Anyone who has ever been close to me will tell you one thing: I hate secrets. Communication is a huge deal for me in any kind of relationship. Even though I grew up being told to keep secrets from people, as a way to protect myself, experience has made me understand that sharing thoughts, feelings, deepest fears, dreams and struggles is key to building an open, honest and healthy relationship.
Of course, not everyone feels completely comfortable engaging in self-disclosure… even when it comes to the people they are closest to, or are even intimate with. There is always the strong need to protect one’s interests, avoid confrontation, conflict or manipulation, and of course, the fear of losing the person completely.
Then again, there are secrets…and then there are secrets. For instance, not telling your girlfriend that you still stalk your ex or even stalk their own ex on social media, or not admitting to how much time you waste doing random, unfruitful things like playing online games, window shopping or even picking your eyes or nose, may not necessarily count as major secrets. No one will necessarily give you the side eye if you keep any of these little secrets from your partner as they are more like innocent little blips and do not directly affect the other party.
However, withholding information that directly affects or concerns the other individual or omitting any information that reveals the core of your identity, thus keeping your partner from having a complete picture of you (flaws and all) definitely constitutes as keeping a secret.
Some of these secrets are usually linked to unpleasant topics such as money troubles/finances, job situation, fidelity or issues related to past or present mistakes.
Keeping secrets certainly indicates a lack of certain elements including trust, authenticity, and real intimacy.
However, it appears secrets could also help breed these same elements. I recently hung out with some colleagues, and during our discussions, the topic of keeping secrets in a relationship came up.
One of the guys raised a point that early in a relationship, it can be difficult to know just how much to reveal to the other person and so secrets become necessary to protect the growth of that relationship. He confessed that he had recently been introduced to a girl with whom he had been started dating for just about 1 month. He explained that on their last date, she had asked him how he raised the money to start his business. And rather than telling her it was savings he made from the time he was a yahoo boy, he told her he got financial support from his friends and family.
According to him, he was protecting the relationship as it was still at its blueprint stage and he was not yet comfortable disclosing the sins of his past.
Again, he wanted her to get to know him and fall in love with him for who he really is before sharing all that information with her. His submission was that just as no parent tells a child the whole truth, people in relationships should accept the ongoing need to edit their full reality to ensure trust and intimacy are forged. His situation also suggested that until you reach a certain comfort level, whereby you are both in it for the long haul, you are probably better off keeping a few things under wraps.
Sometimes when we meet someone new, we get drawn into the fantasy world where we believe that we have found “the one” and so we do all we can to build a foundation of trust. We forget the fact that relationships, especially nowadays, are volatile at best, and we turn our personal life into an open book, killing our relationships before it even gets the chance to thrive.
Surely, keeping certain dark secrets and revealing them in small doses and at appropriate times in relationships may be in everyone’s best interest. Chances are that you are not even the only one keeping a secret or two. You may be shocked later on, when you find out what your partner is keeping also under wraps.
Do you agree or not?