Keeping secrets is almost universally regarded as a bad thing in a romantic relationship. Counselors and experts of all kinds in love and marriage emphasize the importance of complete honesty between partners who are committed and serious about their relationship. This dictum apparently is meant to be applied to literally everything, from the distant past to the present moment, and includes the lie by omission – if you leave something out it’s the same as telling a lie and being actively dishonest. Personally, my wife and I think that complete honesty is a wonderful thing for two people to aspire to, but is unrealistic in a day to day sense. Still, we hold it up as an ideal, and feel bad when we don’t quite measure up. But in reality, should there be no secrets at all? Would it be better to share everything in a relationship?
Should You Share Everything In the Bedroom?
When most people hear about the concept of full disclosure with your partner, they immediately think about sex and a person’s sexual history. Although things have certainly changed from generation to generation, this is still an area where experts disagree. There is probably room for a middle ground here, because after all, does your spouse really need to know the exact number of men or women you have been with? A rough estimate is usually sufficient to quell the queasies, and love conquers all in this regard. We also have a problem – if you can believe it in this day and age – of gender differences and perceptions. A man can boast of experience, but a woman generally should not. So much for honesty in the bedroom.
Another sore spot for those who favor the no secrets approach is in the area of finances. There are certainly differences in styles of handling present finances between couples, and some of these can test the limits of honesty. If you and your spouse keep completely separate accounts, are you free to spend your own money and not inform him or her about particular expenditures? A shared account is of course open for inspection by either party, and seems more honest. It’s also a problem when it comes to revelations about the past – was there a bankruptcy in your history, a foreclosure, or a default of some kind? These facts may be kept under wraps but they will come out eventually, in most cases. So for all you believers in sharing out there, be prepared to open your wallets and your credit reports.
We have all done things in our lives that we are not proud of, that we regret and wish we could change somehow or do over. But do we actually need to confess every moral mistake we have made, large and small, starting from childhood? Making amends to those who you may have hurt in some way is a great idea, but your spouse is not a priest, and some people simply can’t handle such information without it affecting them negatively. Again, it seems to be a matter of degree and specificity – you can absolutely admit to being imperfect and faulty, but you really don’t have to tell your lover about that time in first grade when you peeked in the girls locker room – do you?
Do you think that couples should share everything, or does every relationship need its secrets to remain healthy? When has sharing everything ever worked out well or gone seriously wrong for you? Share your thoughts and stories by commenting below!