Five Possible Outcomes of a Secret Relationship
People who have secret relationships think that they have good reason to do so. We do not have the right to tell them what to think; but we can let them know that there are disadvantages to such an arrangement.
Here are five possible outcomes to share with those who are determined to be secretive anyway. Hopefully, the outcome for them will be the one that is mentioned last.
(1) The Secret Becomes Burdensome
Several years ago, a mother brought two teenage daughters onto a television talk show to hear her confession. She was ready to end the secret about an affair with her neighbor. Her daughters surprised her with their own secret; they had been watching all along.
She was upset that she had worked so hard, and in vain, to keep her secret. It took critical planning to make sure that the girls were asleep when she was ready to sneak out the back door.She had to make sure that the neighbor had put his dog on the front porch, so it didn’t bark at her crawling through the fence. She suffered panic attacks when it was time for her to sneak back in, not certain if her daughters were awake or asleep. Whenever the doorbell rang during the day, she got ready to give an angry speech to someone whom she feared was minding her business. Keeping the secret was sabotaging her sanity.
Add to all that the guilt feeling of betraying her daughters. It became so burdensome that after all the attempts to keep it secret, she shared it and ended it once and for all before thousands of people.
(2) Suspicion Overwhelms Them
“While trust is an essential element of an intimate relationship, it can be easily broken and hard to repair. When your partner withholds important information from you regardless of their reasons, it’s normal to feel betrayed.” So writes Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW in How Keeping Secrets Can Destroy a Romantic Relationship.
Lovers who keep their relationship secret, find it easy to withhold information about themselves. If they don’t tell, how will the partner know? Why would other individuals volunteer information when they are not even aware of the relationship? And if the lovers try to follow-up on any suspicions they might have, they risk having to explain why they need the information.
A secret as minor as a traffic ticket or as major as a previous marriage may remain a secret for as long as the relationship is secret. Or, the culprit may mention the secret in a moment of mindlessness; or, a third person might incidentally use it as a reference. What follows are queries of “What else are you hiding?” and “Why?”
Mahatma Ghandi suggests, The moment there is suspicion about a person's motives, everything he does becomes tainted.” Suspicion can possibly turn into total mistrust.
(3) Disappointments Frustrate Them
Opposite to that side of the romance spectrum where the lovers withhold information is the other side where they make glib promises. With no input from levelheaded relatives and friends, the lovers’ imagination feed only on each other’s excitement. There are no limits to the tall castles they build in their minds.
For example, a young man promises to introduce his secret girlfriend to his family at the Christmas gathering where she will meet family members and close friends all at once; but on Christmas Eve he decides that it is wise to wait. Is it because he figured out that it would be better to talk first with his mother and father? Or, did he discover the seating chart which places him at the table next to the girl his parents would like him to marry? No matter the reason, Christmas for the female lover will not be as happy as she expected.
Disappointments happen partly because family members and friends make plans which do not include the lovers as a couple. The lovers can choose to remain alone in their bubble, but the rest of the world cannot honor expectations which they do not know about. Expectations may dwindle and likewise all emotions attached to them.
(4) The Secret Backfires
A young man was not ready, so he said, to become a father but his secret girlfriend was pregnant. He would have continued the relationship if she had an abortion; but she didn’t. She felt nobody would believe her story about him because no-one ever saw them together. By the time she got the DNA test results, he was miles away.
Another woman was hospitalized (no phone calls allowed) and her secret boyfriend was not on the list of authorized visitors. Her relatives did not know about him. He confided in one of her sisters, whom he asked to deliver some letters he wrote. The sister accepted all the letters, never delivered them, while the sick woman dismissed her lover for not making the effort to keep in touch.
There are probably many more cases in which nobody heard, nobody saw, and therefore nobody spoke up when a third voice would have made a difference.
- Four Reasons Not to Have a Secret Love Relationship
Keeping the secret may take more energy than building the relationship. Also, these foundational essentials may be missing.
(5) Wisdom Prevails
Perhaps both partners will come to their senses after any of the above probabilities actually happen. Perhaps they will find that despite their impetuousness, they really love each other. They will admit to their folly in hiding from the people who could offer them wise counsel; they will decide to stop being selfish and share their joy.
They will stand up together and face those who have reservations concerning the relationship; they will learn from the counsel of those who have their interest at heart and desire happiness for their future. They will love being in love with no reason to hide.