It’s easy to think that good communication in a relationship means telling your partner everything. But there are ways in which small secrets help to preserve a person’s sense of individuality and separateness.
There is a whole range of thoughts, fantasies, and daily activities which it may be best not to share – from a flirty smile with the person you buy your morning coffee from, to conversations with friends over lunch, to the real price of that haircut.
Big secrets, however, can undermine the fabric of a relationship in very major ways and it is important to be able to understand the difference between the two.
A regrettable one night stand that meant nothing could be best kept to oneself and revealing it may be more about trying to get rid of your own guilt. But having an affair is different. A small text flirtation may seem like a bit of fun on a dull day and even add eroticism to your relationship, but an ongoing obsession with another person which stops you from being truly intimate with your partner is not healthy. Spending too much money occasionally on the odd pair of shoes is fine – but if you have bought ten pairs in the past two months then maybe you have a problem and need to address why shopping is filling a vacuum in your life. And if you hide the odd parking ticket out of embarrassment that’s understandable, but a drawer full of unpaid bills means that as a couple you need to have some serious conversations about why you felt unable to face these financial difficulties together.
A healthy relationship means feeling sure enough in your own sense of self to be able to share most things with your partner. There are enough self-respect and respect for each other as an individual. You can talk about things before they become entrenched problems and recognize the difference between the white lies which help keep the peace and the more damaging secrets which could blow the whole basis of trust between them apart.
To read more from Kate Figes go to Honesty.
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By Kate Figes