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Secrets in a Relationship: The Do’s and Dont’s

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Julie Zantopoulos

When not acting as Vice President and Senior Editor at The Indie Chicks, Jewels is a writer at heart and most likely writing for her own website According to Jewels or working on her first novel.In her free time she loves heading to concerts, taking road trips, reading, and doing anything crafty. Don't hesitate to reach out...she loves chatting with our readers.

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Keeping secrets can be the downfall of a relationship, but that isn’t to say that sometimes secrets aren’t a good thing. Sometimes you learn something that sends up red flags and tell you it’s time to cut and run; other times it helps you get to know and love them better. Everyone handles learning new information in different ways. There will always be secrets in relationships, but which are good and which are harmful?

So, when is the right time to keep your secrets? Which ones should you divulge, and when? Here are my tips to avoid secrets in relationships being the end of your relationship.

Keeping Secrets Do’s

Do keep it a secret that you think his brother is hot, his Mom is overbearing, and you slept with his boss back in your intern days? Do keep to yourself your chronic bedwetting until you were 11 and your affinity for eating glue when in grades K-2? Those things are fine to keep to yourself; trust me. Why? Because they are either harmful, irrelevant, or far in your past.

Keeping a little bit of mystery is a good thing and sharing information about yourself in stages instead of puking up your entire life story on the first date is much preferred.

When it comes to wanting to know all about your man, ask yourself if knowing all of his secrets is truly what you want? Do you want to know every single detail about his past relationships, crazy college escapades, and awkward teenage years? Chances are you don’t. Being jealous and demanding these details isn’t going to help you any. Who he is now says much more about him than who he was in the past.

Shortly after college, I started casually “seeing” a guy that I’d crushed on for a long time. I was happy, I assumed he was seeing other people, but I was all right with it as long as it wasn’t in my face. Then I got curious. I asked him one night if he was seeing other people and he took that as an open door to share all the wild nights he was having with other women. I couldn’t look at him the same after that and had to cut things off. Sometimes, it’s really better not to know.

Keeping Secrets Don’ts

Don’t keep the fact that your “little sister” is really the daughter you had at 14. Don’t hide the fact that you don’t want children, have a serious illness, or are a closet speed freak. Those are things your partner should really know about.

I was dating a guy for nearly two years when we were looking for something to do one night and he suggested we go to “his bar”. Now, he’d spoken of going to this bar with friends for “guy time” before, so I didn’t think much of it. Warning bells went off when we entered the first door and were deposited into a small room with cameras pointed at us and a door in front of us with the speak easy sliding window at eye level. I looked at him and he whispered, “Just smile and act normal.” What in the absolute fuck does that mean? I smiled at the camera and the slot opened, he showed his ID and gave his name. A list must have been checked on the other side and we were allowed entrance.

I tried to ask him what the hell was up with the entrance but was quickly told to hush and not ask questions. He seemed to know everyone there, and they were friendly enough to me. It wasn’t until we had left that he allowed me to ask about what that place had been. Apparently my boyfriend belonged to a segregated bar that was against the mixing of races. Say what? I lost my shit. I mean, lost it. How the hell could he belong to a group like that and never tell me? He had plenty of friends in different races so why belong somewhere like that? He had no good answer. I didn’t stay with him much longer.

For the big things, it’s better to share up front than find out later down the line. Once you fall for somebody, there are certain facts you can overlook. You can overlook that he went to 10 Backstreet Boys concerts after you fall in love with him. However, when it comes to larger moral issues and life choices, it’s a huge betrayal to hide those parts of yourself. Be smart. If it’s a big deal to you, then it is going to be a big deal for them as well. Don’t hide what makes you, you.

I don’t believe for a second that there aren’t any secrets in your relationship. It may be as harmless as “Your favorite shirt, yes the one from college that you love, yeah I hate it!” but you have them. The examples I gave are pretty glaring but there is a line that you need to determine, personally, between what you can keep a secret and what needs to be shared. Where does your line lie? Do you tell him you had a sex dream about his best friend? How about if his sister told you that she slept with his friend but begged you not to tell him? Those are some on the fence decisions you’re going to have to make sooner or later.

Communication is key. If you think it’s something that they would be hurt to find out down the road maybe it’s best to tell them now. After all, secrets have a way of coming to light eventually.

Do you keep little secrets or lay it all out there? 

#ICtweetable takeaway:

Don’t hide the fact that you don’t want children or are a closet speed freak. Those are things your partner should know about. 

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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  • http://theindiechicks.com/ Chiara Mazzucco

    “Don’t keep the fact that your “little sister” is really the daughter you had at 14.” Bahaha Like on that show, Deception!

    I used to want to know everything and really ‘dig’ into it with my past boyfriends.. it took like 4 or 5 boyfriends for me to learn that digging that deep never works out. And you’re so right about just not seeing them the same.

    I did my share of digging with Jason but I knew when to stop and eventually, I just stopped looking back and it was all about looking forward.

    • Jewels

      I think that’s the key…stop looking back and build the future instead. You learn the hard way that knowing it ALL is NOT what you really want.

      I’ve never seen Deception but I love that that was a story line haha.

  • Rene

    Interesting read! I agree that there are things that need to be kept secret in the beginning of a relationship. No one wants to get scared silly with a girl they just met.
    A lot of times when I’m digging for information from my fiancé, I’m trying to find out if things I did in the past were normal, haha. We have had many a good laugh at our past relationships and childhoods. I’m a person who likes to know everything about people, and I don’t often judge when unsavory details come up (as long as they haven’t committed heinous crimes, of course). I’d rather know though, instead of wake up one morning wondering what kind of person I started a life with and vice versa.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jewels

      I haven’t gotten to a point where I’ve contemplated waking up to a person every morning for the rest of my life so I suppose you have me beat there. In the end the man I had fallen in love with would have been a collection of the things his past created and that can’t be a bad thing. I’m happy to leave some of that in the past and not dig much more than is offered, but that’s just me.

      I agree sometimes when I ask about the past it IS to make sure mine isn’t as bad as it might seem in my head (haha).

  • Blissification

    Whoa, Jewels! I wasn’t expecting that twist. Fantastic piece, as usual. After I read this, I asked Keith if he had any secrets, and like me, we’ve put everything on the table. It’s so refreshing after hiding myself from everyone else I’ve dated. I always created versions of myself and kept lots of secrets.

    You reminded me to be grateful for being open this time around. Love your life!

    • Jewels

      I love that you are living secret free with Keith. You guys are adorable. :) Believe me when I say that I wasn’t expecting that twist either! It’s much better to know those things up front but I still believe that not EVERYTHING needs to be revealed. Love your life too, mama.

  • http://genmcord.tumblr.com/ Genevieve Cordery

    I don’t like secrets. I hate them, but I have them. I don’t keep them in my relationship though. After years of pretending to be someone I’m not to make friends and finally get “that guy” to like me, I realized that I want people to like me, or love me, for who I am. Over 4 years ago, when I started dating my boyfriend (who I am still currently with,) I laid all my secrets on the line. He didn’t judge me for what happened when I was 15, he accepted me and gained a new respect for me.

    But yes, if you think his best friend is good looking, (even if you don’t have feelings for the best friend,) it’s best to not say anything. LOL

    • http://theindiechicks.com/ Julie Zantopoulos

      lol there’s always a line that you gotta walk and you just have to make the decision that is best for you at the time. Good for you for coming clean with him though!! Looks like you have a winner if he loves you with all your secrets. :)