Shhhh…Keeping a New Relationship Secret

Shhhh…Keeping a New Relationship Secret

New relationships are exciting! Usually, we can’t wait to let everyone know, change our Facebook status and spend all our time with our new flame.

But sometimes just when you’re ready to make every profile picture be a couple shot, your partner stops you: “Let’s just keep this a secret between us.”

When a relationship’s secret, it might add to the excitement for awhile — you sneak around to new places, come up with secret meeting spots and maybe even have code names. Your relationship is something just the two of you share.

It’s understandable to want to wait a couple weeks before telling the world. However, if you or your partner wants to keep it a secret indefinitely, you might think twice about why you’re not ready to share.

I want to build a relationship without other people butting in.

This is a common excuse, but actually can have the opposite effect. When you’re not openly forming a connection, it makes it harder to lay a solid foundation as a couple. It also shows that both of you are good at keeping things from people, which doesn’t exactly build trust.

If you both don’t agree to keep the relationship secret, it’s a warning sign — one of you may be trying to gain power and control by isolating the other from friends and family.

I just broke up with my last boyfriend/girlfriend.

Again, if it’s right after a break up, you might want to give it a week or two out of respect for the ex. However, if it goes on any longer, there’s probably a different reason. Are they still into their ex? Do you really want to be with someone else?

When people really think about it, they often find they are keeping the relationship a secret because they don’t like the other person that much or knew they shouldn’t be together.

Eventually, the secret must come out.

If it doesn’t feel right to keep your relationship a secret, it probably isn’t. Communicate about your needs and know that if one of you is determined to keep the relationship quiet, it may be time to move on.

Keeping a relationship secret can have the same effects as hiding any other part of who you are — it can make you feel anxious, isolated, insecure or jealous. That’s not how a healthy relationship should make you feel.

What’s been your experience?

Have you or someone you know kept a relationship secret? Why? How did it turn out? Do you have advice for someone going through it?

Do you need to talk to someone about your secret relationship? Our peer advocates are here to chat 24/7!

Comment section

3 replies
  1. been in a relationship for a year and a half and it’s a secret …. we both are in agreement… We both hold positions of power in an organization and don’t want other’s who look up to us, feel differently about us, or whatever, it may hinder the goal of the group. I’ve been divorced 10 month and am gun shy about relationships and don’t want to jump the gun. We known each other for a large amount of years as friends. It seems to work. We have no anxiety over it. I’ve told my closest friends and family. I’m not sure who hes told or not told. Just sayin, if it works, it works. Why change anything.

  2. My ex was emotionally abusive and one of his forms of abuse was keeping our relationship a secret indefinitely. I didn’t realize at the time that this was how he could control everything in the relationship, and isolate me from my friends and family. He used the secret-ness to make-up/break-up every few weeks, and I would have no one to tell or turn to. I think this article is very good! Secrets may be okay for the very beginning of the relationship depending on the circumstances, but not for long! Careful with secrets!

  3. I’ve had experience with this and I just don’t think it’s ever a good idea. I dated a guy pretty recently and we were secretive about it for two reasons. One, we were co-workers and didn’t want to tell our supervisor unless we were both willing to commit as boyfriend/girlfriend. Two, he still hadn’t moved on from this ex and was even still talking to her. And just like this website said, I was SOOO anxious, insecure, and jealous all the time while we were dating. Even though our relationship wasn’t abusive at all, it WAS imbalanced. He had it his way of being able to see me without the commitment and everything that rightfully should be part of a healthy, respectful relationship. And what did I have? I had a broken heart after he ended it. Secrecy, in my opinion, is an indicator of immaturity and possibly abuse in the future.

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