The most common secrets people keep in relationships

One in four couples in live-in relationships keep secrets from their partner. (Getty Images)
One in four couples in live-in relationships keep secrets from their partner. (Getty Images)

If you have ever kept a secret from your long term partner, you’re not alone. A new survey has found that one in four – or 25% – of people in relationships have done so.

The survey of 2,000 adults found that over one third of respondents have kept a secret from their live-in partner for over a year and a half, while a further half of respondents said they still haven’t told their partner their secret.

Millennials were the age group most likely to keep secrets from their other half, followed by Gen Z, but Baby Boomers were the generation more likely to be truthful with their partners.

Most common secrets in relationships

The most common secrets people have kept from their partners, according to the survey by Lemonade, include details about past relationships (26%), doing something they know their partner would be upset about (20%), and undisclosed spending habits (19%).

Clara Bloom, dating and relationship expert at The Stag Company, says the most common secret she sees people keeping in relationships is to do with finances.

"The number one subject is always around money," Bloom tells Yahoo UK. "There are many aspects to this, it could be secret debt that you don't want to share so as to avoid judgement or to face the issue head-on. Or it could be a private savings account, where you don't want to feel obliged to pay for things you're not interested in and that money is a good reserve to protect in critical times."

Overhead view of young Asian woman managing personal banking and finance at home. Planning budget and calculating expenses while checking her bills with calculator. Managing taxes and financial bills. Home budgeting. Concept of finance and economy
It's important to be open and honest about finances, particularly if you are in debt. (Getty Images)

Bloom adds that the reason for keeping secrets in relationships can include embarrassment, or not feeling confident in every aspect of yourself and your relationship.

She continues: “Often these shameful secrets aren't necessarily kept in a manipulative manner, but could be avoiding any form of criticism or argument.”

The impact of secret-keeping on a relationship

If you do decide to keep a secret from your partner, be it major or minor, Bloom says the first thing you need to be prepared for is an instance where your partner finds out.

"This can lead to a breakdown in trust," she explains. "Any form of secret being revealed can tarnish the trust that has been built up over time, so if it is to be revealed, it is better to be done yourself rather than by mistake or being caught out.

"On the other hand, a secret can weigh heavy on the mind, it can lead to stress being redirected in the wrong places. You may find yourself snapping, feeling more tired or irritable, as you hide a secret that plays on your mind. A negative sense of wellbeing will build over time the longer this secret is kept under wraps."

Is it ever a good idea to keep a secret from your partner?

Bloom says there is a difference between secrets and hiding information.

"We all may have a few secrets that we don't necessarily share with our partner, such as which celebrity crush you have or what your guilty pleasure is like a weekly scratch card," she explains. "But this is simply not sharing every bit of information with your partner, there is a big difference between this and withholding information and hiding it. That insinuates at an attempt to deceive, whether intentionally or not."

Cheating is one secret you should never hide from your partner. (Getty Images)
Cheating is one secret you should never hide from your partner. (Getty Images)

While you should never feel forced to share all of your financial information with a partner as you many want to keep this to yourself for many reasons, Bloom says that if you do have building debt which could impact the both of you, that is the kind of information that should b shared.

"It's not healthy for your mental wellbeing to bottle it all up and it's also not fair on them to find out months down the line that the shared credit rating has been affected, potentially impacting a shared house purchase," she says.

"When it comes to what you should keep to yourself, I like to ask myself should they know, will it impact our relationship and does it break any boundaries? Everyone is different and has different reasons for why they might not want to share some information, but just ask those questions earlier and consider whether it impacts you or them by keeping it quiet."

It is possible to have a healthy relationship while keeping secrets

Whether or not you can have a healthy relationship when you are keeping secrets from your partner all depends on the nature of the secrets, Bloom says.

"If they're impacting the partner without them knowing, from debt to cheating, then the simple answer is no," she explains.

"Holding on to things like this can cause arguments about unrelated subjects, while it's simply not fair on the person you're supposed to treasure. But not all secrets are of this magnitude, your hubby doesn't necessarily need to know you secretly fancy Russell Howard every time he's on the TV."

Additional reporting by SWNS.

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