Not sharing information or thoughts in a relationship might make your partner feel shut out, rejected, or insecure. On the other hand, sharing lots of information might create too much familiarity, cause “relationship claustrophobia”, and even lead to relationship depression. In most cases, couples usually have different approaches when it comes to privacy and secrecy. Let’s jump right in and explore all these differences.
Difference between Privacy and Secrecy
It’s easy to confuse privacy and secrecy. For most people, the line between privacy and secrecy is blurred. Privacy is essential in a healthy relationship. It’s not every detail you should share with your significant other, but secrecy, on the other hand, might hurt the relationship.
Something you want to keep private will not usually hurt your partner if they find out. You hold on to it because you want to keep some small part of personal information to yourself, even if it’s something like your bathroom schedule or you being a fan of kinky sex before you met. On the other hand, a secret will usually hurt your partner in a kind of way. It’s something you don’t want them to find out because it will cause them pain, or it will change how they view you, or it erodes their loyalty.
Whether something is a secret or not also depends on what your partner considers as “acceptable” or “not acceptable” to them. A conservative partner might be hurt by the thought of you practicing kinky casual sex, even though it was in the past. If you know it, and you know that it will hurt them if they find out, this becomes a secret. The very same thing might not hurt a less conservative person, so it becomes privacy.
What Motivates Secrecy?
Are you still having difficulty differentiating between privacy and secrecy? Then, it might help. Secrecy is usually motivated by feelings of shame and fear.
Think of that piece of information you’ve been keeping away from your partner. Does the thought of your partner finding out make you feel ashamed, mind-numbingly scared, or agitated? If the answer is yes, it’s probably a secret. You’re ashamed of what you did, and you’re scared of how your partner will react to that information, so you do everything possible to keep it away from them. Maybe, you hooked up with his best friend last week – that’s a secret. Or you masturbate using her sister’s pictures – that’s a secret. Or you had casual sex with that guy you met at the club.
Sometimes, the pain or disappointment is reduced when that disturbing information is voluntarily shared by the partner, not another person outside the relationship. Hearing it from someone else makes it look like you had no intention of ever telling them. And that might worsen the situation. A relationship with few to none secrets is healthier and less likely to be unexpectedly torn apart. That’s why you have to find a way to remove that weakness from your relationship and be honest with your partner as much as you possibly can.
Privacy or Secrecy: Social Media Passwords
Those three little words have made lots of relationships crumble into dust. How do you respond when your partner says they want your social media passwords? It feels like you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. If you say yes, you’re giving up your privacy. If you say no, you might end up getting that look, the one with eyes narrowed in suspicion and a downturned mouth.
You still need some modicum of privacy if you are in a long-term relationship or short-term relationship. It should be your partner’s choice to share their social media passwords. It should never be something they’re forced to do. At the same time, we have to understand people have different ideas about what should be shared in a relationship. What might seem like maintaining your privacy to you might reek of secrecy to them.
Calmly communicate your ideas of privacy to your partner. It will help to erase any doubts or assumptions about the reasons why you don’t feel comfortable sharing that password. If you are having difficulty with conveying the correct message and communicating itself, do a bit of research on how to improve communication in your relationship.
The Issue of Trust
Your partner might want to know your passwords or every detail of your life simply because they don’t trust you. The lack of trust in a relationship is like a huge crack between the two of you. It weakens the relationship considerably.
Your partner might not trust you because you did something to compromise that trust in the past, or it might be because they have “trust issues” that have nothing to do with you or your behavior. They just don’t trust anyone in general. Either way, you still need your privacy. It’s necessary, and it’s a basic human right. Without privacy, you tend to lose your self-identity. You need that time or space to be yourself without observation.
In a relationship, there might be a partner who struggles or finds it daunting to let their partner have a private life. They might throw a tantrum or use threats, or get very clingy and needy and make unreasonable demands. All this is a sign of insecurity and a deep-rooted fear of rejection. So they want to know everything and control everything. The only way to handle it is to get help on dealing with insecurities and tackle the problem at the root. Otherwise, those insecurities will gradually poison your relationship until there’s nothing good left behind.
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