Many times, you feel burdened by thoughts and concepts that appear to make little sense to others. You didn’t like some people or things, but everyone else thought they were fantastic and outstanding, so you kept your mouth shut. You were uncomfortable and timid at group settings while everyone else appeared joyful and calm. Or maybe, you wanted to attempt some things in bed, but they felt embarrassing and terrible. As a result, you would never have mentioned them to your best buddy. You desired attention, so you learned to keep secrets.
But as life would have it, you finally come across an extraordinary individual, one you have always yearned for. What makes them so unique is that you no longer have to pretend around them. You can now admit to crucial realities. Revealing your most vulnerable self is no longer scary. You may say that you like tugging your hair during sex or that ropes have always piqued your interest. Love sprang from this newfound honesty; what had previously been condemned gave birth to a passionate connection.
The relief of honesty is at the very foundation of being in love. But this sharing of secrets sets up in our minds, and in our collective culture, a powerful and potentially dangerous ideal: if two people love one another, they must always tell each other the truth about everything.
Picture this illustration. Perhaps you were in a restaurant, sitting with your lover, the special person who had joined you in your innermost ideals about everything. This relationship has given you this characteristic confidence and trust. And in the spirit of having no more secrets, you mentioned that you were a little turned on by the fascinating character reading a book at a corner table on their own. But, on this occasion, there was no more interested smile and shyness. There was no eager leaning forward, no whispered corroboration, just a slightly pained, puzzled look from the partner, the trusted recipient of every secret to date.
We then come up against a fundamental conflict within the modern understanding of love. Keeping secrets can seem like a betrayal of the relationship. At the same time, the complete truth eventually appears to place the union in mortal danger. The idea of honesty is superb. It presents how two people can be together inspiringly and is a routine presence in the early months of any relationship. But there is a problem: we keep wanting to keep up with this as the relationship continues.
To sustain the relationship, it ultimately becomes paramount to keep a great many thoughts out of sight. Honesty impresses us so much that we have forgotten the virtues of politeness. It is, therefore, no great sign of kindness to insist on showing someone one’s entire self at all times.
Repressing and restraining oneself and a dedication to editing one’s pronouncements are much-needed skills to learn in any serious relationship. In the name of ‘being honest,’ the person who shares information so wounding that you cannot forget is no friend of love. It is perhaps kinder, wiser, and perhaps more in the true spirit of love to pretend one didn’t notice and avoid hurting the feelings of one’s partner. Not all secrets are meant to be shared, even with the one you dearly love.