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The Difference Between Privacy and Secrecy in a Relationship

Updated on November 25, 2010

Building Intimacy

Relationships build on trust. Without trust, there is no respect, and without respect there will not be intimacy.
Relationships build on trust. Without trust, there is no respect, and without respect there will not be intimacy.

Getting to Know Another Person

Relationships are about allowing someone else to know who you truly are. Everybody has flaws, everybody has insecurities, and different personas that they share on different occasions. When you are in a relationship with someone for a long time, you gradually start to see all of these different “sides” of him or her. You begin to understand the reasons for their behaviors, and not all of them are pretty. We are each distinct, separately functioning identities, but we allow someone in our lives to share in our joys and struggles. So, then, is a relationship about unrestrained communication, or should there be some privacy between a couple? I believe that there is certainly a need for privacy in a relationship, and I shall define the term how I mean it, but I do not believe that there is any place for secrecy . The difference should not be too hard to grasp by the end of reading this short article.

Privacy

Some people feel like they need to know everything about every element of their partner’s life. They want to know what their partner is doing, who they are with, and so forth. To be in a relationship like this feels stifling, and one may wish to break out of it from time to time to do things on his or her own - for instance to partake in a hobby. This is what I would define as healthy privacy. You should always aim to keep a sense of self in your relationship, which necessarily means that there are certain things that you simply do not discuss with your partner. Your partner is not your therapist – you do not need to dissect every problem with him or her. Share your life, by all means, but some details should be kept in your own heart and mind for the sake of the relationship. You do not need to create a huge problem out of something small by bringing it up with your partner.

We all go through private struggles – to do so is to live a human life. We get into relationships so that we can share our struggles and our joys with our partners. Privacy is necessary to overcome some problems on our own, but they become destructive when they become secrets. The key is to know the difference, and to be brave enough not to let the one slide into the other.

Secrecy

Ultimately all secrets are revealed. Covering up things with lies, or withholding important details, may destroy your relationship. Generally, it is always better to swallow pride, admit the truth and deal with it. Secrecy has no place in intimacy.

Are there such things as “good secrets”?

Sometimes. His receding hairline turns you off? Accept it gracefully. You have sexy feelings for some other, real, person? Just be more attentive to your partner (unless the behavior is repetitive, because that’s a character flaw of your own). Here is an interesting example for some mental mastication: it’s privacy when an ex sends you an email, it’s secrecy when you reply to it.

Further Examples

Are you pursuing a new goal at work? Great, that is something private that you can surprise your partner with once you have accomplished it. It will give you something to look forward to outside of your relationship, and will give you greater energy and joy to share with your partner. However, if the goal will have a more dramatic effect on your relationship, for instance a move to a new city, this is not something that you should be keeping from him or her.

Question to Ponder

If your partner cheated once, a long time ago, would you want to know about it?

See results

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    • profile image

      Bella 

      4 years ago

      Hi I asked my husband to us his phone this morning but soon as I opened it, it was a porn site up. I asked him have he been watching them he told me no. He lied right to my face about it. Now I've had a problem in the past about him watching it but he said he didn't have a reason why he did it. so I've recently found out I was expecting but also have been very sick so I haven't been into sex like I should I guess. But after he lied about watching he said you would rather me watch it then cheat right. I found him saying that to be very disrespectful. He says he only watched it because we don't have sex as often anymore. But in the pass we've always had sax and he still watched it.. But I asked him why would he lie about watching it and if he felt something was wrong with our sex life why wouldn't he talk to me about it. He say I over react to much.. And him watching porn is none of my business.. I think he's wrong for not talking to me .and keeping porn to his self is not his own privacy so he says. I think it's more of a Secret! Can someone help me understand?

    • profile image

      ayya 

      5 years ago

      On this subject of privacy and secrecy...my partner goes through my phone and found a pornographic video. As a male i just found meaningless fun in watching these type of videos even during highschool.My question is,is it ok for me to disclose to every partner that i date that i enjoy watching these videos? Is it not a private matter?

    • profile image

      abiscesee 

      5 years ago

      Our development team can develop most kind of cellular applications intended for android plus IOS program include samsung, iphone, ipod device, ipad plus mac book??. http://www.vancouverandroiddevelopment.com/

    • profile image

      Shu 

      5 years ago

      I'm completely torn with how to handle my situation. I am usually not an insecure person, however I consider myself cautious, which sometimes leads to suspicion and doubt that someone isn't being honest with me. My bf and I have been together only 9 months. My prior relationship of 5 years, my privacy was completely invaded constantly and has since made me more conscientious of the difference between secrecy and privacy. My current bf is showing signs of distrust. Meaning he is constantly on his phone (usually on silent), doesn't answer it sometimes at random when it rings, has females appear of his social media after declaring not to add people he doesn't know, and is VERY cautious about me seeing/knowing his password to emails, etc. I understand a need for privacy. However, my email/social media, texts, etc are always open for pretty much anyone to see. I have nothing to hide so I feel that leaving said things available to view completely alleviate any doubts that he may have and I guess I expect the same respect and consideration. Am I being unreasonable? The last thing that I want is to cross a line into his privacy. But taking the other things into account, I feel its more secrecy related than privacy-related. Does that make sense?

    • profile image

      Futamarka 

      7 years ago

      5. РАСТОЛСТЕТЬ И ПРИ ЭТОМ СЧИТАТЬ СЕБЯ СУПЕРМЕНОМ. Ничто так не раздражает женщин, как двойные стандарты в оценке внешности полов. Хотите, чтобы ваша дама считала вас сексапильным? Займитесь с собой. Не знаете как? Высококвалифицированные диетологи помогут избавиться от жировых запасов без вреда для организма. Женщины это оценят, ведь они большие эстетки и эти квадратики на животе их страшно возбуждают.

    • profile image

      mideAttadaY 

      7 years ago

      My spouse and i helpful to receive high on existence although recently We've built up a new amount of resistance.

    • relationshipblog profile imageAUTHOR

      relationshipblog 

      9 years ago from United States

      Hi Aasha,

      We do not believe that you are over-reacting at all, and we think that these matters should be spoken about until both partners are satisfied with the answers given.

      If it happens too often that one partner is suspicious of the other, then deeper issues need to be considered and dealt with. However, if this is an isolated case, then you should be given the time and support to work through your concern.

    • profile image

      aasha 

      9 years ago

      I am in a fabulous relationship.... Most of the time. However, my partner who has had a full and varied life, we first met over 24 years ago. We re-connected sometime ago. I digress! He has a tendency to be secretive, e.g. with emails in particular to women. Something came up this evening regarding an event he attended last year, we were together he went to another island and forgot to tell me about an event he attended. It came out a short while ago. We had a row and he has stormed off to bed. The event was particularly poignant as it was a spiritual one and that is what our relationship is supposed to be based on. I am hurt and disturbed.

      Am I over-reacting?

      Aasha

    • relationshipblog profile imageAUTHOR

      relationshipblog 

      9 years ago from United States

      You're welcome, I'm just glad I could put something valuable out! :) Any time.

    • profile image

      Way 

      9 years ago

      Thank-you! We managed to open up and really talk about how this problem affects our relationship. Ur post really helped us a lot!

    • relationshipblog profile imageAUTHOR

      relationshipblog 

      9 years ago from United States

      I would bring it up with him that it's making you feel uncomfortable, in an honest and sincere way. But try not to get yourself caught up in thinking about potentially hurtful situations that haven't even come to pass yet.

    • profile image

      Way 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for ur reply. I forgot to mention that we just re-located to this new city for 6 mths where we have only a few friends. ( I don't have any & I m currently not working either, he has friends from workplace n a few from his high school mates). So he's telling me that we should have separate group of friends and that it's okay that he don't have totell me if he made new ones. He also told me that he wouldn't check my facebook for new friends added because he trust me. I tell him everything even who I m messaging with on these social network. And he say I shld trust him more. Btw, I didn't check his facebook or blogs before. Am I doing anything wrong?

    • relationshipblog profile imageAUTHOR

      relationshipblog 

      9 years ago from United States

      I'm glad that you trusted your instincts about this.

      Remember, whenever you are in a relationship, you need to make sure that you are meeting all of your partner's needs (including variety, comfort and certainty, connection and love, approval and significance, etc.) If you feel that you are meeting all of these for him, then why would he need to go to someone else? It's very difficult for a man to not to be tempted, it's kind of genetically programmed for us to be, but it's not impossible either. Keep the lines of communication open, and keep loving with an open heart.

      I do believe that he is crossing the line however, if it is clear that you are uncomfortable about it.

    • profile image

      Way  

      9 years ago

      Hi,

      I just had an argument with my husband over the issue that he has recently make new friends of the opposite gender that I am unaware of. I found out about this girl when I went throughhis web browsing history record. I know I shouldn't be snooping around butmy sixth sense just tells me smth is wrong. Although I know he isn't cheating, I felt awful that I didn't know that about this new friend and it certainly feels fishy when he's hiding it on purpose. He tried to deny knowing her when I show him the website. He admitted in the end. He told me that nothing happened between them and he didn't tell me cause he thinks I will be paranoid over it. I confronted him n ask him if he's going to tell me about new girlfriends he meet up in the future, he replied that he feels that " meeting new friends (male/female)" is something private and he doesn't think it's necessary to tell me abt them. What should I do? I m certainly not comfortable that he is meeting new girls that I completely don't know like he is leading another life.

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