“Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy. Every healthy relationship is built on a foundation of honesty and trust.” – Dave Willis
To begin, we’d like to start off by saying that the context of this article is written from the perspective of an “expert” – which we certainly are not. We can’t (and won’t) presume to understand the dynamics of any relationship, so we certainly will not try.
Instead, we’ve researched and taken tidbits of relationship advice from various sources; more specifically on the subject of “personal secrets” – and whether they should or should not be revealed prior to, or during, an intimate relationship.
Most marriage counselors believe in the importance of complete disclosure; that is, the revealing of “little white lies” to closeted skeletons. The rationale for full disclosure is quite simple and straightforward: all cards are on the table, and nothing in our past life can come back to bite us. Putting everything out there in plain sight is an act of honesty, integrity, courage, and strength.
Here are some common secrets you shouldn’t hide from your partner:
1. Past secrets
There’s a time and place for everything, and disclosing your past is a good example of this. This “talk” generally occurs during the early phases of a serious relationship – and certainly prior to marriage.
Your past may not define you, but it has molded you, and sharing these experiences with your partner helps them to understand the person you’ve become. Abuse history, alcohol/drug history, family history, and sexual history are all examples of past events.
2. Health-related secrets
“Through sickness and in health” is an oft-cited phrase in wedding vows, and for a good reason. Most people who refrain from divulging health-related information do so with good intentions – one being they don’t want their partner to worry, or believing “I can handle it myself.”
In many cases, we imagine our health problems to be a huge relationship barrier, but this is rarely true. If your partner loves and cares about you, they’ll walk by your side with unwavering support.
3. Financial secrets
Statistics show that 40 to 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce – and money problems are among the leading causes. Two people with different money values, for example, if one is an impulse buyer and the other is a habitual saver, must reconcile these differences and come to an understanding.
Entering a partnership/marriage should end any “my money, your money” ways of thinking. It is no longer your money or their money, but both of yours. Financial transparency is crucial to relationship happiness and, quite possibly, relationship sustainability.
4. Relationship Secrets
Relationship experts differ on whether or not past relationships should be discussed. Rationally, some guy or gal you dated – and any irrelevant details – needn’t be brought up.
Of course, if there’s a “past” involving an ex that still affects you, your partner should be made aware. Dr. Helen Fisher, chief scientific advisor to Match.com, states: “The brain really does remember (these effects), and it remembers this forever. (It’s) entirely possible that the brain is built this way so that you can remember why it didn’t work so that you can do it better the next time.”
5. Intimacy Secrets
Being in a relationship is a profoundly intimate experience –and one that involves constant communication. Even couples who’ve been married for years still have trouble sharing their true feelings about things. This is particularly the case if one person feels that their relational needs aren’t being met.
Avoiding communication – about emotional needs, goals and dreams, sexual desires, anything at all – can, and likely will, create mounting problems in your relationship. A lack of communication is considered by most experts to be the leading cause of unhappiness and discontent.
The solution to most problems within a relationship is effective communication. “Prevention is the best cure,” and communication – for all intents and purposes – is the key to preventing problems from snowballing during a relationship.
Put in the time and effort to communicate with your partner, even if the topic is uncomfortable. Keeping open lines of communication throughout a relationship will help preserve the intimacy, love, and devotion to each other.