5 Ways Secrets are Toxic to Relationships

Secrets can turn a healthy relationship toxic, like real fast. Although, not all secrets are bad secrets. For example, surprising your partner with a weekend getaway. It’s in their favor and they will eventually be in on the action. It’s when a partner begins hiding things such as drinking, mental illness, finances, cheating, addiction + more that secrets become a major relationship issue.

Secrets can be in the form of lying, hiding, not disclosing and selectively sharing information. I’ve coached many clients who learned why their past relationships failed or why their current is struggling due to secrets. That’s why I came up with 5 ways secrets are toxic to relationships:

  1. Trust

The foundation of a relationship is trust. It begins with being open and honest. If you find you can’t trust your partner ask yourself, “what is it about their behavior that makes me feel this way?”

Once broken trust can be put back together but only with support from both partners. Yes, if you didn’t do anything wrong you still have part in moving forward. Although, it’s important your partner is willing to look at their behavior, acknowledge and work toward change. If not, it makes it very difficult to be able to continue growing the relationship.

  1. Communication

If someone in the relationship can’t express how they’re feeling with their partner then this is secretive by not disclosing feelings. This is a sign that they may not be emotionally available. A relationship is a two way street. To have a deeper understanding of one another both partners need to share their voice.

Here’s the catch, you can’t force anyone to speak. If you find yourself in a relationship where your partner is not ready to speak up there is nothing you can do about it. What you do have power over is focusing on your own communication. I devote an entire chapter to navigating what to say and how to communicate in my book Contagious Love.

  1. Self-Judgment 

We hold secrets because we are judging ourselves. For example, if someone cheats on you then it’s not about you. It is one hundred percent about them. Although, it’s easy to look inward when someone does this and wonder, “what’s wrong with me?”

Well, there is nothing wrong with you. Someone’s motives for being secretive have absolutely nothing to do with you. It’s important that in a relationship you create a boundary that you won’t take on their problem. This will help shift the focus away from self-judgement.

  1. Connection

True meaningful connection allows for there to be space for vulnerability. Sometimes a partner will hold a secret because they’re afraid of admitting that they have a problem. This disconnects both partners in the relationship.

When someone is being secretive it’s because they’re shutting off. It’s natural to feel the disconnection as a result. If you can’t be open and honest in your relationship then you’re not going to have as deep of a connection. It’s simple, but as complicated, but simple as that.

  1. Growth

There is no room for growth without honesty. Maybe you’ve recently found a partner has been secretive. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s doomsday, but it doesn’t mean you have to accept unacceptable behavior either. Instead, this is a great opportunity to grow together.

Keep in mind that both people have to be willing to put in the work to create roots for growth. This only works if the partner that has been secretive is open to looking inward and changing their behavior. This will either allow you both to work together as a team or hinder your progress.

Want more advice for your situation? Reach out for some tips: Yes, please!