What to do If Your Girlfriend Wants to Keep the Relationship Secret
Despite brimming with pride and a desire to share your partner with the world, you are informed she'd rather keep it between the two of you. What's going on?
Moving forward will require confronting insecurity and being honest, not only with your partner, but with yourself. Ultimately, out of love, fear or dependency, it can be all to easy to compromise too much and forget our own emotional needs.
In this article I will put a personal, subjective light on what I feel should be done to ensure that your emotional and mental sanity remain intact in the long-term. What keeping the relationship secret could mean, and what to do when you disagree without driving her away. The first step is to assess what facts we have, and move on from there.
Don't Jump The Gun
Before doing, saying or approaching anything, it is necessary to attempt to emotionally detach ourselves as much as possible from the situation and look at the facts. Consider the following questions:
- What reason were you given for the secrecy?
Often there are perfectly valid reasons for keeping the relationship a secret. A jealous ex, a particularly conservative family or restrictive social norms. However, due to the fact that you found this article I am going to deduce that you were not given a reason which entirely satisfied your emotional security.
The only way to retain trust is to approach the question head-on with your partner and ask them for transparency and patience. It is imperative not to feel guilty about doing this, even if it is for your own emotional well-being, if you are being asked to accept compromise, then they should also attempt to meet you halfway. Moving on within a cloud of self-doubt will only erode trust in the long-term.
- What does your gut instinct say?
Often our bodies are able to pick up non-verbal queues that were not communicated orally. If there is a discrepancy between her reassurance and her body language you'll get a bad "gut feeling" about her reasoning. I say this because most people often dismiss these feelings as insecurity when in actual fact there is something amiss, and your mind has picked up on it. The modern field of neuro-linguistics, with reference to it's work with flirting and body language can be particularly enlightening when applied to our own lives.
Typical Reasons Relationships Are Kept Secret
So, beyond security and trust, what are the statistically most common reasons for wanting to keep a relationship secret? Unfortunately, after having done a little research, I can say that the bad reasons seem to slightly outweigh the "good ones" (by good, I mean those which are understandable).
Some positive reasons:
- A temporary stage so that she can become accustomed to it.
- Legal reasons (or more aptly, financial reasons).
- An overly jealous and possessive ex.
- Religious and family oriented reasons.
Some of the less pleasant reasons:
- She may be embarrassed by being your girlfriend.
- She is not being honest about her relationship status, or could be dating others.
- Being overly insecure, she may feel that she will be negatively judged and so wishes to break the news slowly rather than shock her friends and family. I am labeling this as a bad thing because it may indicate emotional baggage.
- She wants the best of both worlds, the freedom of being single and the joy of being loved.
One Thing To Always Keep In Mind
Whether you are able to compromise or not, always bear in mind that a relationship must be something you are comfortable with. If keeping the relationship secret is something you are willing to accept because you assume it is temporary, then it may be acceptable. But if you are told that that secrecy is a long-term issue, no matter how much you love her, it may be unsustainable -- and you are simply prolonging and amassing a well of pain that will erupt in time.
These insecurities must be flattened out as soon as possible, relying on hope and teeth gritting will only lead to disillusionment and resentment in time as the pillars of any relationship begin to rot away (trust and respect).