness, you need to mention this as soon as possible (especially if you have a sexually transmitted infection). This kind of information should never be kept a secret, regardless of the stage of your relationship. Furthermore, if you have HIV, in some states you are legally required to disclose your status to certain people.
4. You have an addiction
If you are struggling with an addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, or something else along those lines, let your partner know. You may be pleasantly surprised and find that he or she will stand by you and support you through your recovery. You’ll never know unless you open up and explain what you’re experiencing.
“The chances are that you’re not the only one in your relationship who’s got a secret or two (or more). You may be surprised to find out not only what your partner is keeping under wraps, but that your most feared outcomes of letting your own cat out of the bag never materialize,” said psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne.
5. You have a child
You’ll want to mention whether you have any children; the sooner the better. Children from a previous union could be a deal breaker for your partner, so it’s important to lay this out on the table before you proceed and put any more of your heart into the relationship. You’ll save both of yourselves unnecessary heartache.