For some couples, being in a relationship means allowing each other full access to the inner workings of their brains, as well as all their secrets, thoughts, worries, and concerns. If you’re in this type of relationship, and you feel comfortable sharing, then go for it. But do know that it’s not necessary to tell your partner everything, if you don’t want to. And it’s not always entirely healthy.
“A healthy relationship involves maintaining your independence, which includes your own personal thoughts,” therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, tells Bustle. “It’s not healthy to divulge everything you think and do. Keeping some privacy is important for your own mental health!” As is keeping private unimportant things that might upset your partner or bring about unnecessary disharmony in your relationship, like the nitty gritty details of a part relationship.
That’s not to say, however, that it’s OK to lie or to keep important info from your partner, especially if it might affect them and/or your relationship. When that’s the case, it’s crucial to have 100 percent honesty and openness, even if the issue or secret or thought feels uncomfortable to share. With that big difference in mind, read on for the things you can keep private, if you’d like.
1. A Passing Crush On A Coworker
You’re only human, so it’s totally OK if you have fleeting crushes on coworkers or people you see everyday. But, as Hershenson tells me, unless it’s becoming an issue or you’re thinking about acting on the crush, it’s probably smart to keep it to yourself. Unless you have the most understanding partner in the world, sharing those feelings will only make them feel nervous. And that’s not fair.
2. How You Felt About Your SO Initially
For some couples, love happens at first sight. And while that’s adorable, love, attraction, and appreciation takes some time to build for others. “If you weren’t initially attracted to your partner or didn’t even like them when you first met, there is no point in bringing this up now since you have a connection,” Hershenson says. It’ll only hurt their feelings.
3. The Intimate Details Of Your Infidelity
If one of you cheats, you can either break up, or you can do everything in your power to make each other feel comfortable again by rebuilding trust. And that doesn’t always include providing intimate details of your affair. “If they ask, you are responsible for providing accurate information. But do you really need to provide all the [intimate] details?” asks clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow. Probably not.
4. The Specifics Of Your Sexual History
Again, some couples don’t mind sharing this info. But others find past sexual history to be slightly upsetting. “While you should, in the interest of health and transparency, share some of your sexual history, oversharing can create issues,” says certified counselor Jonathan Bennett. “Your current partner doesn’t want to hear about your random hookups or details of your sexual adventures with another person.”
5. Any Remaining Feelings You Have For An Ex
If things are reigniting with your ex, tell your partner ASAP. But if you’re just privately reeling from a past relationship, it might be smart to keep that on the down low. “Complicated feelings for exes are very common,” says Bennett. “Just because you’re in a happy relationship with your current partner doesn’t erase previous good memories with an ex. However, you don’t need to reveal your current or past feelings about an ex, especially if they’re ‘complicated.’ Sharing those thoughts could create insecurity, jealousy, and misunderstandings with your current partner.”
6. Your Partner’s Insignificant Flaws
Do you hate the way your partner sneezes, or how they chew their cereal in the morning? “When you’re around someone all the time, it’s easy to notice his or her little flaws and imperfections,” Bennett says. “But, there’s no need to point out the little things you find unattractive about your partner so long as you find him or her attractive overall. It’s not worth creating feelings of insecurity or low self-esteem for your partner in the name of total honesty.”
7. A Night Of Debauchery That Happened Years Ago
We all have stories from our past, and they can be fun to share. But do be careful when bringing up particularly dark ones, and always think about your motive. “There may be times when it is necessary to bring it to the surface, but the desire to ‘come clean’ with our partners when there is no conflict becomes more of a desire at times to purge guilt for past transgressions,” Klapow says. “That is not necessarily fair to our partners.
8. The Details Of Your Past Relationships
“Hands down, the worst mistake people make is talking in detail about their past relationships,” psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. “We all have pasts, we all have people we knew before our current partner, but somehow acknowledging that and talking about it in a detailed way, fosters jealousy, animosity, and feelings of inadequacy.” So unless it’s pertinent to current issues, there’s really no reason to delve into the past.
9. Any Jealousies That May Crop Up
Some people might argue that it’s important to share all your jealousies with your partner. And I mostly agree. But if you go overboard, it can do more harm than good. “Your partner has chosen to be with you, here and now, and that should be the focus of your discussions,” Martinez says. By giving into jealousy, or talking about it 24/7, you can really drive a wedge between yourself and your partner.
10. Things You Liked Better About Your Ex
This one might seem obvious, but it’s not really cool to share things about your ex that you liked better — especially when it come to sex. While you want to be honest and have a fulfilling sex life, tread carefully. “There are ways to try and spice up your relationship without hurting your partner’s feelings,” says dating expert Stef Safran, in an email to Bustle. “If your sex life isn’t as hot as it was with another partner, you have to figure out a positive way to deal with it.
11. Any Comments From Others About Your Partner
This relationship is between you and your partner, so there’s no need to share potentially hurtful comments or opinions from people on the outside. “If your parents or sibling make comments about your partner, it’s best to think about if this can hurt your relationship,” says Safran. As long as you two are happy, that’s all that matters, so there’s no need to make your SO feel bad by revealing what other people think.
And that should be your goal, when it comes to being in a relationship: both of you being happy. So if you don’t want to share something, or it’s something that would definitely be better left unsaid, don’t feel like you have to share.