When Keeping Your New Relationship A Secret Can Be Good
By Carrie Murphy; photograph by Jacques Weyers
Shhh…Here’s why these real women decided to keep their relationships quiet – and what to watch out for if you plan to do it too…
Celebrities are well-known for keeping new relationships on the DL to avoid paparazzi, rumours and rampant fan interest. (We’re looking at you, Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes.) But does this have any pay-off for regular people? We tend to think of secret relationships as a red flag for shame, guilt and baggage, but there are times when staying mum about your love can actually help a brand new couple.
While it may seem dodgy to keep your coupledom under wraps, there are some valid reasons to do so, explains relationship therapist Hilary Silver. “A few reasons a couple might choose to keep their relationship a secret could be if they work together, if they have family or friends who would disapprove of their relationship, or the obvious reason of it being an affair.” (Okay, so that last reason is kind of sketchy.) Here’s why these real women decided to keep their relationships quiet – and what to watch out for if you plan to do it too.
When Keeping Your New Relationship A Secret Can Be A Good Thing…
“We Were Testing the Waters”
It’s not a bad idea to make sure things are real or serious before blowing the lid off a romance. Katherine D, 36, began secretly seeing her almost ex-husband again after more than a year of separation. “We agreed from the beginning, almost immediately, that we wouldn’t tell anyone for a while,” she said. “We wanted to protect our space and privacy to figure things out, especially in case we decided not to pursue it further. It’s been almost two months and almost nobody knows!” She explains that she and her partner will probably decide to tell family and friends they’re back together – but on their own time table.
“We Were Nervous to Tell My Family”
Valentina Iricibar, 24, wanted to keep her new relationship under wraps because of her boyfriend’s close relationship with her family: “My boyfriend was my best friend before we started dating and he was close friends with my sister before that,” says Valentina. “As a result, my parents considered him to be like a son, so when we started dating, it was hard to gauge how my family would react and what would be the best way to tell them.” After a few months, they told their loved ones and reactions ranged from shock and surprise to outright indignation, but Valentina stresses that overall, everyone was positive. “Those who knew us realised we had always been good for each other,” she says.
If things are still new and a little tender, you’re well within your rights to proceed under a veil of secrecy with your new boo. Just be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, stresses Silver, and not because things might feel “easier or sexier than they might actually be in reality.”
One thing to watch out for is if your partner wants to continue hiding things, but you feel ready to reveal. You’ll want to make sure they’re keeping the relationship a secret for the right reasons – not because they’re being shady. “Relationships that begin in betrayal and deceit don’t often survive, so if either partner is being dishonest to others in their life, it can potentially damage the trust between them,” says Silver.
Clear, open communication about how long things should stay secret will help make the situation healthy for both partners.
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