Heartbreak

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

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A woman has to have secrets. It’s how she keeps her mystery. Even when I was married, I always had my secrets.

This was one of the many nuggets of advice my grandmother gave me when I was a little girl. Secrets seem to be a part of the standard assembly of things we all have — we have our thoughts, our freedom, our desires, and our secrets.

We’ve got to have our secrets, right? We want to keep things to ourselves, especially the embarrassing or traumatic stuff, the bad choices, and poor judgment calls. Rather than own them and tell people everything, we keep our mouths shut.

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People without secrets are branded “oversharers.” No one likes an oversharer.

But what about when you’re in a relationship? What about when you’re married? What happens when you want to spend the rest of your life with someone? Can you still have secrets? Should you take the advice of my grandmother and just accept that a woman has her secrets and move on?

No.

Sorry, grandma, but this was actually terrible advice.

It may sound extreme, but if you're keeping secrets in a relationship, you may as well end it now.

What good is spending the rest of your life loving someone if there are things between you?

Before we get into the damage a set of secrets does to relationships, we should know why we even have them. Many secrets you keep have good intentions, such as the inclination to tell your boyfriend the shirt he’s wearing doesn’t make him look like a used car salesman — even though it does.

But as we know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. You may think you’re doing right by your partner by keeping things to yourself, but secrets add up. Sooner or later, they will come crashing down around you.

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Even the smallest of lies and secrets chip away at your bond. Finding out your partner lied to you or didn’t tell you something irreparably alters the way you look at that person. You know that they are capable of lying and, therefore, you will forever wonder if he is lying to you anytime words come out of his mouth.

It is always better to just tell him the truth. If you’re keeping secrets from the person you’re dating, you can’t possibly love him enough to make it last a lifetime. The truth will always outweigh hurt feelings.

If you want a relationship to last, you have to practice radical honesty coupled with radical acceptance.

According to Andrea Miller, CEO of Your Tango and author of Radical Acceptance, “To radically accept someone means: I love you, right here, right now. I have your back, no matter what. I know your flaws, failures, and shortcomings — and I still love you. I will not resent or resist them. Instead, I will extend tenderness to them.”

If you can’t take the truth — and it’s enough to break your relationship — the relationship was never worth saving in the first place. Secrets poison love. They are tiny droplets of venom that eventually add up to destruction.

If you have secrets, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Sometimes, we keep secrets because we want to prepare ourselves for the possibility of the end; we want a security blanket by not revealing the ugliest parts of our past and ourselves.

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“Planning for the worst will inevitably result in a failed relationship. There [is] a better way,” Miller writes. The price we pay for our secrets is everything.

It makes us vulnerable to letting someone know everything about us. It makes us susceptible to danger should the relationship go south. It takes serious guts to give someone that kind of ammo. It takes trust to a fault.

If the person you’re in a relationship with can’t be trusted with everything, they aren’t worth your time. If you can’t be yourself and know that the person you love accepts you unconditionally, walk away.

Everlasting love requires unwavering commitment. Along with that ever-important radical acceptance, your commitment to your partner and to your relationship must be steadfast for the relationship to succeed.

There can be no question of how much you love your partner. You must be in it for the long haul, or give it up. It’s all or nothing when it comes to love.

“You can’t 'kind of' be committed,” Miller says. “Thoughts, actions, intentions, and, words all align to communicate and achieve this commitment.”

Everything you do must be in line with your relationship goals. This means that secrets have to be let go. It’s a scary step to take, but with the right person, it is the right step to take.

Love is synonymous with honesty, through and through.

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Gigi Engle, ACS, CSE, CSC, is an award-winning author and certified sex educator.

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