How secrets can kill a relationship. A psychologist named 5 non-obvious ways of
Honesty and trust are very important for relationships, and this is not new. Nevertheless, most people still hide something from their partner - on average, according to a 2018 study, a person has 13 secrets at any one time, five of which they have never told anyone.
Secrets between a couple can have serious and even destructive consequences, says cognitive behavioral therapist Jennifer Guttman. In an article for mindbodygreen.com, she noted that the most serious in this regard is information about infidelity, financial problems, and substance abuse.
The psychologist explained that there is a difference between confidentiality and secrets. For example, even in a couple, people can retain the right to privacy if the topic they keep to themselves does not have a negative impact on the other half.
"People keep secrets out of fear that their partners will not be able to love them because of the truth," Guttman wrote. The expert explained how secrets destroy relationships:
- They create barriers to communication
If you don't tell your partner something important, you can subconsciously push them away, close off. In addition, many people feel guilty, and this unstable emotional state negatively affects communication.
Guttman added that "secret keepers" feel less satisfied with life, as well as tired, lonely, sad and hostile.
- Fuelling an atmosphere of mistrust
When a partner destroys trust, it is difficult to restore it. Resentment and suspicion are hard to forget.
It's hard for a deceived partner to believe that his or her significant other has no other secrets. "The constant need for reassurance does not help build trust; it simply calms fear," the psychologist wrote.
- Interfere with natural communication
When people have secrets, they can have unnatural, inorganic conversations because they have to think too much to avoid revealing a lie.
Filled with fear of revealing the secret, the partner may be less receptive or engaged. It is understandable that the other person in the couple will be annoyed by this, the expert noted.
- Deception begets deception
Sometimes a person has to lie more and more to keep the truth from coming out. In this situation, one can even get confused and inadvertently say something wrong.
At the same time, if a person's secret is never revealed, it will further boost their self-esteem and give them the go-ahead for new secrets.
- May manifest as physical symptoms
Guttman said that a person who lies may experience somatic consequences and feelings of guilt, shame and stress.
All of this can be accompanied by accompanying symptoms such as headaches, digestive and sleep problems. In rare cases, people may even turn to alcohol or other substances to numb their discomfort.
How to reveal your secret to a loved one
Guttman noted that telling your secret is a real challenge that makes the cheater feel more vulnerable.
"Be direct, but kind and compassionate," the psychologist advised. She emphasized that before telling the truth, you need to assess the time, place, mood, mental and physical state of your partner.
If disclosing a secret could cause serious problems, you can do so in the presence of a third party: for example, a family counselor, a psychotherapist (or an accountant or lawyer to discuss financial or legal issues).