Anyway, preparing for and looking forward to all these weddings has got me musing and lately I’ve been thinking about secrets and the issue of trust, especially amongst people with strong emotional ties this includes traditional romantic couples, besties, BFFs, buddies, hommies, dawgs, crews, family, you get the idea. I’ll try as much as possible to refrain from quoting the opinions of “experts” in this field and just go with my own observations. As much as possible I’d love to hear your views on the matter.
Everybody’s got secrets. Even God has secrets, it takes digging and revelation for Him to reveal His to you, but I digress. My point is that everyone has things about them that remain unknown or hidden. And when it comes to handling secrets, especially in romantic relationships, people have different opinions. Let me address the two most common opinion camps.
There are those who insist that a relationship should be void of secrets. That both partners should be open about everything with one another, bare each other’s baggage and deal with them otherwise that relationship is flirting with mistrust and probable disaster should one partner turn out to have a dank smelly bone filled cupboard.
Then there are those who insist that everyone is entitled to their secrets. That some secrets are better left secrets because they do more harm than good if they are revealed; that some baggage are better left behind and unopened; if you know the contents of your cupboard are going to scare the crap out of your partner –possibly send them packing – then why open it at all? If it’s in your past –as most secrets tend to be – then your partner should be able to trust that it will remain in the past. There’s that word again, Trust.
So I asked myself; say for instance a young man had an affair with a married woman in his youth which he ended long before he met his girlfriend/fiancé/spouse, does he tell her about it? Or does he bury it? For my female readers, flip that scenario around and ask yourself the same question. Or say he cheated on his wife/girlfriend and later broke it off, does he keep it a secret or does he tell? Female readers please do the same with this question.
As to where I stand, personally I think people need their secrets (but then again you have to remember that I’m fairly weird) I think there are secrets you tell and there are those you carry to your grave, those kinds of secrets that remain between you and God. To a large extent secrets offer safety and help you maintain some level of control over your life and even a offer a blanket of safety for your relationship – because let’s face it, sometimes ignorance is bliss. I should admit though, that my stance could change in the future, maturity and all that.
I can understand those though who feel the need to tell all – and I know a few – there’s a certain liberation that comes from knowing that you have nothing to hide from your partner and especially, trusting your partner to be able to handle them all. It’s beautiful when it works out especially if you have some serious stinkers you’ve been hiding; but then you need to remember that you’re dealing with human beings. We’re consistently inconsistent and an understanding partner today could become vindictive tomorrow.
Take the scenario I painted two paragraphs ago, chances are if something like that happened, your closest(s) friend will know about it almost immediately, but it’ll be damn near difficult to tell the person who’s going to be significantly affected by it. Secrets and trust don’t always go together because they are largely opposites. Trust implies well…trust, openness, vulnerability, maybe even faith in the other person’s love. Keeping your secret on the other hand doesn’t necessarily imply mistrust or lack of faith, just a desire not to test the strength of the trust that already exists. You don’t know how he/she will react; you don’t know how it affects your relationship both now and in the future.
So, to tell or not to tell?