Most experts say that honesty is a requirement for a healthy romantic relationship. While it’s sometimes tough to be completely truthful about touchy subjects, like your boo’s dramatic family or either of your mental health struggles, it’s so worth it in the end to have things out in the open. There are, however, a few exceptions to the rule that honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to preserving your S.O.’s feelings. Here, relationship experts and psychologists give us their two cents on the things you don’t need to tell all about.
1. Ways You Think They Could “Do Better”: These especially pertain to your boo’s career and appearance, says Cathryn Mora, relationship coach and founder of LoveSparkMe. “If you think your partner needs to lose weight, get a better job or ‘improve’ in some other way, please keep it to yourself,” she advises. It’s very possible that they already feel self-conscious about that area, so they really need support instead of judgement. “I’m not saying that you should ignore potentially dangerous situations like fast-food overload, lack of exercise or other health issues,” she adds, “but be careful how those topics come across.” To stay supportive, suggest taking a healthy cooking class together or going for a jog as a couple.
2. Sexual Fantasies That Don’t Include Them: That’s why it’s a *fantasy* right? Unless you’re in an open relationship or have a specific arrangement about sharing, it’s probably not a great idea to bring these up, says psychologist Susan Bartell. “Although fantasies are perfectly normal, it can make your partner feel inadequate, threatened, or insecure about the relationship.” Those are definitely not good things. The only caveat? If you plan to act on a fantasy that involves someone else, you need to tell them about it.
3. Negative Things Your Friends or Family Have Said About Them: While this can be somewhat tempting during an argument, it’s not advisable to fill your S.O. in on the negative things people in your life have said about them. “It’s best if you don’t share the initial negative reactions that your loved ones shared about your partner,” notes Rhonda Milrad, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and founder of Relationup. It’s just too risky that they’ll be hurt by the comment and that it will be hard for them to recover from it, especially if it’s someone that the two of you see often. “Your partner will always remember that it was said and later on, they may resurrect it as evidence that your family or friend never liked them from the start,” adds Milrad. Yikes.
4. Your Sexual History: And specifically, how many sexual partners you’ve had, according to Noni Ayana, a sex and relationships expert. Aside from sharing anything important sexual health-wise (like STDs), you absolutely don’t need to disclose anything about what you’ve done in the past or how many people you’ve been involved with. “This topic tends to bring about harsh judgment and ridicule and overshadows a partner’s true character and potential positive contribution toward the relationship,” she explains. While it’s a good idea to talk about how you maintain your sexual health and promote sexual responsibility, the rest of your sexual past is your business only.
5. Anything That Will Cause Pain and No Gain: Basically, if you have something that you’re keeping to yourself that you know would hurt your S.O. and your relationship wont be bettered in any way from telling them — don’t spill it, says Dr. Joseph Cilona, a licensed clinical psychologist. “A useful rule of thumb when it comes to navigating the line between appropriate and inappropriate secrets in a relationship is that the former is used to protect your partner’s feelings or somehow help them, and the latter is used to do something for yourself or to hide something that might impact you negatively if it became known to your partner,” he explains. When asking yourself whether or not to share a secret with your partner, Cilona says to “Focus on kindness, tact, respect, and consideration.”
6. Emotional Details About Your Exes: “Definitely don’t tell details of past relationships,” says Bartell. Especially when it comes to the lovey-dovey stuff. There’s pretty much no reason your new partner needs to know anything about how you felt about your ex. “It’s TMI and will confuse them and could potentially interfere with your intimacy,” she notes. Being emotionally close is part of what drives a lasting partnership, so this is definitely a mistake you don’t want to make.
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