I used to believe that a breach of trust was something that couples could bounce back from quickly but I’ve gained insight about the ways this isn’t usually the case. For instance, most marriages don’t survive big betrayals or even a series of smaller ones. I believe that finding healthy ways to express your thoughts and feelings and being honest with your partner, is the best way to build a trusting relationship. In my opinion, vulnerability is the glue that holds a relationship together over the long run.
Keep in mind that by keeping secrets you run the risk that you will lose your partner’s trust and put your relationship in jeopardy. Mistrust is a lingering feeling in the back of your mind that your partner does not truly love you, or may abandon you. So much about trust is walking the talk.
Your partner may tell you he/she loves you, but do his/her actions support that? All too often, when people aren’t feeling safe enough in a relationship to be honest and open with their partner, it’s because they don’t believe that their partner truly loves them, they fear losing him or her; or they are overly protective of their own interests.
5 reasons why it’s a not a good idea to keep secrets:
- Keeping secrets is the same thing as being dishonest. Honesty is always the best policy and most of us have a moral code which tells us that keeping secrets is akin to lying. For most of us, being dishonest is only acceptable when we are in dire straits – like trying to save someone’s life. Yet some people rationalize that they need to keep secrets or their relationship will end.
- Often keeping secrets creates more problems in a relationship. The more time that passes, the harder it is to fess up. When people keep secrets or tell lies, they often have to tell other lies to cover up the first lie. They dig deeper and deeper into a hole of dishonesty.
- Keeping major secrets is a form of deceit and it breeds mistrust. Further, once a person loses trust, it is hard to regain it – especially for those who have been betrayed by a parent or former romantic partner or spouse.
- Keeping secrets is a hotbed for betrayal. Leaving out important facts can lead to further deception or betrayal, according to author Lisa Firestone. Whereas being open with your partner will promote trust and honest communication.
- People are hurt by secrets and lies and this can destroy a relationship. It’s hard to feel emotionally connected to someone when you catch them in a lie or find out that they’ve kept a secret from you.
But is lying by omission or keeping a secret the same as lying? First, you want to consider how your partner would view your secret if he or she found out and you failed to tell them about it. Also, if you feel guilty or uneasy about not disclosing information to him or her, it’s a red flag you need to be honest or forthcoming about something you’ve kept a secret.
For instance, Kendra failed to inform her partner John that she had charged over $3,000 on credit cards over the last year – mostly on clothes and eating out with her friends. At times, she would confide in Ryan and tell him about her purchases. She explains: “I don’t really see a reason to tell John because I was planning the balance off on my credit card. But I see now that I was becoming more emotionally detached from John and fearful of telling him. But I just didn’t want him to judge me harshly or leave because he is very frugal and hates when I charge things we can’t afford.”
Like Kendra, many of my clients tell me they keep secrets from their partner because they believe telling the truth will make things worse. Or they’ve convinced themselves that their significant other simply can’t handle the truth and might abandon them. While it is true that some partners will feel angry, hurt, and betrayed when they learn their love interest has done something unacceptable to them, honestly confronting issues is the best way to foster trust and intimacy with a partner.
In fact, recent research shows that one in five people are keeping a major secret, such as infidelity or money troubles, from their spouse in Brittan. Surprisingly, a quarter of respondents in this study said they kept this secret for more than twenty-five years. Further, one in four of those people who kept a secret in this study said that it was so big; they worried that it would destroy their marriage. Common secrets reported include money troubles, pornography, and various forms of betrayal such as infidelity.
When your partner withholds important information from you regardless of their reasons, it’s normal to feel betrayed. Experts agree that trust can be easily broken and hard to repair. For many people any form of deceit can be a deal breaker. Trust is a huge issue for many people. It takes a lot to rebuild trust and if it’s broken, there’s a chance it may not be earned back.
Twitter, Facebook, and, movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s award winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website.
I’d love to hear from you and answer your questions about relationships, divorce, marriage, and remarriage. Please ask a question here. Thanks! Terry