Most people probably don't tell their partner absolutely everything there is that they could tell them. There are many thoughts or opinions you might have, random events that happen over the course of the day, and more that you just don't think warrant a conversation or are even worth mentioning. Sometimes, too, you make a more conscious decision not to tell your partner something because you think that it's something that either they don't need to know or will only unnecessarily upset them. Some secrets might be OK, but if you're keeping these seemingly small secrets, it's threatening your relationship.
"The way we think about it in the therapy field is there’s a distinction between secrecy and privacy," Tracy K. Ross, LCSW, a couples therapist and relationship expert, tells Romper. "So secrecy is problematic, privacy is fine and that’s kind of the question you need to ask yourself when you’re thinking about a secret. And in this day and age of oversharing, a little privacy is fine, especially depending on where you are in the relationship, but secrecy falls in a different category." Ross says that secrecy starts to come into play when you're intentionally covering things up or you're feeling super guilty about not telling your partner about it.
But even when you're keeping secrets that don't seem like that big of a deal, sometimes, when they come out, they can drastically — and potentially irreparably — affect your relationship, even if you didn't really think that they would.
"The problem is we want to count on our significant others to really tell us the truth and once we see they don't in any way, our brains begin to wonder what else they could be lying about," Dr. Robin Hornstein, PhD, a psychologist, clinical director of Hornstein, Platt and Associates Clinical Wellness Centers, and integrative nutrition health coach, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Trust is earned in the interstitial bonds between us and can be easily eroded in small ways. We try to convince ourselves small secrets don't matter, but, unless they are truly about a surprise, or the couple agreed early on to not want certain information, these small irritants can be truly damaging."