My Lips are Sealed
Keeping secrets in the context of your relationship can be crippling. Frankly, it’s exhausting. Having to maintain a façade in certain areas of your life, with the person who is meant to be the safe haven for “letting your hair down”, disallows you from having that genuine release and relax time we all need and deserve. So why do we do it? For several reasons:
- We feel like if our partner knew certain things about us, they would see us differently, not accept us and possibly love us less (She won’t love me if she really knows who I am)
- Maybe the secret is one that might hurt their feelings, i.e. You actually hate going over for family dinner with his over bearing mother every week, but you say nothing
- You might have a history of holding things close because in past relationships, vulnerable information has been used against you in arguments or as leverage to manipulate you
- Could be you just think it’s hot to be mysterious….Being honest with your partner is the best way to go, if you are someone whose values align with authenticity (tip: most of us share this innate value, regardless of our backgrounds). Staying safe behind a shroud of secrecy is not really comfortable, but rather like being imprisoned. In response to the reasons we choose to keep a secret, let’s talk about the effect of those choices:
Honesty is the Best Policy…Not Just a Lame Phrase
- You are living in fear of your own partner, unable to put your guard down and you’ve based your desirability level on a few facts, forgetting all the other loveable things that keep your partner present.
- You are affected by some outside source (i.e. your mother in law), but keeping that to yourself will lead to discomfort between you and your beau, as you catch “attitude” every time you’re dragged over there. These instances are misinterpreted and reads that the problem lies between the two of you. This can spin off into other undue arguments as long as you are hiding the source of your irritation
- Your past hurts affect your ability to trust your current partner, and stops you from allowing them the opportunity to show you they can be trusted with all parts of you. Without building a healthy trust, you block yourself from true connection and deny your own joy.
- Being mysterious is hot when you are trying to catch someone new, but just becomes irritating with the partner who’s earned full disclosure
Here I am!
The negatives of keeping secrets far outweigh the perceived benefits. So how do you go about your reveal and what should you expect? First, be prepared for questions. To do that, take an honest inventory as to what’s behind your holding onto information. Is it about something you are missing from your relationship, or is it outside your partner’s control? Is it about you or is it about them? With this information, you’ll be able to deliver accurate feedback and also propose a plan for how your partner can help you feel at ease and how you can help yourself. Be ready to challenge yourself to stay authentic, as now that your partner knows you were keeping things from them, for valid reasons or not, you will need to work on showing them consistently that you are sharing the good, the bad and the beautiful. This is what it is to be in a thriving and healthy relationship. Your partner should be a source of comfort and vice versa. This takes work, but I hear it’s well worth it. The core to most things good are ongoing honesty and sustained trust.