2 Ways You Could Be Unintentionally Destroying The Trust In Your Relationship

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2 Ways Secrets Destroy Relationships

Are you trying to protect your partner's feelings by keeping a secret from them? Think again.

You might think you're doing what's best for your relationship by keeping a secret or hiding a problem from your partner. But no matter your good intentions, this kind of secrecy could destroy the trust in your relationship.

Maybe, in your case, you trust your boyfriend or girlfriend, but you're afraid of upsetting them. Or you think the truth will ruin your connection. You might even fear that telling them the truth will end things. Or maybe you just hate conflict and don't want to feel guilty.

Whatever your reasoning, you end up keeping difficult truths to yourself, thinking you're doing the right thing for your relationship. You may even feel a sense of satisfaction in your ability to be discreet. You think you've dodged a bullet and take pride in your ability to bite your tongue to keep the peace.

But the longer you keep the truth to yourself, the MORE damage you're doing. Why?

Because procrastinating, delaying, and denying difficult truths is far more destructive to a relationship than being discreet. You maybe believe you have very good reasons for keeping a difficult truth to yourself, but here's why you shouldn't.

Here are two ways you might be unintentionally destroying the trust in your relationship by hiding problems and secrets from your partner:

1. You save bad news for later.

You want to tell your partner the truth, but you can't help thinking this isn't the right time. Maybe your partner is having a bad day (and you don't want to make it worse), having a good day (and you don't want to spoil it), out of town, or busy with a project. Things are going well for you both and you don't want to be a killjoy. Maybe a vacation is coming up and you just want to enjoy it without creating drama.

Here's the thing, though: Procrastinating is a mistake because when you delay telling the truth, you delay the release of pent-up feelings and tension.

The longer you withhold those feelings, the more they can cause damage to your relationship and your physical health.

Because you're concealing the real reason you're worried or distracted (your secret), you pretend everything is okay with your partner when in fact, it isn't. This can cause you to be withdrawn from your partner and create distance instead of intimacy.

Withholding your thoughts and feelings blocks the flow of creative energy, which in turn stifles passion and romance. Your bedroom life suffers. You nit-pick, nag, and fight about irrelevant things because you don't want to admit to what's REALLY bothering you, and this nit-picking causes further strain on your relationship.

When suppressed long enough, emotions can get internalized and cause you to fall ill and experience mysterious aches and pains.

The knot in your stomach from constant worrying can become an ulcer. The tension in your shoulders from unexpressed anger can develop into a migraine or a stiff neck. These physical issues only get worse the more you ignore the underlying cause.

So in fact, you're not really sparing yourself or your partner pain by delaying speaking the truth. You're causing it.

RELATED: How To Trust Again After Your Heart's Been Broken Too Many Times

2. You ignore a relationship problem and hope it fixes itself with time.

Besides procrastination, this is the other common response to dealing with a difficult truth. You deny that it's a real problem, or you ignore it and hope it'll just get resolved on its own.

These are some examples of difficult truths that many couples tend to ignore, in hopes that their partner will eventually "see the light" on their own and fix it.

He's stopped taking care of his health, weight, and fitness and you're worried... and turned off. You're not satisfied with the frequency of lovemaking. She has a disgusting habit that irritates you to no end. His family is driving you crazy.

You may think that your partner doesn't know that you're unhappy with something, so you're safe keeping your thoughts to yourself and you're sparing their feelings.


Most people in close relationships have a sixth sense about things being "off." Chances are pretty good that your partner already knows you're upset with them, they just can't quite put their finger on why.

In this case, the secret is causing both partners to feel anxious, worried, and tense, which leads to the same physical and emotional issues that come from procrastination and delay. Not good.

But, when couples speak the truth, miracles can happen — no matter how difficult or painful it was to admit.

RELATED: What Happens To Couples Who Even Keep Tiny Secrets From Each Other

Dr. Katie and Gay Hendricks are marriage therapists and dating coaches. Subscribe to their free relationship e-newsletter, Hearts In Harmony, to understand exactly why so many relationship problems can finally be resolved when you learn to identify the underlying issues within yourself.