The whole notion of keeping secrets implies that you’re doing something wrong. It suggests that you need to keep some part of yourself from other people. Why exactly? There are a number of reasons why people keep secrets – shame, embarrassment, or even the feeling of being judged by others. But there’s a difference between being private about your life and keeping secrets. It can be hard to maintain friendships. Especially as you get older. When I was in college, I used to spill everything to my friends about my relationships, or the men I went on dates with etc. But now? I keep that part of my life mostly private. It’s hard to explain why. I’m not embarrassed about my partner or relationship, but it just feels different now. It feels like I should keep things private. But at what point am I keeping secrets?
It can be hard to maintain friendships. Especially as you get older. When I was in college, I used to spill everything to my friends about my relationships, or the men I went on dates with etc. But now? I keep that part of my life mostly private. It’s hard to explain why. I’m not embarrassed about my partner or my relationship, but it just feels different now. It feels like I should keep things private. But at what point am I keeping secrets? I went through a phase where I dated some guys who I would never consider a relationship with. They were meant to be fun ways to fill the time, so I didn’t have to be alone. I kept a lot of those dates secret from my friends. I wasn’t embarassed about these guys. They were attractive, but they weren’t relationship material. I suppose I justified my behaviour by saying I wanted to keep my life private, but these were secrets.
I had a conversation with a friend recently, who had gone through a breakup. I could relate to her as we had some similar things happen to us in our past relationships. When we were going through them, we both kept those as secrets. For me, and I suspect it was the same for her, I felt ashamed. My former partner and I were trying to make it work. Or at least I was trying. But if I had of told my friends or even family, it would have been one thing after another as to why I should have left him.
And they were right, but it wasn’t something that I needed to hear at the time. I needed the ability to work through that with my partner. Granted, that relationship didn’t have a happy ending. Nor did it for my friend. The point I’m trying to make is that you need to be able to devote your time and attention to making that relationship work. If it doesn’t, that’s fine. But telling your friends about it when you’re going through it, isn’t going to help with that process. This is something you should keep to yourself if you can. But it’s not easy to do.
Another thing you should keep to yourself – things that you haven’t shared with your partner. For example – maybe you’re not thrilled with how things are in bed. Don’t tell your friends about it. Talk to your partner. Maybe there’s an issue? It could even be medical. You also shouldn’t use a performance issue as a stand-up comedy routine. Don’t get me wrong, it can be fun to dish about your man, but not when it’s negative. And especially if you haven’t said anything to him about it.
Lastly, don’t go showing intimate pictures of your partner to your friends. It can be fun to take said pictures, but keep those to yourself. They’re for you and your partner to enjoy and remember. A friend of mine once asked if she could see a picture of my partner. I said, of course. Then when she saw how attractive he is (and he is gorgeous) she asked if she could see a more risque photo of him. Of course, I declined. As much as I want to show him off and shout his name from the rooftops, that’s not only mean, but it’s also disrespectful.
There are certain things that you shouldn’t tell your friends. But only within reason. I mean, if you’re in a relationship and you think you’re being abused, you should open up to someone. Don’t hide behind the cloak of privacy. They may be able to get you some help. Or at least give you an outlet so you can voice your concerns and even vent. In my relationship, my partner is the first person I want to tell everything to. He’s the one I go to when I’m excited about a project at work. And he’s the one I go to when I want to scream in frustration because I hate my boss (or family member).
Maybe it’s the stage I’m at in my life, but as you get older your friends remain important, but not in the same way they did before. You will want to spend time with them, and consult them on your life, but not in the same way as you did when you were younger. It sounds sad in some ways. Maybe that’s just the way life goes. It’s not that your friends aren’t important to you, but maintaining and sustaining a relationship isn’t an easy thing to do. Lean on your friends when you need to, but lean on your partner as well.