It's not necessarily uncommon to keep secrets from your partner. In fact, a 2014 Slater & Gordon study conducted in the UK found that 20% of people were keeping a major secret from their spouse, while 12% of those said they'd gone to great lengths to keep that secret, well, a *secret*. But just because many people don't tell their partners the truth doesn't mean that it's okay. That same study highlighted how keeping secrets could cause major and immediate relationship problems.
There are so many different kinds of secrets to keep, and people report many reasons for keeping something private, such as a feeling of shame or fear of disapproval. Still, studies show that honesty really is the best policy, so maybe there's something to this idea of coming clean. Of course, being completely honest might be challenging. You might be embarrassed to tell your darkest secret and afraid of what your partner will think of you. On the other hand, it might be freeing and could lead you and your partner to a happier relationship. These are the 16 secrets you really shouldn't keep from your partner... even though most people do.
You might be worried about what your partner thinks about your debt or financial challenges, and that's not an unreasonable fear. A Market Watch study showed that more than half of Americans would not marry someone with significant debt. Still, it's important to be honest about money with your partner. Not only does telling your partner about your financial situatoin make planning dates less stressful (and sometimes cheaper dates are better anyway), but if the relationship goes well and you want to get married or live together one day, they'll find out about your finances anyway. You might as well be upfront.
The same goes for secret funds. Another Market Watch study found that 31% of millennials and 28% of people ages 38 to 53 have kept secret bank accounts from their partner at some point in their lives. This practice is definitely sneaky and could mean serious trouble for your relationship. In fact, it's been reported by the New York Post that 31% of people think keeping a secret bank account or credit card is even worse than physical cheating.
Maybe you were teased about your asthma or eczema as a kid, and now you just don't want to bring it up. Maybe you had a more serious illness, and you're afraid a partner would look at you differently. Medical histories can be sensitive topics, but you shouldn't be afraid to talk about your own medical history with your partner.
Not only will it feel good to open up, but it's also important to talk about in order to ensure your safety when around your partner. If you've had seizures before, someone you're dating should know what to do if it happens again. The same goes for food intolerances or allergies (did you know that every year, 200,000 Americans need emergency medical care to treat their food allergies?) When it comes to your health, it's important to keep yourself safe, so don't be shy.
Maybe you're afraid of spiders, public speaking, or long road trips.
If you have a big phobia, you might cringe at the idea of talking about your fear at all, but don't keep it a secret from your partner for too long. It's important that your partner can be sensitive about your fears and make sure you're not put into a nightmare situation — You don't want to be asked to make an impromptu speech only for your S/O to learn you're terrified of public speaking. Plus, it's a great bonding activity. Maybe you'll end up with some of the same fears and reach a better understanding of each other. One Chapman University study from 2017 showed that almost 75% of people are afraid of corrupt government officials, so if you're also keeping political allegiance a secret, maybe you can kill two birds with one stone.
Don't be afraid to share your (possibly weird) sexual fantasies. You might be freaky, but that doesn't mean your needs aren't important.
In fact, what you might think is an uncommon kink might be more common than you think. One study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that most sexual fantasies were actually pretty common. So, speak up, because your partner might be thinking the same thing!
On the other hand, if your partner isn't actually into your sexual preferences, it's good to know early on so you can find someone who you'll be more compatible with.
Some people might carry around a secret dream that sounds so crazy that they don't even want to talk about it for fear of sounding unrealistic. But if you should be able to share your deepest dream with someone, it's your partner.
It could be a good bonding activity with both of you to talk about your hopes for the future. Or maybe your partner doesn't think your dream is so outlandish, and they could even encourage you and help you accomplish that goal.
Talking about your dreams with your partner is a great thing to do because it puts you both on the same page. You're letting each other in on what your hopes are for the future and hopefully encouraging each other to make your dreams come true.
The decision to have kids (or not) is a big one, and when it comes to this topic, you have to be honest with your partner and yourself.
Maybe your partner has said from the beginning that they really want to have kids, or maybe they've said that they really don't want any. You might have gone along with that idea, knowing you love your partner and not wanting to lose them. But if you're feeling like you have a strong opinion on whether or not you want kids or your thoughts are changing, don't keep those thoughts a secret. A 2009 scholarly study showed that lots of people change their minds when it comes to the idea of having kids. It's okay if you've changed your mind, too.
You might be afraid to talk about it for fear of losing your partner, but you owe it to both of yourselves to be honest about your feelings.
Maybe your exes are a bit of a touchy subject. Still, you should at least give your partner an outline of your past experiences. Not only is it just good information to know — For example, if your partner and your ex know each other, it would put your partner in an awkward situation if they were left in the dark — but it's also good for your partner to know what kind of challenges you've faced in past relationships, how you've been treated, and how that has affected you.
Your partner should know if you've been cheated on, if you were ever in an abusive relationship, and why your past relationships ended. These are all important things for you to know about each other, and it could help you as you move forward together.
Your feelings about each other shouldn't be a secret. Whether you're feeling great about the relationship, or starting to have some doubts about how well your goals or plans for the future will mesh, it's important to communicate with each other about how you feel.
For one thing, if your partner knows you're not happy, talking through it could help solve the issue. Also talking about it gives your partner some insight into how your feeling. There's nothing worse than being blindsided when you announce you're either ready to get married or break up. Make sure you check in with each other, and don't make your feelings a secret.
Of course, it's hard to keep a baby a secret, so if you have had a child (and didn't put it up for adoption), hopefully your partner already knows. If not, they're not super observant.
But some people might want to keep terminated pregnancies a secret (whether they had one themselves or if a past partner had one). These can be traumatic, and many people don't want to talk about it, whether the termination was for family planning or for medical reasons. This can also be similar in the event of miscarriages (of which WebMD says 15%-25% of recognized pregnancies end in).
Still, if you're in a relationship with someone and you're having sex, it's important to talk about not only family planning, but also your history in that area. Will an accidental pregnancy (or mention of abortion) upset you? Do you have strong opinions on the subject? Everyone is entitled to their individual opinions, but when it comes to such an important subject, it's essential that you and your partner are on the same page.
Have you ever been to jail? Gotten arrested for drunk driving? Been caught shoplifting? All of this is important to tell your partner, and they should know. Politifact reported that 70 million Americans have some sort of criminal record, which comes out to one third of adults in the US. So, if you do have a record, you're certainly not alone.
Now, you might be thinking: "Wait a minute, I do have a criminal history, and it's bad. If my partner finds out about it, he or she won't want to be with me." This may be true, but you may also be surprised. Your partner might appreciate your honesty and be able to move on. If they can't accept it, then clearly they're not the person for you.
Thoughts about cheating or a history of cheating can be a big deal. Not only can it ruin a relationship and hurt your partner, but even a seemingly innocent mention of another person's attractiveness could potentially hurt your partner, especially if they have been cheated on in the past. And unfortunately, it's not an uncommon problem. One Trustify study found that 36% of males and 21% of females surveyed said they had committed infidelity while they were married.
This is something that's important to talk about up front, whether it's in your relationship history or if you're noticing that you're starting to have extra-relational thoughts. Since this can be a tough subject, you might even consider seeing a couple's therapist to work through it. If it's not addressed, you could end up hurting someone you love.
Everyone has that one crazy uncle or sibling they're embarrassed by, but once you've been with someone for a while, you should fill them in on your most important family secrets. It could save them some embarrassment when meeting your family (you wouldn't want them bringing a bottle of wine to your recovering-alcoholic brother), and it will help them understand your family and see where you're coming from.
Hopefully, your partner will feel comfortable enough to share as well, and the two of you can bond over family challenges.
If you're having problems at work, don't keep that a secret from your partner. This should be obvious if you're living together and you both depend (at least partially) on your income, but it's also important on a day-to-day level.
If you're coming home from work stressed every day but don't want to talk about it, your partner won't know what's wrong or how to help. This could cause a lot of tension and might even lead your partner to think that there's a problem with your relationship, not your job.
Plus, you should be able to think of your partner as a teammate, someone you can vent to when needed and someone to bounce ideas off of. Maybe your partner can help you overcome work problems, and you'll both feel better.
This can be a tricky secret to let out because not liking a partner's friend could be very dangerous. Sometimes your partner will have a longer or closer relationship with a friend than they do with you, and a clash in personalities could result in more problems than solutions.
Think back: You might have been the "friend" when your bestie got a new partner or maybe you were the one with the partner who didn't like your friend. If you've been in this situation, you know how awkward that situation can be for everyone.
However, if your partner starts hanging out with someone who seems like a bad influence or someone who you don't enjoy being around for substantial reasons (like if the friend is openly rude to you or makes hurtful comments to your partner), consider bringing it up. At the very least, you can be honest, express your concerns, and leave it at that.
Everyone has their preferences. You might have unusual tastes in foods (like preferring a box of Kraft mac and cheese over a fancy steak dinner), or you might favor a certain type of living situation (like apartment living being better than caring for a house and a yard).
Your preferences might be common, or maybe they're a little more unusual. Either way, you shouldn't try to keep some preferences a secret to seem "cooler" to your partner. Be upfront about what you like and what you don't care for. It's so much easier to be upfront rather than try to show a different side of yourself in the hopes that your partner will be impressed or that they'll think you two have more in common than you really do. It simply wastes time. Remember that differences are good — they make us stronger.