When it comes to secrets and relationships, you really do have to be careful. There might be things that you don't want to tell your partner, but know you need to, things that you always rush to tell them, or things that you'd rather not tell them, but would like to share with someone. Though solid, healthy relationships do require honesty, occasionally, there might be some secrets you can tell your friends, but not your partner. Whether you need to talk something through with a friend or you think that you can tell your best friend anything at all without them getting upset, shaming you, or getting judgmental, for some topics, your partner just might not be the best person to share with.
Still, secrets can cause relationship problems in some cases, so it's important to think long and hard about the potential ramifications of disclosing things to a friend that you're keeping from your partner.
"If someone is considering keeping a secret from their partner, I would encourage that person to ask themselves 'What’s the worst that could happen if I tell my partner about this?'" Azra Alic, LCSW, tells Romper by email. "This could help the person identify what they’re afraid of (e.g. my partner will be angry, my partner will leave me, ...) and plan ahead for how they would cope with that worst-case scenario. Alternatively, it could be helpful to put oneself in the partner’s shoes and ask 'How would I react if my partner disclosed this secret? And how would I react if I didn’t find out until several months or years from now?'"
If you are going to keep secrets, or if there are simply some things that you'd rather not tell your partner (but aren't necessarily specifically keeping a secret), it's also important that you consider how you'd respond if they brought up the very topic that you've discussed with your friends instead of with them.
"Secrets can cause problems in a relationship if your partner asks about them and you choose to lie," Billie Bemis, LMFT, L AC, CFI, SAP, EMDR II, tells Romper in an email exchange. "It’s best that if your partner asks about one of your 'friends only' topics directly, that you answer gently, but honestly. Lies will always kill a relationship faster than secrets!"