My last two blogs, Can I trust you part I and II, I spoke of the importance of trust in any given situation especially in relationships. In the end, I mentioned I would dig deeper into secrets or keeping secrets that can lead to the lack of trust developed between individuals.
One thing I’ve realized as I share through my writing is that I may not always go deep and share how things affect me at the core. There is so much conversation about being transparent and full disclosure, but I don’t believe that we (all, collectively) actually practice true, full disclosure in real life. Yes, we share parts of ourselves that show a certain side or persona, but just enough to get a reaction and nothing too deep or adverse. We show enough of ourselves so that others see us in a positive light. Nothing wrong with that.
But what happens when we look deeper? Are there things we wouldn’t share or talk openly about? A conversation? A text message? A phone call? A meeting with a secret admirer? Are there things that we would only share with our “girlfriend” or “BFF” and not with our partners?
I get it though. There are some things that aren’t relevant and do not impact or have any bearing or its effect on a relationship.
But guys, think about this. Would you go home and tell your wife about the secret crush you may have on an employee at the office? Or ladies, do you find yourself looking for attention from others because you aren’t getting this from your partners and are you sharing what you’re doing to get this needed attention?
I think it’s become incredibly easy to create opportunities for people to check out what’s happening on the other side of the fence. Is the grass really greener? And are we actually seeing grass or turf?
Look at what we’ve created with social media. A way to connect with people from all over the world. Some from our past and others, complete strangers, in the hopes of developing some connection. There is a new term being used; “backburner” relationships/friendship/partners. These “backburner” partners are typically close friends or ex-partners. These relationships are kept on a digital “simmer-setting” ready to be warmed up if their current relationship cools down.
There’s research conducted by the Indiana University and agency, OnePoll that suggests that as many as half of all women using Facebook have a back-burner beau if their current relationship fails to thrive. You can read the details of this study here.
I don’t think most people share this sort of detail with their partners. If they did then it would not be considered a form of infidelity. Here is one way to know if you are treading thin ice. Ask yourself: Would I share this conversation I am having (regardless of where it happens) with my partner? If the answer is no, then you are stepping into the realm of infidelity and harboring these secrets.
I believe we all have secrets. Some more than others. I’m not being cynical here … really.
In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in May 2017, it showed that each of us carries on average 13 secrets; the most common are:
60 percent – a lie or financial impropriety
47 percent – a violation of trust
33 percent – theft, a hidden relationship, or discontent at work
The point I am making is that maybe we aren’t as transparent and open as we really claim to be.
If I look back on my life, I have to admit that I had and have secrets. With my family, my parents, my child, and those I have loved while in a relationship. It is pretty painful to go through life and bottle everything up inside and not share some of my intimate thoughts and feelings. I suppose I can excuse why I did this, but I cannot excuse the outcomes especially in my relationships.
Looking back I can see how I caused pain to those I loved and how I hurt people around me by not being more transparent. Although it was never intentional, it happened none the less. My realizations have been overwhelming over the past few months.
Relationships, Love are not easy. The feeling of blissful love may at times be accompanied by doubt, potentially prompted by thoughts, a text, and email … what do we do with this? Do we share it and become vulnerable with the potential of being criticized or judged for the things we think of?
Finding, falling and being in love are the greatest gifts we can receive as humans. But love is fragile and needs to be tended to daily and treated with care. If two people truly love each other the faults and blemishes that appear over time will mean nothing relative to the foundation that was built to support the love. A quote from the movie Meet Joe Black exemplifies what I’m saying here: “Quince: Because she knows the worst thing about me and it’s okay.”
The burden of secrets weighs on us, even when there’s little danger that they will be uncovered. When I started writing these past few posts, I had no idea I’d be writing about trust and secrets in relationships. That’s the beauty of writing, it somehow can lead you to a place of learning unknowingly. I am slowly discovering a life of freedom that is liberating because I do not have to hide who I am. The Bible says to speak the Truth and The Truth shall set you free … and it is true.
Harboring a secret or having to lie about any given thing places a burden on the individual lying. The one lie then leads to others to cover up the first and so on. Keeping all this bottled inside will eventually create resentment that can’t be expressed which then creates a safe harbor for disease.
Is it worth it? I do understand there are so many things to consider when we talk about sharing our thoughts and events with our partners, but ultimately, if we live this open life in an honest and transparent way, we are blessed in ways we cannot see today. I believe deep down that two people can be closer than ever imagined … and that is a part of true love.
What secrets are you holding on to?