Is Your Spouse Keeping Secrets From You?
Everyone keeps Secrets, and research shows that people keep around thirteen of them on average. Researchers found that the most common secrets involve behavior or romantic thoughts about someone outside the confines of your primary relationship. But all secrets, big and small, profoundly affect you and your marriage whether you notice it or not.
Tip: 3 Ways to Spot a Secret
- You're hiding something on purpose.
- There is shame or fear about sharing it with your partner.
- It would upset your partner if they discovered that you hid it.
Secrecy is not Privacy.
Privacy is about having a life you don't share with others; secrecy is about intentionally hiding information. It is probably in the secret category if you feel shame or fear about something you're not sharing with your spouse.
Why Do Partners Keep Secrets from Each other?
Keeping secrets within a relationship can create conflict or embarrassment. People keep secrets because they fear that their partners won't be able to love them if they know the truth. People believe that the anger, shame, or humiliation their partner would feel would alienate them and push them away from the relationship. Secrecy deprives family members of the information that could have enabled them to act to prevent a future problem.
Keeping Secrets Could Destroy Your Relationship.
Typical secrets reported include money troubles, viewing pornography, and various forms of betrayal, such as infidelity. Experts agree that secrets can cause broken trust and are hard to repair. When your partner withholds essential information from you regardless of their reasons, it's normal to feel betrayed. For many, any form of deceit can be a deal-breaker. Feeling guilty or uneasy about not disclosing information to them is a red flag that you need to do so. When people keep secrets, they impede communication between themselves and their loved ones, creating stilted, unnatural conversations because so much overthinking is involved to ensure they are not revealing the lie.
Determine What to Share with Your Spouse and What Not To.
Things You Should Not Keep Secret from Your Spouse
Examples of these truths include job loss, debt, infidelity, addictions, health diagnoses, and any other information that could damage (or do further harm) the trust between you and your spouse. Often, people keep significant truths secret from one another because they don't want to harm others.
Private Issues That Could Harm Your Relationship with Your Spouse.
Privacy can be a boundary around one's thoughts, ideas, and past experiences that don't directly involve one's partner. A secret is misleading and intentionally kept hidden from them for fear of judgment or reprisal. It would affect their well-being emotionally, spiritually, physically, or financially. Privacy becomes harmful when your partner is affected by the secret.
Some examples of this:
- They are not paying bills, harboring financial debt, or borrowing money without their knowledge.
- Work issues include knowing you might be losing your job or considering a job change that will affect your shared lifestyle.
- Health issues that will affect them.
- Relationships or affairs.
This three-question test will help you decide whether you need to disclose information to your partner.
- How would you feel if your partner held a similar secret and didn't tell you?
- What is your motive for sharing, and what is your reason for not sharing? Are those reasons in line with your values?
- Have you discussed how you each feel and think about Privacy and secrecy? Can you discuss the information in mind without going into specifics so that you reach a mutual agreement on where you should draw the lines?
Some of the following issues may be better to keep to yourself such as:
- Past lovers or times spent with someone else are better left unsaid. Many relationship experts feel that health is the only topic to discuss regarding past relationships, although some people love stories about old lovers.
- Things that someone has confided only in you.
- Thoughts about a best friend or a business colleague being especially hot are best unspoken.
- Secret complaints about something their partner cannot change about themselves: body hair, introverted tendencies, or you wish they had gotten their teeth straightened when they were a kid.
Discuss Expectations and Boundaries about Honesty, Openness, and Privacy with Your Spouse.
If you've never discussed expectations, boundaries, honesty, openness, and Privacy with your spouse, it would be beneficial to do so. As a couple, you'll want to establish boundaries and expectations that work for you. You can decide what life details you wish to share and what information might be better left unsaid.
If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy because you cannot trust your partner, then deciding not to take them back is logical. A quality life needs a sense of security. Keeping secrets or lying to a partner risks losing their trust and jeopardizing your relationship.
Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.Sign up for a free trial of the Marriage In A Box online tracking tool!