We all have secrets that we choose not to share with others. But when it comes to your S.O., where do you draw the line? You might find that comfort in trusting your partner with your deepest, darkest secrets, but you also might prefer to keep those locked away. According to experts, that's fine, too. "There is a difference between secrecy and privacy," explains Dr. Rachel Needle, Psy.D, licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist. "It's not necessary to tell your partner everything, however, secrets can be incredibly hurtful and unhealthy for a relationship."
Bottom line: If you're hiding something that might come back to bite you, you'll want to consider coughing up the truth. "Trust is essential in an intimate relationship," Dr. Needle explains. "When it is broken, it is normal for a partner to feel betrayed—and earning that trust back takes time and can be difficult." To avoid risking a breach of trust and improve your chances of a healthy and happy relationship, here are some secrets you shouldn't keep from your spouse.
Past instances of abuse or addiction.
These topics tend to be the kind we'd like to bury forever, especially once we've come out stronger. But experts point out that, no matter how long ago these issues plagued you, it's important to come clean about them with your spouse. "Everything from eating disorders to drug addictions are serious medical issues that require long-term coping skills," says Lisa Bahar, L.M.F.T. and L.P.C.C., of Marriage and Family Therapy, Inc. "It's important that you feel comfortable with your spouse knowing about this part of your past for many reasons."
Financial issues or debt.
As much as you'd like to pretend it won't, your financial past can impact your current relationship, warns Dr. Needle. "Financial dishonesty is common and can lead to relationship dissatisfaction and feelings of betrayal." It's normal if you or your spouse entered into your relationship with debt of some kind, whether it was school or car loans or credit card debt, but it's important to be open about your financial situation.
Past or current legal issues.
You'll want to be totally honest with this one, even if it was something seemingly harmless. "While not every past poor decision needs to be shared with your partner, ones that can impact your life in some way, including past or current legal issues, should be disclosed to your partner," says Dr. Needle. "After all, it is better for you to share this information, and explain it, than to have your partner discover it on their own."
Certain feelings and emotions.
Communication is number one when it comes to the survival of any relationship, but this is especially true of romantic relationships. "If you keep your feelings in, especially feelings of anger and resentment towards your partner, they will likely build up and create a disconnect in the relationship," Dr. Needle warns. It's in your best interest to be as upfront and open as you can be, even about his poor folding skills and how he can't seem to load the dishwasher in a sensible fashion.