We don’t leave crushes behind in our teenage years. However, as adults, we also don’t tend to doodle the initials of our crush onto notebooks or talk at length about them to our friends. This zone of exclusion also extends to partners. After all, it’s tantamount to admitting how you were thinking of someone else last time you were together….
Some people might think it’s an over-used phrase. However, if you really think you’re so emotionally or psychologically reliant on your partner that you can’t live without them, you’ll keep that thought to yourself for fear of scaring them off. Of course, they probably already know anyway.
New life fantasies
Do you have an immaculately-furnished city center apartment? Or a tiny ocean-side retreat? Whatever and wherever it is, you only ever go there alone – and only ever in the privacy of your own head. In fact, so private is this new life fantasy, you’ll never share it with your partner.
It doesn’t matter how old you are: everyone gets the occasional celebrity crush. Mostly, it’s a harmless indulgence. With no fear of ever meeting – or, at least, of ever getting together – with the object of your affections, you can let your imagination run wild. And the scenarios you dream up are definitely not for sharing with your partner!
Whether you’ve taken drugs in the past or you’re a current user, unless it’s a habit you share with your partner, you’ll keep this part of your life to yourself. This might be out of shame, a desire not to revisit the past or an inability to face reality.
Favorite TV show
Sure, you might have a particular show that you call your favorite – but what’s your real favorite? It’s the one you watch when no one’s home, when you have the remote control, the sofa and the refrigerator all to yourself. Sharing your love – even with your partner – might dilute the magic.
You must have heard about emotional affairs – but have you ever had one? Have you ever crossed that invisible line and taken someone else as a confidante in a relationship that was a love affair without the physical contact? If you have, it’s a safe bet you didn’t tell your partner.
Poor performance at work
Occasionally, you hear of someone who’s fired from work and doesn’t tell their partner. Instead, they pretend to continue going to work – sometimes for months. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it! Or is it? Isn’t it just a slide along a continuum? After all, if your boss is unhappy with your current performance, you’ll not be in a hurry to share the news with your partner.
Planning a proposal
Unless it’s a spur of the moment question, most people plan an engagement proposal well in advance. Time, location and perhaps somewhere unexpected to conceal the ring may all be carefully planned. If you’re going to this sort of effort, it makes no sense whatsoever to spoil the surprise and tip off your intended before popping the question.
Financial secrets can be some of the biggest. Credit card debt, personal loans, treasured items taken to pawnbrokers: even if you’ve admitted some of it to your partner, you almost certainly won’t have admitted to the full extent. That’s not necessarily out of an intention to deceive. Instead, it’s often because you can’t bear to admit it to yourself.
When your partner heads off to bed, perhaps you mumble something about how you’ll be along shortly. Maybe you even mean it. However, in the morning when you’re partner asks what time you finally came to bed, you’ll fudge the answer, not wanting to admit that you spent another two hours watching YouTube, playing Candy Crush or deep-cleaning the kitchen.
Not so long ago, it was considered bad form to discuss who you voted for, even with your spouse. Nowadays, on the other hand, the majority of people seem very open about political allegiances and voting choices. If, however, you know your party politics are very different direction from your partner’s, maybe you disguise the depth of your feelings for the sake of your relationship.
Is your partner hunting for their favorite (and, in your opinion, horrible or long past its best) shirt? Assuming it really didn’t get lost at the dry cleaners, you’ve probably taken the initiative and thrown it out. And, like thousands of other partners before you, you’ll never admit to it.
Parents always love their kids – right? And they always like them too? OK, that second question might be a little harder. If your kid sometimes reminds you of one of your partner’s less attractive habits, you’re not going to tell either your kid or your partner, are you?
You already know that half the world will laugh at you and the other half will wish they were brave enough to have done the same thing. However, if you do take the leap and get your first tattoo, you’re not quite sure which camp your partner will fall into. That’s why you won’t tell them until – and if – you get inked.
If it’s hard admitting to yourself that your career isn’t what you’d hoped for, it’s harder admitting it to your partner. On one hand, they might agree, which will make you feel worse. On the other, they might come up with possible solutions that just leave you feeling very tired and past-it. And, so, you won’t mention how you’re feeling.
The big “O”
Statistics tell us that just about every woman has done it. Yes, we mean faking it. However, did you know, it’s not uncommon for men to do the same thing? And, although relationship counsellors and sex therapists would surely advise otherwise, no one admits to it.
If you’re unhappy with your weight, perhaps your partner knows all about your feelings. However, if you’re unhappy with their weight, you won’t be so candid. Yes, you might subtly try to introduce a new healthy eating regime or suggest you go to the gym together but explaining why is a no-no.
We all have them – and sometimes we share them with our partner. However, if they’re social prejudices we know we shouldn’t hold and where we’re perhaps trying a little self re-education, there seems little to gain from sharing the situation with a partner or other loved one.
Running away fund
Not everyone has one but, if you do, sharing the existence of your running away fund with your partner defeats the object of having it. Whether you fully intend to use it as soon as possible or it’s a back-up you can’t imagine ever needing, you’ll keep it secret.
Obviously your partner knows what you eat when you’re together. However, do they know what you eat when you’re not? If your preference for an easy and tasty meal for one is peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches, tinned chicken curry with grated cheese, or cold mushroom soup, you’ll swerve the mocking and keeping the menu to yourself.
What you think about before you fall asleep
If the time between closing your eyes and falling asleep is the first time you get to yourself all day, it’s even more precious than it is to the average person. How you choose to fill the time – list-making, day-dreaming, reciting favorite poems or song lyrics – is not for sharing with anyone. And that includes your partner.
You might desperately want to share your love of – and need for – cross-dressing. However, worry about your partner’s reaction and worry about what it might mean for the future of your relationship is a very effective silencer. For now, you’ll continue to wait until everyone’s out of the way before you put on your other identity.
If your partner is also a night owl, there’s nothing to explain and nothing to keep secret. If, however, their bedtime is hours earlier and they’re sad or insulted if you don’t join them, you may have a problem. Potentially, you may find yourself sneaking out of the bedroom once they’re asleep or finding excuse after lame-sounding excuse to avoid going to bed at all.
No matter how difficult your parents are, your partner’s parents represent trickier territory. While you’re probably comfortable criticizing your own parents, although not necessarily to their faces, it’s much harder to contemplate giving your partner’s parents a similar share of criticism. The potential for offence and upset is so great that giving a watered-down version of how you really feel seems like the safest option.
Lucky you if your partner loves your dog as much as you do. When it comes to dogs, if you can’t deal in absolutes, you have a potential problem. If you’re with someone who’s lackluster about dogs while your four-footed pal is your best friend, you’ll deal with the situation by not revealing the strength of your feelings.
Desert island castaways
When the idea of desert islands come up, you probably imagine yourself cast away alone with just a pile of books and perhaps a cardboard cut-out of your favorite celebrity crush for company. If you had to pick a Man Friday companion – and it wouldn’t be your partner – you’re relieved the hypothetical nature of the questions means you can safely keep the answer to yourself.
Unless your relationship is already on the rocks, there’s only one answer if your partner asks if they need cosmetic surgery. (And, note, there’s a difference between “need” and “want”.) Whatever you really think, if you value the relationship, you’ll say “no” – and then support them in whatever they decide to do.
If you’re one of those people who gets up early so you can start the day at your own pace before anyone else is around, you’ll be reluctant to share the joys of 6 a.m. You’ll be so reluctant, in fact, that you won’t ever explain just how wonderful it is to have the house to yourself.
Your friends have almost certainly expressed an opinion on your partner. Perhaps it was something they said a long time ago. Perhaps they were drunk when they said it, or they’d just had an argument with their own partner. Whatever the circumstances, if their comment was less than flattering, it stays secret from your partner.
Everyone has a favorite outfit. If you’re lucky, your partner likes your favorite outfit as much as you do – or do they? Think about your partner’s favorite outfit. Perhaps you honestly love it as much as they do but, if you don’t, you can’t acknowledge your feelings out loud without hurting their feelings.
If you take on someone with kids, you’re starting a relationship with more than one person. However, even if you ultimately become a stepparent, you’ll still find that there’s a line between the words “step” and “parent”. Some things will never be your responsibility and some truths will never be yours to speak.
Have you recently bought a bright red sports car? Got a hair weave? Booked a pole dancing class? You’ve probably explained it away to your partner as a need for a new car, being tired of going bald, or a wish to mix things up on the exercise front. One thing’s for sure: you won’t admit that it’s your advancing age that’s prompted the decision.
Parenting: the in-law way
Maybe it’s your mother-in-law insisting your two-month old baby needs solids. Perhaps it’s your father-in-law feeding ice cream to your toddler right before lunch. Possibly it’s your sister-in-law’s kids never going to bed and not eating anything they’re given. Whatever irks you, sharing your ire with your partner would be like a personal criticism. You’ll pretend everything’s fine for just a bit longer.
If you didn’t want an affair, you’d hold off starting anything with your crush and leave your partner first. However, that would be like jumping into the lifeboat before you knew the ship was definitely going to sink. You’ll wait this one out and see what happens.
Kindles and Spotify
Aside from all that space-saving, one of the beauties of technology is the ability to hide what you’re really listening to and reading. Unless you share Kindle libraries and Spotify playlists with your partner, you can read and listen safe in the knowledge no-one will judge you or mock your choices.
Compromise is difficult if you and your partner have radically different tastes in interior design. Perhaps you find that compromise in each choosing the furnishings and décor for different rooms. If so, it might seem churlish to criticize what your partner picks for, say, the living room. Apart from anything else, it opens you up to criticism on your choices.
We all have something we’re ashamed of. Even if it’s from the dim and distant past, some actions never quite leave us. And rightly so: they help keep our conscience alive and deter us from making similarly unwise choices again. However, none of that necessitates sharing a shameful secret with a current partner.
Time-out in the car
No, this isn’t anything dodgy. Rather, it might be driving along the highway with the windows up, the radio blasting and you singing your heart out. Alternatively, perhaps it’s a quiet ten minutes sat in the car in the driveway or garage before coming into the house and re-entering the maelstrom of family life. Either way, it’s noone’s business but your’s.
If, every year, your beloved either buys you the same thing for Christmas or gets you something very similar to last year’s gift, they’re either totally lacking in imagination or they genuinely think you really like their choice. Telling the truth isn’t worth seeing the smile fade from their face as realisation dawns that you’ve been feeding them white lies for years.