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Don’t Ask Me To Keep Something From Your Partner

by Ellen "Jelly" McRae 3 months ago in advice
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My ledger of secrets is full.

It’s a regular scenario in my life. Someone tells me something about their life that they don’t want their partner to know.

Then they ask me to keep it a secret from said person. And the rest of the world, too.

The secrets vary. I have some juicy ones; a cheating husband tops the list. Some aren’t so bad, like promising not to say anything about the broken vase in the upstairs bedroom at their house.

I’m thinking of starting a ledger with all the secrets.

It used to happen in school. I was a treasurer of secrets for my best friends, things they didn’t want the other girls in my school to know.

And then there were secrets kept from teachers and parents. In our young world, they were the enemy. What we knew was off limits from them.

Fast forward twenty years and apparently the enemy is still very much with us. Yet for some people, it turns out the enemy is the person they’ve committed their life to. The enemy is the person who’s meant to be the love of their life.

The enemy is their closest confidant.

And quite frankly I don’t understand. Worse than not understanding, I don’t like being an accomplice to the secret-keeping between partners.

If I could impart one piece of advice, or even a favour, I ask you to stop making people the keepers of your secrets.

I had no plans to tell your partner.

Before you asked me to keep a secret, I had no intentions of telling them your news.

I don’t believe in speaking for other people. I don’t like sharing news that doesn’t belong to me without permission from the person.

I understand my place in the social circle of life. Your news is Simba, and I’m one of the zebras at the bottom of Pride Rock.

Sometimes I see telling someone else’s secret as cutting lunch, or having an argument for someone else.

It’s a triangle relationship, and I don’t believe in them.

I’m also aware, like many other people are, of news, events and secrets that aren’t meant for public consumption. If you’ve told me you’re depressed and not sure if you can stand your life any longer, I’m not passing that information on.

That’s not gossip.

But now you’re asking me to keep a secret, I’m sceptical.

When someone says, “don’t tell my partner what I just told you,” the mind begins to wonder. I start wondering why you don’t want your other half to know. Surely this is something they should know, right?

There is discretion and then there are things that need saying. In the example I mentioned earlier, about feeling depressed, that’s something your partner should know.

Keeping it from them can be detrimental for everyone.

It’s hard because it’s in moments like this I know why you want the secret kept. The secret itself can start problems and issues between you and your partner. It can lead to a fight, or a break-up, or a lack of trust.

No one wants that, certainly not me.

But just because the information can lead to contention doesn’t mean it should remain unsaid. Life isn’t about smooth sailing and easiness. You don’t get anywhere by burying important issues on the shelf.

Or telling me instead of telling someone you should be telling.

Now I’m at a crossroad wondering what I should do. Part of me, the rational, loving and concerning side of me knows keeping this secret isn’t the right thing to do.

I’m enabling the hurt and lies between a couple. That’s not something that helps me sleep at night.

Keeping secrets will kill us both.

Secrets are like sugar; they rot your teeth, your mind and your arteries.

Ok, whilst this fact isn’t in any medical journals, and there is no operation to save you when secrets engulf your body, the suffering is real.

There are days when I can’t sleep. I have moments when what you’ve told me is all I can think about.

I want the people in my life to be happy. But this secret is a burden on me, one that people seem to forget.

You ease your guilt by sharing the secret, but you’ve offloaded some of it onto me. I’m now carrying it like inoperable cancer.

I’m worried about the day the secrets become too much for the two of us to keep. Perhaps we will end up in an argument about the secret and BAM! there goes our friendship.

Why should I know something your partner doesn’t?

In some ways, I should feel honoured you’ve given me this information. Sacred, meaningful information that is life changing.

But why do I know this information and your other half doesn’t?

Why am I more important than your partner?

You may not see it that way, but this is the message you’re sending to you and the universe. You don’t trust, value your partner to make sure they know everything. They aren’t first in your life.

They’re not even in your top three.

And what makes me so special? I’m a friend. I’m not your therapist or your lawyer, people you may tell things to who must keep your secrets.

It doesn’t mean I’m not important to you. Our friendship is important. But your partner, the one you claim to love, shouldn’t be the one you keep secrets from.

We’re not perfect.

At some point, by the way, I might slip up. I can easily confuse what I’m meant to know with what is public knowledge.

Without malicious intention, your secret could escape my lips and land on the ears of your significant other. Or someone who could pass on your secret without hesitation.

I’m only human. I can’t guarantee I’m a locked vault forever.

I don’t claim perfection in my actions, or to have it all correct. I know I have said those words once or twice in my life.

But as the words leave my lips, I make a promise to myself to make it the last. A promise I’ve become successful at.

The only secrets I’ve kept are the good ones; presents, surprise parties, events like that. Promises to myself I work hard on keeping, yet I won’t always get it right.

This is the same way I don’t agree with what you’re doing I remind myself; you don’t always get it right either. Who am I to judge? Who am I to condemn you for your actions?

But I know what it’s like to be a friend with a secret. And it sucks. That’s the long and short of it.

If I can do one thing, I ask you to think next time you ask someone to keep a secret from your partner.

Is it worth it?

advice

About the author

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

Writes about romanceships (romance + relationships) | Loves to talk about behind the scenes of being a solopreneur on The Frolics | Writes 1 Lovelock Drive | Discover everything I do and share here: www.ellenjellymcrae.com

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