If you don’t want your partner to keep secrets, say goodbye to these 10 behaviors

Many of the most promising relationships I have seen fell apart because of hidden secrets and a lack of trust. 

This is a very serious problem for many people, even those who are highly intelligent or have sharp emotional intelligence. 

Nonetheless, there is a tendency to fall into a pattern of hiding information or engaging in certain habits which make it more likely that a partner will keep secrets. 

If you want to avoid this happening in your relationship there are some key habits and behaviors to cut out of your repertoire. 

1) Keeping information from your partner

Whether it’s about small daily occurrences or significant life events, transparency matters. 

When you choose to keep information from your partner, you end up starting a pattern of censorship in the relationship. 

Even if you feel the information is unnecessary, confusing or upsetting to them, it is best to be forthright about whatever is going on.

This is advisable even if your partner insists on discussing problems you’re having or struggles you have difficulty in opening up about.

2) Breaking your word to your partner

Breaking promises damages trust in a relationship bit by bit. 

Plans change and that is obviously not always avoidable. 

But do your best to reschedule and explain what you are doing as things change. 

Breaking promises without following up on it will eventually lead to a breakdown of communication in the relationship and a much higher chance of your partner keeping secrets from you and becoming less trusting of you.

As Michael Gruen notes:

“Your word can’t just be a figure of speech. 

If it is, the foundation of any relationship is severely lacking in integrity and is inherently fragile.”

3) Dodging difficult conversations and topics

Talking about uncomfortable topics instead of avoiding them can save a relationship

This can be quite counterintuitive, because although many people realize that arguments may be necessary to work through relationship issues, they assume that uncomfortable topics are generally best to be avoided in case they lead to worse fights or misunderstandings.

The truth, however, is that a topic is only uncomfortable if there is a lack of trust or transparency. 

When you leave something in the dark for too long it only grows into a bigger monster instead of disappearing as you may hope.

4) Misleading your partner (even for noble reasons)

The crucial place of honesty and integrity in relationships can’t be overstated. 

This relates back to the first point in that sometimes there are seemingly valid reasons to mislead your partner or leave them out in the dark somewhat. 

However in the long run this almost always catches up with people and leads to unforeseen negative consequences. 

Whatever the reason, it is best to always be honest with your partner in order to ensure they are always honest with you and the rules of the relationship are clear.

5) Downplaying the importance of your partner’s feelings

Downplaying your partner’s concerns or feelings can lead to them keeping secrets as a way to avoid conflict or judgment. 

When you don’t really understand why your partner feels a certain way or may believe they are oversensitive, it can be hard to take it seriously or not become critical. 

However the key is to respect that everybody is different and that even if you don’t understand why they feel or react to certain way, it is still a valid experience for them. 

In respecting this you put your partner in a more empowering position to also respect you and be trusting with you about their own private information and experiences.

6) Letting concerns and suspicions linger

feel trapped in a relationship If you don't want your partner to keep secrets, say goodbye to these 10 behaviors

Ignoring red flags or gut feelings can lead to secrets being kept by one or both partners. 

If you tend to be more on the possessive and jealous side or overthink things, talk about this with your partner, admitting that sometimes your thoughts get away on you. 

Try to be transparent about your own feelings as well as your own fears. 

This doesn’t need to be over the top and can simply be a brief but honest examination of your own blind spots and over sensitivities. 

This helps your partner see that he or she also can be forthright with you about their own suspicions and fears. 

7) Being overly judgmental of your partner’s mistakes

Being overly judgmental or critical can create a climate where your partner feels they can’t be open and honest. 

Writing a blank check and forgiving everything your partner does is clearly a mistake. 

But when the pendulum swings too far the other direction into hypercriticism and being overly judgmental, it shuts down the flow of energy in the relationship. 

Your partner becomes much more likely to hide things from you whether they be large or small, because your partner no longer feels that you are an accepting person.

As therapist Anna Ream, M.A. writes, even silent judgments can hurt:

“Judgment often leads a person to become contemptuous of the other person, and contempt is hard to conceal. 

We all have micro-expressions that cross our faces so quickly we may not even know we have expressed the feelings associated with them. 

One’s partner might see those micro-expressions and feel deeply hurt by them.”

8) Responding defensively under pressure

Defensiveness can shut down communication and create an atmosphere where secrets thrive. 

When you feel yourself having the urge to be defensive, pause for a moment and reflect on whether that is really necessary. 

Although you may feel like your partner is being unfairly critical or combative with you, often the best approach is to stay quiet at first and wait and see what your partner is really trying to say. 

They may be unreasonable or unfair, but you gain nothing by responding right away in a defensive manner and are more likely to simply back them into a corner where they begin to hide more and more things from you.

9) Engaging in controlling behavior 

Controlling behavior can breed secrecy and undermine trust in a relationship. 

Controlling behavior can sink a relationship very quickly because it displays remarkable insecurity. 

If you don’t trust your partner for whatever reason or have hang ups of your own, that is something to discuss with them. 

When it plays out in the relationship through untrusting behaviors, it is much more likely to lead to them also keeping secrets from you and becoming controlling or possessive.

As WebMD explains:

“Several things can drive controlling behavior. The most common are anxiety disorders and personality disorders. 

People with anxiety disorders feel a need to control everything around them in order to feel at peace. They may not trust anyone else to handle things the way they will.”

10) Letting privacy be absolute in your relationship

There’s a big difference between healthy privacy and secrecy in a relationship. 

Clearly privacy is an important aspect of the relationship to respect.

However if you give your partner absolute privacy and become completely non-interventionist in a relationship, you may also lose sight of what they are up to in their life and they may feel that you do not care about them. 

Allowing them privacy is vital, but having areas where you ask each other about what is going on in your lives and share personal experiences and information is also vital.

Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on www.twitter.com/paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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