The difference between secrecy and confidentiality in relationships

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When it comes to romantic relationships, there are some unwritten rules that are often not discussed until one person thinks another has broken one. We’re more and more open to things like monogamy, but what about the disclosure of personal information?

If you are romantically involved with someone, what should you tell them about your life? Do you expect you to fill them out (eventually) on all the details of your life, past and present? Or is it okay to keep some information to yourself? Basically it comes down to the difference between secrecy and privacy, and how they apply to romantic relationships.

Recently, Erica Sloan addressed these questions in an article for Well + Good. Here is what you need to know.

The difference between secrecy and privacy

So what exactly is the difference between secrecy and privacy? “If you don’t reveal something because you don’t want to, it’s probably an example of privacy.” Amy Morin, LCSW, psychotherapist and editor-in-chief of Very well mind recount Good + Good. “And if you don’t reveal anything because you’re afraid of the consequences, that’s probably the secret.”

Namely, keeping secrets secret takes work. “Secrets tend to rule our lives” Morin explains. “You are likely to invest a lot of energy in covering or hiding them.” This can include everything from rope to other people to help cover your tracks, and going to the extreme of hiding information from your partner. For example, someone who is having an affair is a pretty clear example of secrecy.

How to identify secrecy and privacy in a relationship, and why it matters

If you are unsure if something is more of a secret or if you are just preserving your own privacy, Hatty J. Lee, LMFT, therapist and author of The guide to inhabiting it has some tips.

First, you need to identify the underlying emotions that are driving your behavior, she says. “Is it anxiety and fear? Is your behavior potentially dangerous for your partner? Did this create distance or disconnection in your relationship? So I might be inclined to believe that you are keeping a secret, ”she said. say good + good.

But on the other hand, if refusing something to a partner doesn’t arouse negative feelings, chances are you are exercising your right to privacy. “Do you feel a sense of peace or recognition of your needs and desires? Is your behavior focused on respecting your limits? Then I would be inclined to believe that you are defending your own privacy ”, Lee explains.

So how much are romantic partners supposed to say to each other? According to Lee, privacy is not only useful, but has an important function in a relationship. “People often believe that you have to share everything to experience intimacy or closeness, but I tell my clients to listen to their bodies and determine if you feel safe or comfortable revealing who you are. about to reveal, ”she said. say good + good.

But because everyone has their own concepts and definitions of secrets and privacy, this is a conversation you will need to have with your partner, in addition to talking about other essential limits in your relationship.

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