Everyone is entitled to their fair share of secrets. Maybe you don't want to tell anyone about your gross little habits, or that weird thing you once did in college, and that's OK. But when it comes to your relationship, you kinda have to open up. While there's no need to tell your SO everything, there are definitely some secrets you shouldn't keep from your partner.
Sharing your life with someone means being honest, especially regarding anything that can affect the health of your relationship. Do you struggle with a mental illness, have trust issues, or a history of STDs? These are the things you want to share — even if it feels scary. Once you air all your "dirty" laundry, your partner can start getting to know the real you and trust can be built.
Which, of course, is the opposite of what will happen if you lie and make a habit of keeping secrets. As licensed marriage and family therapist Erika Boissiere says, "When we discover something about our partner that we didn’t know and it has a direct impact on the relationship, we begin to wonder, 'What else are they hiding?' and more importantly, 'What could they hide from me in the future?'" This can take a huge toll on your relationship, and may even send the whole thing up in smoke. Read on for some more secrets that can cause problems in your relationship.
1. Your Sneaky Emotional Affair
While it's obviously OK to have close friendships, take note of any that seem to be overstepping the bounds of your relationship. Allowing people into your life — perhaps in the form of an emotional affair — can cause a lot of pain. But, as Boissiere tells me, keeping it a secret can be even worse. Not only does it prevent you from discussing any underlying issues at hand, but the secret can and will fracture that all-important trust.
2. Your History Of Mental Illness
With the stigma surrounding mental illness, you might find it difficult to talk to your partner about any issues you have. But it's still important to do so. "The longer you wait to reveal this, the more you are preventing your partner from knowing the real you and building a relationship full of insecurity and worry that they will find out," relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad tells Bustle. So go ahead and say it. Get it off your chest. I promise a good partner will stick around.
3. Your History Of Cheating
OK, so obviously you want to avoid cheating in the first place. But if you've had an affair, keeping it a secret can eat away at the relationship in an equally unhealthy way. "While this is probably the last thing you would want to disclose to your partner, partners who have been cheated on often express that the secrecy and lying about the infidelity was almost as damaging as the infidelity itself," says licensed marriage and family therapist Christene Lozano. "A secret infidelity inevitably creates a separation between partners, and sooner or later, the relationship will suffer."
4. All Your "Baggage"
Even though everyone comes into a relationship with baggage, it can still be difficult to talk about. And yet you definitely should. "If you aren't open and honest about critical experiences you have had, there is an increased likelihood that your past will play out and haunt your present," Lozano says. And that's not good.
5. Your Ongoing Money Issues
Few people are truly great with money, so don't feel bad if you aren't the best at saving, or if you still haven't opened a 401k. Do, however, be open and honest with your partner about anything that can impact them, like a huge amount of debt. As Milrad tells me, these secrets will be revealed eventually and if you aren't honest with each other up front, it can spell the end of your relationship.
6. How You're Spending Money
It's obviously not necessary for couples to disclose every penny they spend. But it is a good idea to be open and honest about big purchases and any money that you're saving. "In my experience, lying about finances, hiding money, or spending money without the other knowing is a secret that almost always destroys relationships," says Derek Bradford, founding partner of Bradford & Gordon law firm. "When one partner is keeping secrets about money, they are not only betraying their partner's trust, but they are also exerting control over their partner." And that's bound to cause things to fall apart.
7. Your Struggle With Addiction
Whether it's happening now, or affected you in the past, it's important to be open about any struggles you've had with addiction. "Addictions require support, meetings, treatment, etc. and your partner deserves to know about it," mental health therapist Lianna Tsangarides, LCSW tells Bustle. "Addictions are considered a family disease and will impact both of you and this should be open conversation."
8. Your History Of STDs
This is another tough one to admit, but it's essential you tell your partner about any past sexually transmitted diseases you've had — or currently have. "Sexual intimacy is a part of every healthy relationship," Tsangarides says. "Your partner deserves to know about your history and if you have any STDs, so you are not putting the relationship in jeopardy." If they find out you lied, that'll likely be the end of things.
9. Issues That Are Bothering You
If something is bothering you, it can be tempting to stay quiet in an effort to keep peace. "However, it is important to address issues before they become big problems," says Dr. Michele Kerulis, a relationships expert and professor of counseling. Staying quiet about an issue is essentially lying, so make an effort to sit with down with your partner and talk.
10. Your Tendency Towards Jealousy
If you've been in difficult relationships in the past, or you've experienced cheating, it can be difficult to truly trust your partner. "Jealousy within relationships typically comes down to fear of abandonment and not feeling good enough," says Kerulis. If this is an on-going issue, it can have an impact on your relationship — and may even be its undoing. So go ahead and tell your partner. The two of you can figure out ways to re-build trust and make each other feel more comfortable.
11. Any Other Big Secrets
OK, so the truth is, most secrets can take a toll on your relationship. If the secret prevents your partner from knowing the real you, or causes you to lie all the time, then it'll likely cause problems down the road. Trusting your partner, and opening up, is the only way to avoid damaging your relationship.
While you don't have to share everything about yourself, it's pretty darn obvious when someone's keeping a big dark secret. Sharing what's on your mind is not only healthier for you, but is essential to a happy relationship.
Images: Pexels (12)