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The dangers of a secret relationship

by Eharmony Editorial Team - October 24, 2011

Most people don’t realise that keeping secrets can actually have a really bad effect on our psychological wellbeing. Here we explore why.

A secret relationship can be exciting, passionate and incredibly tempted, but is it really worth the risk? We take a look at the dangers of pursuing a secret relationship

In the beginning, a secret relationship can feel exciting and mysterious. You arrange dates outside your usual bars and restaurants and you put a fake name into your mobile phone so no-one really knows who’s calling. After a while, however, the secrecy of the relationship can become a chore. You’re forced to re-evaluate your reasons for keeping your secret and look at the cost of it on your wellbeing.

It can jeopardise the future of the relationship

When you keep your relationship a secret you prevent true intimacy from developing, and therefore running the risk of ruining the relationship before it really has a chance to begin. Relationships need firm foundations in order to thrive and one of the most important components of this is trust. If you are keeping your relationship secret, it shows that you are capable of hiding something from the people closest to you and therefore you may be capable of hiding other things from your partner.

It can damage relationships with other people when they find out

Often, a secret relationship is the product of fears that aren’t necessarily founded. Do you really think that the people you love won’t be supportive? Can you not imagine your friends and family being happy for you? It’s important to try and give friends and family the benefit of the doubt when it comes to secret relationships. The longer the relationship is kept a secret, the more likely it is that the other significant people in your life will be hurt when they discover the truth.

It can make you feel bad about yourself

According to psychologists, having a secret relationship may have the same detrimental health effects as hiding any other important aspect of the self. Hiding aspects of your life can cause you to feel paranoid, fearful and insecure at worst and, at best, separated and isolated from those who are closest to you.

You should examine why you and your significant other want to keep the relationship secret. Is secrecy really necessary? Sometimes it helps just to come clean if you are worried about what other people will think. You have to realise that the only thing that matters is how you and your partner feel about each other. Sometimes the reason for a secret relationship is down to the fact that you don’t really want to be together, or know deep down that you shouldn’t be together. If this is the case, you’re better off cutting your losses before anyone gets hurt.

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You may be going against your own values

Is it your idea or are you going along with it because your partner insists it’s what they want? If that is the case you need to examine the cost in terms of your self-esteem. Are they free to have a relationship with you or are they already married or in a committed relationship? Whatever the situation is, you need to check with yourself that you are not feeling compromised or pressured to get involved with something you are not comfortable about. It is your responsibility to look after yourself. If someone says they want to keep it secret at the beginning, make sure you agree how long the beginning will be, are we talking weeks or months, and why do they want to keep it secret? Secrets have an uncanny way of coming out and you need to be prepared for the consequences when your relationship comes to light.

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