When It's Best To Keep A Secret From Your Partner

Woman shushing
Love, Heartbreak

Some things in a relationship are better out in the open, but many should be kept hidden.

How much do you really need to know?

I still remember the day I walked into my house only to be confronted by my entire family staring at me like I was an alien as my mother shrieked through her tears, "Thank god you're home—I thought you were dead!!!"

Um, what?

Upon closer inspection, I noticed she was holding a familiar looking book. My journal. I was 17 and, like many teenagers, having a tough time of it. I didn't have anyone I particularly trusted to talk to about my life, so my journal was my confidant. I didn't need to filter my thoughts because a white piece of paper wasn't going to judge me or yell at me. I knew exactly what passage my mom was referring to—something I'd written about wishing I were dead. It was a fleeting thought that vanished as soon as I scribbled it down, but now my entire family had listened intently as my mother read extremely personal and excruciatingly humiliating excerpts aloud. That whole death wish I said had vanished? That came flooding back as I grabbed the notebook from her hands and ran upstairs crying.

"Don't write things down if you don't want people to read them," my mom called out helpfully.

Maybe because of this mortifying experience, I've never been much of a snooper. Sure, if I strongly suspect a boyfriend is cheating and lying about it, I'll poke around, but by that point it's just to confirm what I already know. I trust my current man, but I also know there's a lot about his past (and probably present) that is a complete mystery and I'm fine with that. Discuss: I snooped! Which was worse - snooping or his lying? Can't seem to move on...

Thirty-two-year-old freelance writer Mimi agrees. "Contrary to some depictions of couples, you don't have a single collective brain once you get involved," she tells me. Mimi doesn't snoop, nor does she tell her husband everything—again, with a caveat.

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