For years I was a big believer in "keeping secrets" in a relationship. They weren't "secrets" as much having privacy. I had all sorts of writings that I didn't give my man to peruse. When the digital era came along, I maintained our privacy. Not once did I check his text messages or his email (even though I had his password). Then I found out my fiancé was living a secret life as a gay man. Suddenly I was conflicted about keeping secrets and how much privacy couples should have with each other.

But Dan Ariely, author of The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, says that some secrets are best taken to the grave. He says that if you are telling your partner the truth merely to "to assuage your guilt, offload your problems, or hurt [him or her]", then it's better to lie or keep silent.

You have to use your own judgement when it comes to what to spill and what to bottle up. But here are 5 guidelines:

Good to keep secret:

I have a big crush on my coworker.

Bad to keep secret:

I have a big crush on my coworker and I text him several times a day and email him at night and am wondering how I can get away for the weekend with him.

Good to keep secret:

I've never been that sexually attracted to you.

Bad to keep secret:

I've never been that sexually attracted to you because you refuse to shave that beard, go for days without showering, and have gained 30 pounds since we got married. And as soon as I find someone who isn't those things, I'm gonna bail.

Good to keep secret:

Sometimes I have sexual thoughts about the same sex.

Bad to keep secret:

I have sexual thoughts about the same sex and am just figuring out how I can bring them into reality without you knowing.

Good to keep secret:

I don't want kids as much as you do.

Bad to keep secret:

I don't want kids as much as you do, and therefore I'm going to sabotage every effort to have them but not tell you that's what I'm doing.

Good to keep secret:

I used to sleep around a lot.

Bad to keep secret:

I used to sleep around a lot and I have several (or even one) communicable venereal diseases.

What are some good/bad secrets?

 

Image via Stephen Depolo/Flickr