Let's say you found out your spouse/significant other (long-term) had been keeping a secret about him/herself from you.
Something they could easily have come clean about at any time, but did not.
Would you be more disturbed by the secret itself?
Or the fact that s/he has been holding this information inside for years?
How would you handle it?
Hmm...I really think it would depend on the secret. The more serious and consequential it is, the more upset I would be.
But I don't like secrets. therefore, I keep none of mine from my SO. This may seem as too open about myself, but I'd rather them know all about me, all at once. Saves them from the shock factor later.
I'm with you 10000% on that AshtonFirefly!
Better to lay all your cards on the table up front and let the SO decide if s/he wants to stay in the game. Then they can't come back to you later and say, "If I'd known then what I know now I never would have....."
Thanks for commenting.
I usually have kept it until such time I can 'unobtrusively' mention it. For example, let's suppose that SO had been in jail, and never told you. Then you're watching this TV show and you turn and say, "Let me ask you, is jail really like that?" And suppose you get the...'how would I know?' and bored you say, "Because you were there." If you carry it off just so the SO will think you have super powers or something and after might say, "How long have you known?" and you say, (shrug) a while. Can't recall when..." as if its not important.
In this way you aren't asking, you're telling, and then can see how the SO deals with it; i.e. "I thought if you knew you'd leave me in a second..." or "I am so ashamed I can't talk about it..."
After all, the SO is, alas, only human.
That's assuming, of course, you have calmed down sufficiently to be able to be so cavalier about the news.
Gauging the SO's reaction is a big part of this, isn't it?
If the response is anything like pajamazzon's man's, you know you need to get the hell out of Dodge.
But if the response is remorseful, that's different.
1eyler, you are one wise pup!
Ah! Thats a double edged sword! To tell him/her or not.
But then again, Does he Need to Know Everything?
Depends on the secret. If it was something deterimental to me, it would be disturbing. Otherwise I respect everyone's right to privacy as well as their right to keep information to themselves. Sometimes it is best if we do not know everything about each other!
Agree some things are best left unshared.
I've always erred on the side of TMI, myself, tho.
In this scenario, what if it's a basic fact about someone's background that s/he portrayed to be a certain way but it turns out is not true?
Not detrimental to the other person (spouse/SO) but a misrepresentation of one's own background.
1. The SO fails to reveal that s/he was married previously
2. The SO fails to reveal that s/he has been in jail
3. The SO fails to reveal that s/he has a child (no possibility the child will come be part of current family)
4. The SO fails to reveal that s/he filed for bankruptcy
5. The SO fails to reveal that s/he is an illegal alien
6. The SO fails to reveal that s/he did not graduate from high school
7. The SO fails to reveal that s/he owed the IRS $50K
As I see it, the subject of the secret is less important than the carrying of such a burden and not feeling safe to share it.
But that's just me...
Depends on whether she still owes the IRS 50 grand!
OMG! Are you talking about my Dad? Seriously, he committed 3 1/2 of the 7 above... The one about owing money wasn't to the IRS.
Those are pretty big secrets by themselves, but add them all up and it's a doozer. Coming clean is part of making change in my eyes. If (s)he's still hiding this information, it doesn't seem this person is trying to better him or herself. And what else is this individual hiding?
I was just giving hypothetical scenarios of A secret the person could be hiding. It never occurred to me that one person could be 'guilty' of more than one. But of course -- that makes perfect sense.
Sorry it's your dad, tho!
Your reaction is kinda what I was thinking, too. Once you blow the cover off a doozie of a secret -- even if it's only one -- you have to wonder what else is lying festering under that scab. If s/he lied about this one thing, what else about him/her is also not what it seems??
Oh what a tangled web we weave...
Finding out that your SO had once had a sex change I guess would be an interesting scenario
As you said.. it was by their choice that they did not disclose the facts, for whatever reason... it clearly indicates that trust is absent. What sort of relationship is it if no trust can exist? Ditch them.. they are not worthy of you and they are (by choice) insincere! The insult is that they CHOOSE to mislead you! Walk away - quickly!
Depends on the secret, I would not have a problem with most secrets. I would imagine that most likely he would not tell me because he would think I would think less of him.
So unless the secret is that he is a murderer or a dead beat dad from years ago I guess I could live with almost anything.
I mean if it is in the past before I met him, what could i do about it anyway right.
One secret that really bothered me, not because it was sinister, but because I thought my boyfriend was trying to act like someone else.. was the fact that when he was with me, he proclaimed to love country music. (I love heavy metal).. When he was not near me or thought I couldn't here him.. he was a very serious rap lover... the hard core Little Wayne stuff. He kept it private because he didn't want to offend me but the fact that he tried to "hide" his music tastes, it made me question his integrity. There is a lot to be learned in these little secrets.
I think the one thing that we fail to do is see the real person. We get married and the routine of life starts, and over the years we see what we want to see. The funny thing is that we are the first to spot a problem with someone else's relationships. When we first meet our SO we find out their background etc, then we see the 'surface' of the person over the next few years. bit like looking at the front and back cover of a book, we forget that they can have secrets. That's why its such a shock when we finally find out that they have one. Sometimes its so shocking that we can't walk away because we ourselves are in so much shock we end up a fugue state. Sorry, just talking from experience.
Sounds like the voice of experience, Nell.
Fugue state is a good word for it.
Once we are fully invested in someone and intertwined with them through years of togetherness and shared life experiences, it's much harder to change the status quo than to accept/forgive the secret.
If it is a long term relationship you have put most of your life into I don't think you ever get over it. How could you? Yes you must accept it and learn to live with it but does the shock and pain ever end? If you deeply loved this person, how could it? There should never be secrets with any couple living as one.
We and HAL has had many discovery of many secret. We can has overcome these many secret by way of many free blackforest cake.
We can has gluten free blackforest cake.
I think it certainly depends upon what the secret is. I just wrote a Hub about Celebrity Divorces in 2011. Do you remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger kept a secret for 13 years that he had fathered a child by the woman who had been and still was the family's housekeeper? Now there's a secret no woman could live with. Maria Shriver said goodbye.
The secret he was holding that he's married. He and his exwife aren't together anymore after we met, she was initiating the divorce. How did i find out about it? It was after i gave birth on our daughter where in his Aunt came in for a visit at the hospital, she said " you know, you're much nicer than his wife" and i was shocked, to be honest there aren't any evidence lingering in his apartment.
When i confronted him, he said he kept it from me because he knows i don't date married men and he didn't say anything at all so he'd have me.
I was very upset of course and to think i just gave birth to our daughter makes me think i'm stupid. The secrets didn't stop from there, the secret purchases of things, because he like to go shopping for himself, money he has in the bank, his salary. He gets mad and doesn't admit i found out all these things. He is often defensive about his things, telling me its his money.
I gave up on him 2 years ago. The more secrets, the more lies ,the more you think your relationship is a big LIE. I already have not so good communication with my mother, i get burdened with someone who has the same thing as my mother! What gives?
I forgave him for being married, i hope that someday we'd get married..His secret is NEVER.
You absolutely did the right thing to send this man packing! This man was living a double life and this is a classic symptom of a sociopath. Sociopaths are incapable of love.
@Mighty Mom : Yes it was a bummer. The moment i talked to him, he told me that i will understand sooner or later why he kept it from me, to him, its no big deal, but i cried very hard when i learned about it. He's not sorry about it, absolutely.
@Aunt Mollie: Thank you, i really got tired about the lies. His exwife sent him a copy from the psychiatrist which both of them attended so they can pursue the annullment case, It was stated that he has a narcissistic disorder.
On the one hand, I have no real problem with some types of secrets. In fact, I hate it when people feel that have to share each and every little thing with their SO. I don't think people ought to feel as if they can't have "the right kind of" secret if they want to.
On the other hand, not all secrets are equal. Some, if revealed, would amount to be deal-breakers for some SO's, and I think (fair, unfair, or otherwise) people should respect the SO enough to give him/her the chance to "break the deal" if the secret is a big enough problem for him/her.
The person who, say, has been in prison shouldn't be with someone who would have a problem with that anyway; so, as far as I'm concerned, being honest and respecting the other enough to give him/her the chance to decide what, if anything, he wants to do is a win/win situation (even if it means ending the relationship). I've read that real love HAS to include respect for the other person. It's not respect for the other person to keep SOME secrets. It's also not respect to let the other person go blindly into a less-than-ideal relationship because one "just decided" it wasn't worth risking the relationship by telling. If I discovered that an SO had a big secret (after I was long into the relationship), my big issue would be feeling as if I'd discovered his lack of respect for me and my right to make an informed decision about my own life. (So - Of course, lack of respect is one of my "big things", so there'd be a good chance I'd walk (not because of SOME secrets but because of the lack of the respect from Day 1 on).
If you're into the relationship for a long time (like years) it's a lot harder to extricate yourself.
But it does show a lack of respect, doesn't it?
It says, I know you would not approve of this behavior of mine but I don't respect you enough to let you make the decision about how much it really bothers you. I am going to summarily make that decision for you and cross my fingers that you never find out.
Any way you slice it, the secretive one is usurping control from their partner.
I guess banking on the fact that their partner will grow to love them sooooo much they will overlook their little secret.
There's a whole lot of stuff I wouldn't care about when it comes to an SO, but lack of respect for me, and for my right to make my own informed decisions pretty much says "unhealthy version of love" to me. If I were in a long-term situation I may not leave if it was too complicated to do that, or if it would cause all kinds of upheaval to, say, a family; but I'd stay on the terms that I had essentially written off the idea of anything but I'd stay knowing that the relationship would never be a whole, healthy, one - and I'd come to terms with that.
I might be pretend that most was well, but the lack of respect thing would deaden a lot that shouldn't be dead in a relationship. I see this thread comes under "forgiveness in relationships"... I can forgive what isn't intentional. I see no reason people should forgive what it is intentional.
Of course, for other reasons, I've essentially been robbed of having my life my way, complete with the same rights that everyone else has) for the last twenty years; so I don't have a lot of tolerance for other people's screw-ups at my expense. (MM, on an unrelated and personal note, I just saw a new attorney today and have another's phone number to call tomorrow.)
I always appreciate your honesty and know there is a very personal undercurrent to your comments.
I am encouraged to hear you have a new expert on the case. My best to you for vindication -- I hope your new lawyer is a rabid bulldog. And I mean that sincerely and in the nicest possible way!
Depending on how exciting a life you've lived (or the SO has lived) there's a whole heap of stuff you won't know, because it won't come up. You meet the SO here and you're into this and that and the other thing and get married and it just so happens that when your SO was 14 years old (fill in some kind of crazy adventure) or when your SO was 17 (fill in some unbelievable action) and since he's been 18 he's lived over there doing nothing but same old same old.
And at the age of 29 you meet...
by then the SO has opened a business and the only things in the mind are the business.
And you happen to find out ....
If I had to sit here and write down people I've met, things I've seen, done, almost did, might have been thought to have done, I'd never get up and I'd leave out stuff...
I can't give you my full unabriged biography, and for many people it's not important. I can think of long stories in which students were arrested, charged, convicted, conviction over turned on appeal, and years and years later the students are perfectly boring adults...do they even remember what happened?
I wasn't referring to an "unabridged biography" by any means (and I do think people shouldn't feel as if they have to share absolutely everything). It's not about the unimportant stuff, and I don't even think it's about absolutely all the "important" stuff, as long as it isn't something that has even the remotest possibility of affecting the relationship or the person in question. The thing is, though, there are those important things that do have the potential of affecting someone else, or the relationship, later (even if a lot of people aren't very good at predicting unexpected consequences).
The kind of stuff I'm talking about is stuff a person just wouldn't forget. Even so, though, in the case of a youthful conviction (even one that was overturned - courts overturn things for reasons other than establishing innocence), I'd want to know what the conviction was. Was it something like demonstrating or was it armed robbery or a sex offense?
The demonstrating type of conviction isn't something I'd care about, but there's something questionable about the person who doesn't remember being arrested, convicted, and later cleared. Either the person had so many arrests/convictions in his background he couldn't remember each one (in which case I'd want to know that part of his background/youth); or else, maybe, he'd been such a drug user that I may not want him to be the future father of my children (because I might be worried that his drug use had led to chromosome damage in him).
Or, someone else I'd want to rule out as an SO might be the person who had on his mind only business. I'd want someone who had the mind that was capable of including stuff about his whole life - not just business. That's not a well balanced person, and if his mind was really capable of containing "the rest of his life and being" but he was only inclined to share his thoughts on business - then that's not someone I'd want to be in a relationship with either.
It really doesn't take a long story to say something like, "I had a horrible situation once, when the guy I dated stopped the car and went in and robbed a gas station. I was arrested and later cleared when it was proved that I didn't know he planned to do that." Or, it doesn't take a long story to say, "I was a big drug-user when I was young, and I got myself in a lot of trouble - but none of it was violent or had anything to do with any sex crimes.
I just don't buy the "I forgot to mention that I have a seven-year-old child out there somewhere, and that I'll never know" thing.
Depends on how much it matters and if it comes up. I live a very exciting life. I've done a lot of things, been a lot of places, met a lot of people. Even people I'm close to...
when I read this thread I'm like, am I supposed to call a meeting; "I will now reveal my biography, please remain seated during the presentation..."
The thing is, nothing in the past really effects me or my relationships. We all have baggage, whether an arrest for demonstrating, a disaster love affair, etc.
What one has to realise is how does this effect the relationship NOW.
Many things are not forefront of the mind or the relationship. Many people I know don't know anything about my familia situation. This is not because I am keeping secrets but because no one asks or it just doesn't come up and there's no reason to mention it.
I have known some people all my life and never knew that their father committed suicide, that they had a twin who was killed, that they fathered a child who was taken by the mother and they haven't seen either of them for twenty years and couldn't begin to know where to look...it doesn't come up.
It is not hiding. Hiding is if I am currently married, you think I'm single and we are engaged. Now I can't forget I'm married considering the topic is our relationship.
Hiding is if I am wanted in Texas for murder and you don't know I'd even been to Texas..(I'm making this up cause I've really never been to Texas).
Hiding is if all the money we are living on is coming from the Ponzi scheme I run in St. Lucia...(never been to St. Lucia).
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