“It never came up. You have to understand, I never even thought it was important enough to tell him. That was the biggest mistake of my life. How could I have known it was going be so important?”
Sharing secrets from your past relationships can be controversial for so many reasons. You might even convince yourself that there are legitimate reasons for you not to do so. But once the conscience and sleepless nights start to come into play, things get a bit more complicated.
Questions arise and so do pressing needs for decisions: should I really share? Should I not? Exactly how much should I share? Am I really deceiving my partner by not telling them everything?
And to make matters even more complicated, there is no unfailing mathematical model to follow when deciding the answers to these question, because in the end, it all depends on YOU.
There are certain patterns, however, and generalities that can help you make the right decisions as to secrets from past relationships. We explore them below:
Is it Deception if I Leave Things Out?
The first questions when it comes to secrets from past relationships is always along the line of Must I really share everything? Is it deception if I don’t? Is it detrimental to my relationship?
The answer is no, no, and maybe.
No it is not necessary to share every single secret from your past relationship. No it is not deception if you choose to not share what you shouldn’t. And yes, it may be detrimental to your relationship in the long run, in any of the two cases below:
1. The secrets you chose not to share come back and haunt you.
2. The secrets you considered not important enough turn out to be more so than you think.
Sharing Secrets From Past Relationships | The Three Parameters
How exactly does one thread this maze, then?
It’s a tricky one for sure, but the answer, again, depends on you. There are of course, some general rules/guidelines as to what and what not to share (which we list further below) but as for the really obscure ones, it all depends on your discretion.
The first step is to generally weigh by three parameters:
Not all secrets are created the same. Obviously secrets that aren’t so special or shocking are easier to share, and as such might not even need sharing. And it is in navigating such contradictions as this that the quandary lies.
Is it too small to share? Should I just let it go? What if comes back to haunt me?
When it comes to little secrets, our recommendation at NLv is to always share. If it’s so little it shouldn’t cause much rumblings anyway, and should even tend to make the relationship stronger.
In cases of wild, shocking secrets, however, the problem becomes even more propounded. Will it ruin my relationship? Maybe it’ll never even come up? Is it even important?
All these decisions must be accessed and made by you. Not in isolation, however, but properly weighed against the other two parameters.
2. Relevance | Tendency to Resurface
This is the measure of how pertinent the secret is to your current relationship. Is it something you know strongly has no relation whatsoever to your current state? Or is it something really pertinent and relevant?
Generally relevant secrets, no matter the weight, should always be shared. And irrelevant ones might not — again, depending on other parameters.
The tendency of the secret to resurface is a measure of its relevance, among other things. It follows that the more relevant the secret is to your current relationship, the more likely it is to resurface and be made a fuss about, and vice versa.
3. Spread Level
The spread level is a measure of exactly how secret the secret is. Is it something a lot of your friends know about, which is, as such, more likely to come out of the shadows? Or is it something no one but you knows about?
Again, what to do with all these data ultimately depends on you. You might choose to keep a secret concealed that only you know about, and that’d be fine, while another might choose to do the same and be eaten alive by the thought.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to secrets that has gone beyond your solitary knowledge is to consider them highly volatile; as volcanoes about to erupt. Again, compare them against the other parameters.
A huge, relevant secret known by a couple of your friends should invariably be shared, no matter how heavy. Trust us, those have a way of coming back to bite you in the back.
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When Exactly is it a Secret?
Another question couples struggle with when making their decisions: Is it really a secret?
Well, it is a secret when it is relevant, pertinent, and something you’re not normally comfortable sharing, but because they are your partner, they deserve to know.
Again, you do not have to bare it all, but as a rule of thumb, when it is big, relevant, and gives you sleepless nights, it is definitely a secret; and one you should share.
Why and When You Should
This is a fairly easy one. You should share secrets from past relationships because secrets are a bitch. They have a way of coming up when you least expect them to and destroying the relationship you’ve spent the better chunk of your life establishing and strengthening.
We all know trust is the cornerstone of any relationship, and once it’s lost it is incredibly hard to regain, and this is what secrets do. They are a real cancer to trust in a relationship, crippling it so utterly in most cases, that it is virtually impossible to resuscitate.
And this is why you should share them with your partner, especially keeping in mind that no matter how hard it is for them to hear, hearing it directly from your mouth is a million times better than finding out from somebody else’s.
As mentioned earlier, comparing the three parameters of relevance, spread level and weight is a good way of determining when you should share or not share secrets from past relationships.
Is it a big secret? Relevant enough to hurt should it resurface? Are there already people who know about it? If the answer to all or at least two of these are yes, then please, do invariably share them with your other half. If less than two is yes, the decision is up to you.
What You Should
Generally you should always share:
1. Things that fall on a clear end of the three parameters spectrum: i.e secrets from past relationships that are very huge, very relevant, and very liable to get exposed.
2. Secrets about Physical Health and Illnesses: These are very high on the relevance spectrum and obviously have a very huge effect on your relationship and both partner’s futures as a whole.
3. Secrets about Psychological Health and Occurrences: Again, really high relevance and can, in fact, help strengthen the relationship and foster a deeper understanding between you and your partner.
4. Prior Offspring(s): Never keep a child from your previous relationships a secret from your partner. It’s the first and most fool-proof commandment.
5. Crime History: Again, never forget to consider the three parameters, but in most cases you should admit past criminal convictions to your partners.
Why and When You Shouldn’t
This is a fairly tough one. Not to be the devil’s advocate, but not really all the terrible secrets from your past relationships matter now. We are human beings and we evolve. Secrets which are completely irelevant and buried in the past; which you know you have moved on from, should never be allowed to tie down your present.
And then there’s the fact that some secrets are just irksome, not to you now alone, in fact, but to your partners too. And by all evidence they’d much rather not hear it.
An example of this is the dumb, exhilarating, fun but twisted stuffs you did with your ex. Nobody wants to hear that and you’d be much better keeping to yourself for the sake of your relationship.
Again, the three parameters are as good a method for determining when you shouldn’t share secrets from past relationships as they are when determining why you should.
Secrets from past relationships that are irrelevant, trivial and known by you alone are a no contest. You’re better off keeping them to yourself.
The line becomes grayer, though, only when the parameters are not so clear-cut to one side: secrets from past relationships that are heavy, may or may not be relevant, and are shared by you and two other people you trust are an example of this.
What You Shouldn’t
Generally you’re better off keeping to yourself secrets form past relationships that are:
1. Things that conversely fall on the other end of the three parameters spectrum: i.e secrets from past relationships that are trivial, irrelevant, and known by you alone.
2. Past Sexual Escapades: Again, the three parameters should always be considered, but generally it’s okay to skip detailed adventures of dumb crazy sex trips you took with your exes.
3. Crime History: Yes, we did list this among things to always share. Yes, you can and should choose to hide some crime histories from your partners. No, we are not contradicting ourselves.
Remember when we said we’re humans and we’re very capable of maturity? This is what we mean. Yes, you should always share cases of criminal convictions with your partners, but there are also milder cases, perhaps some that happened in moments of wild, drunken, youthful ecstasy that you regret and have very well moved on from.
In cases where they didn’t let to any serious damage and no conviction, you can definitely keep them to yourself and retain your peace of mind!
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