We have all heard the adage “Honesty is the best policy.” But, when it comes to relationships is it?
A healthy relationship requires trust of course. A good part of building trust is being honest with your significant other. But, do you really have to share all your secrets? The answer is yes, no, and maybe. There are things you have to share (even if you don’t want to) and things you probably shouldn’t share and things you might want to share.
First, a word of caution, you don’t want to share all your secrets on the first date, as your relationship becomes more serious you can share more of yourself and your life story, the good and the bad, with your partner.
Secrets You Should Share With Your Partner
What You Have to Share
Some things you really have to tell your partner, even if it isn’t going to be an easy conversation. At some point you need to sit down and have some potentially hard conversations with your significant other. Like what? If you have an arrest record, this is something you need to let the person you are dating know.
Now-a-days this is a matter of public record and the internet doesn’t make this information too hard to find, so don’t hold onto this secret for too long. It is better it comes from you than from the World Wide Web. If your finances are a train wreck. Now, this one isn’t something you need to share right away, but long before you get married your significant other needs to know if your credit is ruined. Why? Because, once you are married your credit becomes their credit too and they deserve to go into a marriage fully informed.
There are some medical issues you need to share at some point with your partner as well. If you are struggling with or have an addiction or eating disorder. This is something your partner needs to know. You can wait to tell them until things are more serious, but at some point they need to know that you are dealing with this, so they can support you in your battle and so they don’t accidentally trigger you or put you in an uncomfortable situation.
If you have an STD (Sexually transmitted diseases) you have to share this with your partner before you end up in the bedroom. There is no negotiation on this one, it is the right thing to do and you know it. If you are dealing with some kind of serious illness. Be it a mental one or a physical one, if you are suffering from some kind of serious illness the person who spends the most time with you needs to know that.
What You Should Share
While there are some things you have to tell your partner, there are also things you really should tell them. If you don’t it probably won’t be the end of the world or the end of your relationship but, telling them probably will bring you closer and make life together easier. Like what? The basics on your family. Sooner or later, if you get serious, you are going to take your significant other around your family, so give them some back story and enough information that they aren’t walking in completely blind.
You don’t have to tell them about your sister’s odd Goth phase in High School, but you should tell them that you never mention politics around your dad. After you are done giving your partner a basic outline on your family you should also probably give him a basic run down on your past relationships. No, I am not saying you have to give him “THE NUMBER” or even that you should. I am saying that at some point you should share a little about your past relationships, the important ones (with some exceptions, which we will cover later).
What else should you share? How about the reason behind some of your quirks and fears? I’m not saying that one date 1 or date 5 you should pour your heart out about the most traumatic events in your life. But, at some point once you trust him, let him know why you are terrified of clowns or why you will never get on a bicycle again. It will not only bring you closer, it will give him an explanation behind behavior he might have previously classified as “odd as hell.”
You should also let him know if one of your close guy friends happens to also be an ex-boyfriend. Better he hears from you that: yes, you dated for a while long but it didn’t work and you are better as only friends. Than it comes out accidentally from someone else. When it comes from you he has less to be concerned about, when it comes from someone else he thinks you are trying to hide something.
Secrets You Shouldn’t Share With Your Partner and Shouldn’t Ask
What You Shouldn’t Tell
Somethings are just better kept to yourself. Yes, even if you are an open book. Like what? Past relationship bad behavior. If you cheated on an ex, don’t tell your current partner. The only thing this will do is put them on high alert for you to cheat on them. You aren’t building trust, you are giving them a reason to not trust you.
Another secret better to not share, long-forgotten accidental hook ups. Did you make out one time at the work Christmas party with a co-worker? Don’t share, it was ages ago, it was a mistake, and you are again creating a situation where your partner will be left wondering: will it happen again? Same thing if you kissed your best friend 7 years ago, it wasn’t a relationship, just don’t share it.
Speaking of past relationships don’t tell your current man how much better anyone you were with in the past was at anything. If there is something your ex could do your partner can’t that’s great, they are still your ex for a reason. Don’t share your comparison out loud (really you shouldn’t compare at all) because all you are going to do is hurt your partner.
Don’t share THE NUMBER. Don’t lie, but honestly this is a conversation most adult relationships can avoid. It isn’t necessary, and one person is going to leave the conversation not feeling too great.
What You Shouldn’t Ask
Women are virtually detectives in relationships. We want to know everything. And, once we know it, we sit back analyze it, discuss it with a friend or two, and then return with follow up questions. First, resist the urge to interrogate. You are not a detective, and your boy friend is not under arrest. Next, do not ask him any question you are not ready to answer, fully and honestly, yourself. While we are at, don’t ask him a question you don’t actually want the answer to.
As for the fine details, the same rules above for you apply to him, if you shouldn’t tell, don’t ask him to share. What about the things he must tell you or should tell you? Start by giving him the time and space to tell you when he is ready. If he hasn’t shared information with you and you feel you have reached a point where you need to know, then by all means ask him.
But, until you need to know, give him the time to tell you in his own way and his own time.
Some Final Tips
Pick the right place and time to share your secret. When you are out with friends or in a public setting, that is not the moment to let your deepest secrets come tumbling out. Neither is when you are drunk. Part of having a mature adult relationship is having mature adult conversations. Make sure you are in the right place to have that conversation.
Don’t save important conversations like these for right before bed, or as one of you is heading out the door. Make sure you both have the time to sit down and talk. Don’t be surprised if once you open up and start sharing your secrets if your partner also opens up and starts sharing his. Knowing you trust him enough to share something that was secret makes it easier for him to trust you. So be ready to listen to him.
Usually the advice goes something like trust your gut, in this case, just because you want to blurt something out, don’t. Stop and think about it, before you trust your gut check with your heart and your mind. If all three agree, then share.