MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor writes on moral integrity especially for women and encourages appreciation for the men in their lives.
There is really no good reason for hiding a love relationship. Love thrives when the lovers spend time together among family and friends in various situations. First comes the questioning, followed by the teasing and broadcasting within the circle; but the best part is the acceptance.
Secret online dating may seem harmless since the friends think that they can take precautions to ensure a safe meeting, but at least 10% of the 20 million accounts are bogus. By the time one person becomes suspicious, that individual may have shared personal information enough for the secret friend to locate him or her. No one will be able to alert the unsuspecting friend if the bogus person shows up.
Even forbidden love benefits from confession. If it ends when the secret is revealed it is probably because it should. So how can we convince someone who is dropping hints, to tell us the story and enjoy the excitement?
Relationships thrive on (1) freedom, (2) commitment, (3) counsel and (4) support. This article intends to show how these four essentials help to build a solid foundation, and how hiding the relationship can exclude them to the lovers' disadvantage.
1. Secrecy Sabotages Freedom
Secret love relationships call for lovers to sneak around, watch the clock when they spend time together, create stories to cover their tracks. Their focus is distracted, having to look over their shoulders for the people they fear will see them together. They have to be cautious when answering phone calls or emails.
Developing the art of not getting caught may take more energy than developing the relationship. Consider these disadvantages:
- Some hide because they want to solidify the relationship before they reveal it; but hiding can sabotage efforts to nurture it.
- Hiding stifles the spontaneity to make a call and say, “I’m thinking about you.” (There is limit to how much feeling texting can communicate.)
- Hiding denies the opportunity to show up unexpectedly with a surprise gift.
Without the freedom to ask questions when they come to mind, or give explanations at the time they’re appropriate, many pieces of unfinished business will linger without resolution. Besides, love expressions saved for secret meetings can get out of hand.
2. Secrecy Suggests Lack of Commitment
A man who has a secret relationship with one woman can have secret relationships with two or three. Why would any of them be concerned if each one is ignorant of his secret games? (It could also be the female who is two-timing the males.)
In the event that one partner is forced to reveal the secret relationship, the other can deny it knowing that there are no witnesses. One could become a helpless victim of the other’s mental or spiritual flaw.
The chances for honesty and commitment are better among couples who let their family and friends know of their relationship. Along with secret assurances, it boosts the confidence to be introduced as the object of someone’s love. Besides, researchers in one study (Lehmiller, 2009) found a link between secrecy and lack of commitment.They observed that people in secret relationships were less likely to consider themselves and their partners as couples and consequently limited their closeness and sense of connection.
3. Secrecy Hinders Good Advice
Most times, the counsel the lovers try to avoid is the counsel they need.
For example, teenagers hide the relationship because they fear the parents’ disapproval. They refuse to listen to the parents’ objections because they are not wise enough to comply if the parents’ objections make sense; and even if the parents do not have good grounds for their objections, the teenagers are not capable of continuing the relationship without the support of the parents. They are better off waiting (while they hang out with other friends) than hiding a love relationship they are not equipped to manage.
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Adults also hide for fear of disapproval from rival families, from prejudiced groups, from management in establishments which disapprove workplace romances. It is better for the couple to consider the rules, then make the decision to comply or stand their ground together.
If they choose to burden themselves with a secret relationship, they may hide for years and eventually prove their advisers right. The sooner they declare their decision, the better.
4. Love Thrives on Friendly Support
Family members and friends provide an important form of support, when they invite the couple to mingle with other people. The more the lovers watch each other interact and react in different social settings, the more they learn about each other.
It is easier to pretend when there is just one person to impress; the true colors surface in unplanned confrontations during the family dinner or a group dating activity. Sometimes everyone will be friendly and at other times they may feel uncomfortable. They learn how to work together when the odds are against them. They need this orientation to life as a couple.
They need the support of confidants, one or two people whom they both trust, to help them figure out their interpersonal struggles, as well as the difficulties they may face from the outside world. As their relationship progresses, they will learn to appreciate their support system. They will also learn how to love and trust each other, above the concerns and opinions of anyone else.
There are plenty of secrets to keep, but love for each other is happy news worth sharing!
- Five Possible Outcomes of a Secret Relationship
Here are five possible outcomes to share with those who are determined to have secret relationships. Hopefully, the outcome for them will be the one that is mentioned last.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have been dating a woman for 5 months now. I introduced her to my parents as soon as we started dating but her parents don't even know I exist. I have let it go on for this long because I figured once we really get serious and decide we will be sticking around each other, her parents should know. Now it is eating me up inside but she says her parents would never approve of me because of job status, race, ambitions in life and who they picture she should be with. Do I continue with her?
Answer: Analyzing the facts you gave me:
1) Her parents would never approve of you; does that mean she will never introduce you?
2) Not being introduced is eating you up inside; do you want to continue being eaten up inside?
Based on your answer to these questions, you have to decide if this is the scenario you want for your life. If not, you don't have to continue with her. It seems that she wants you for reasons other than marriage.
Don't you think that you deserve someone who loves you for who you are? Don't you think you can attract a woman who will be proud to introduce you to her parents? Get a grip. You can do better.
Question: I have been in a secret relationship for 6 years. He hasn't told anyone in his life about us. He didn't want me to tell my mother which I went along with although I didn't want to. He has ongoing problems with his ex-partner trying to prevent him from seeing his daughter. I have never seen where he lives. We have never been on holiday together. He has met all my friends and my children every weekend over the 6 years. Not a single person in his life knows I exist. What should I do?
Answer: Short answer: Get some help in establishing your self-worth and the confidence to answer the following questions truthfully:
Do you deserve to be a part of anyone's hidden agenda?
Have you made him your priority before he is ready to recognize you as his significant other?
What does it say (good or bad) about your judgment that you did not wait until the problems with his ex are solved (for that could be a reason for him to keep your relationship with him a secret)?
Why should he not believe that you are okay with this secrecy since you have put up with it for six years?
Hopefully, honest answers to these questions will help you make the right decision. My grandmother used to say "Don't give up on the woman who makes a mess; the problem is the one who doesn't clean it up." It would help to read the article again.
Question: I am in a secret relationship, but yesterday I decided that I no longer wanted such a thing, and now he is not talking to me. I wanted him to give me a reason why it must remain secret. Why is he giving me the cold shoulder?
Answer: You seem to think that the reason he is no longer talking to you is that he wants a secret relationship and you don't. Still, you asked so he could state it clearly because you don't want to take it for granted. I commend you for that.
If he responds, insist that you end the secrecy about the relationship. That's the right thing for both of you, if he's honest.
If he does not respond, I'm sorry for your dilemma. Accept your loss, and resolve never to enter into another secret relationship.
Question: My single neighbor is secretly seeing two men and hiding her relationships from them. Should I hint to one of them that they're being played, or let karma do her thing?
Answer: What is your relationship with your neighbor? Can you speak with her about what you think, and ask her if she needs you to help her decide what she should do? Without her permission, you may just be meddling and getting yourself involved in the mess.
What is your relationship with the men? Is either of them friendly enough with you for you to give him advice without being considered nosy? Usually, such secrets come to light after a while, and all three of them can learn valuable lessons about respect and honesty in relationships. Meanwhile, stay focused on your path and don't let them distract you.
Question: I've been in a relationship for a year. Early on word got out to her family that I am a former drug addict. Then there were threats of taking her daughter away. Since then, we have only seen each other in secrecy. Her family, friends, and all social media knows her as 100% single. She swears she loves me, but can’t risk losing her daughter or her parents’ support. The longer this goes on, the more I feel like an unworthy joke. What do I do?
Answer: One year is a long time to hide a love relationship especially since love thrives on the support of family and friends. But one year may also be too short a time, in her opinion, to be convinced that you are drug free. She may not be ready to commit. You both have the option to change your exclusive relationship and hang out in the friend zone, for a while. When she is ready to commit, she will convince her relatives that you’re worth it. Until then, act wisely. Don’t force yourself into believing what she says, without seeing the evidence.
Question: My boyfriend doesn’t want to tell any of his friends about us dating so we can't FaceTime when he's with friends, and he never posts anything on his SnapChat story about me. What should I do? How should I convince him to tell his friends?
Answer: You asked what you should do, then in the next breath, you suggest that you should convince him to tell his friends. Really, you're the one he needs to convince that he loves you and that he thinks you're worth being introduced to his friends. So let him convince you that the relationship between you is really what you think it is. Make sure that you're not deceiving yourself. You may want to counsel with someone who can talk with you face to face.
Question: I have been in a secret relationship for 2 and a half years. We have a very loving relationship, everyone in my life knows that we're together but not for him. None of them know about me. He said that he's not ready and afraid that his family will judge me. He is from a really conservative family. He is afraid our relationship will be limited once his family knows about us. I understand his situation but how long do I need to wait for him to man-up and settle it down?
Answer: I am taking it for granted that your male friend is an adult, capable of making independent decisions. If he is not ready to introduce you to his family, if he is afraid that they will judge you, there may be something about you that makes him feel uncomfortable about his relationship with you. You may be stuck in the friendship zone, and have to settle with that, since you consider the relationship "very loving."
But if you want the relationship to progress to your involvement with his family, ask him to give you the details of what it would take to make that happen. If he insists that it cannot happen, then you have the prerogative to end the relationship and move on, or continue being stuck in his secret pocket. I hope that you are wise and brave enough to make the right decision. Talk with someone with whom you can share all the facts, and who can offer you guidance.
© 2012 Dora Weithers