We all have secrets; some we share with only a few people, and then, we have those that we have never shared with anybody. Not even with our soulmates.
While there are things we hold so close to our hearts and fear that they might ruin our reputation and our relationships, relationship therapist Grace Kariuki warns that more often than not, secrets are usually the beginning of a troubled relationship among couples.
Why partners keep secrets from each other
Usually, partners will keep secrets for various reasons. One might be afraid that their partner might dump them or even judge them if they share the secret. For instance, a partner might keep secret an illegitimate child or choose not to disclose some information from their past so as not to lose their partner.
The desire to get accepted by the other person is what pushes one to keep secrets. But according to Grace, when the fear of being judgement and rejection takes precedence in a relationship, real intimacy remains to be only a dream. Because real intimacy depends on factors such as willingness to be vulnerable to each other as well as trust.
Seek help to address your fears
“It is therefore advisable for a person to explore these fears and find a way to be open to the person they are interested in dating or having a long-term intimate relationship with. Address the fears with a trusted friend or seek professional help on how to confront those fears.” Grace tells us.
“When people find out information about their significant other from third parties, it always creates mistrust and hurts the relationship in profound ways. Trust is what glues a relationship together. When information is not shared, this glue is compromised and the relationship goes through a process of doubt, confusion, and anger. Some relationships might survive this and couples grow stronger, while others might not survive depending on the nature of the secret.” She goes on to tell Pulselive.
Does that mean you should tell your partner everything?
According to Grace, couples need to be open, accountable and transparent as it’s the only way they can build their intimacy.
This expert, however, notes that if you must really keep a secret from your partner, be sure you do not share it with anybody else. She adds that “There are times when a person may look at the impact the truth might have on the relationship and decide it is best kept unsaid. That's a personal decision but it will need to be realistic and reasonable. For instance, one can't keep children or previous marriage a secret.”
Although secrets can be devastating once they come to the light, Grace insists that a strong and healthy relationship will always overcome the storm.