A secret relationship may seem romantic and alluring, or just really sketchy. That depends on which side of things you’re on, and your past experiences with keeping a relationship private. Before we judge people for their secrecy or give them a pass for keeping their relationship status off of social media, let’s take some time to understand all of the things that may lead people to be less than honest about who they love. Here’s your guide into what secret relationships are, how they appear, and what you can do if you find yourself in one.
“If you cannot hold me in your arms, then hold my memory in high regard. And if I cannot be in your life, then at least let me live in your heart.”
Ranata Suzuki, an Australian poet
A secret relationship is a type of relationship in which your romantic life is kept hidden. Perhaps you have just started dating and haven’t entered that official threshold yet, or perhaps there are other reasons why you are keeping your relationship hidden from others.
The signs of secret relationships may be obvious to some, but for others, it may take a bit longer for a person to figure it out. Here is how you can identify that you are or have been in such relationships:
Although these are not all signs that you are in a secret relationship, these can and will give you a good idea that you are in one.
Regarding the reasons why people may want to enter secret relationships, infidelity is usually the first thought that comes to mind. But this is not the only motive to start secretly dating a partner. Let’s look at all of the possible motivations to keep a relationship hidden, illustrated by the examples.
It may seem to only happen in fairy tales or stories. However, many religions and ethnicities still practice the concept of arranged marriage. In this type of arrangement, two people are commonly matched together from a young age by their families.
In this type of scenario, both people in the arranged relationship have an obligation to their family members to marry each other. They do not necessarily develop any sort of romantic feelings for one another. This is why they might seek out that romantic desire by seeing other people and keeping such relationships secret.
Related reading: In a Transactional Relationship? Here’s How to Make It Work
Much like family obligations, there are times in which people are essentially forced into a specific relationship due to the obligations that they may have with their social circle.
In certain religious groups, it is often frowned upon for people to date or court others outside of their religion. Some friend groups may also have an agreement that none of them should date a specific individual due to the potential drama that going out with them could cause.
Of course, it is common knowledge that the guy or gal you fall in love with won’t always completely match the constraints of your social obligations. It is a common reason for people to have a secret romance.
A person could be in a secret relationship with somebody who is abusive and feel as if they are trapped or unable to seek out help by openly talking about their relationship with others.
This can go in a couple of directions. Another example could be the fact that they are attempting to escape an abusive relationship and are already seeing somebody they truly love while they gather the resources in order to escape. In both of these examples, they have to keep their relationship a secret to a point in order to protect their own well-being.
Whether it be to protect themselves or their partner, a person may keep their relationship a secret to ensure the safety and well-being of those in the relationship. The situation can be as simple as being unsure if the family would accept the relationship. Alternatively, a person may be famous on the internet and wants to protect their partner from potential harassment from their fans. They may keep the relationship secret in order to ensure the safety of themselves or their partner.
Related reading: Need to Catch a Cheater? Here Are the Ways to Do It!
A person who is in the closet may keep the status of their real relationship a secret because of a life-or-death difference:
Being a closeted LGBTQ member is dangerous in these circumstances, thus, there can be no other choice but to keep their real feelings secret and a relationship they want hidden.
In the situation when you’re not a couple yet, your relationship isn’t exactly a secret. However, you are still at the point where you and your partner are essentially just friends.
You may have started to date one of your close friends. However, you don’t feel like you are in the exact relationship status in which you are able to let others know about it.
Related reading: How to Get Out of The Friend Zone: A Jerk-Free Guide
This is the most common thing that people think of when they are presented with the thought of a secret relationship. After all, for many people, the idea of keeping a relationship secret must mean that both people are doing something bad, such as having a secret romance in the form of an extramarital relationship.
Let’s look at how you can have a secret relationship. While we cannot control the reasons a person may try keeping a relationship secret, we understand that cheating is not the only reason to keep relationships secret
Here is what you can do if you find secret relationships are hard for you and your partner to manage:
Just as there are many different types of romance in the world, there are reasons that may lead to someone keeping their romantic life private. That is why it is important to have a set plan and know exactly how and when to end a relationship, especially if it is hidden from the world.
Don't commit to a secret relationship because your partner might be committed already, that's why he wants it to be secret.
— Star Cockshot (@StarCockshot) August 29, 2014
But just because your partner has reasons to keep their relationships secret, doesn’t mean you have to be ok with hiding a relationship. Somehow, you should change your vision of relationships to adjust to your loved ones and compromise. Here are the steps to handle this issue, and your final choice should depend on the direction you decide to go in:
If they are reluctant to talk about their reasons or you feel their reasons for secrecy are wrong, it’s OK not to want to continue. Do you really want to go along while someone cheats on their husband or wife?
Related reading: Setting Healthy and Fair Expectations in a Relationship
When paired together, secrecy and romance can feel scary, exciting, shameful, and even a bit sexy. That all depends on the motivation for keeping things secret and how long the pact of silence must last.
Does your secrecy have an expiration date, or will you have to lie about your intimacy with this other person indefinitely? If you and your lover will be able to come out and share your love with the world, then yes, your relationship has a good chance of working out. However, if you will never be able to talk about your relationship with others, chances are it’s built on something shameful or unsafe. Until you work that part out, you may not be able to sustain things in the future.