Posted by: Wendy Shalit
Topic: Is it OK for couples to keep big secrets (credit-card debt, plastic surgery, etc) as long as they don’t involve infidelity?
Some secrets come out anyway, so you may as well 'fess up. In the case of a new nose, it can be awkward when a child comes along, and this baby is in possession of a nose that looks very unlike either parent's. When compared to a suspicion that the mailman was involved, confessing to a mere nose job can be far less embarrassing.
Other secrets are part of your intimate emotional space. Not everything has to be told if it is significant--nor for it to be significant. Indeed some of the most special things can be kept private and often that way, they remain so.
But in terms of the secrets we are not proud of, the things we are ashamed of, sharing these with a partner can deepen the relationship and make it real. Realness obviously fosters intimacy, and it is also what makes a romantic relationship different from the relationship between you and your hairstylist. (Perhaps a poor example since some people, apparently, tell their hairdresser everything.)
We've already talked about infidelity, which in my opinion needs to be disclosed. As for the rest, my rule of thumb is the following: If a matter does not affect your partner, and it is not really weighing on you--such that you could either share or not, and you don't feel strongly either way--then it's probably less important to share.
But if the fear is that our secret somehow make us unlovable, then perhaps paradoxically, it becomes more important to share--and to be reassured that we are still truly loved.