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Understanding The Difference Between Secret and Private Relationships

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

Written by Evi Idoghor


Secrecy and privacy are distinct concepts. It is vital that you do not confuse one with the other when you are in a relationship. Many couples will define a private relationship differently, however, when you are done reading today's piece, you will be able to decide if you are in a private or secret relationship. In a private relationship, you and your partner are known by friends, relatives and your church community (if you both attend the same church). Although your love story isn't plastered all over the internet, those who are important to you both know that you are romantically involved.

Secrecy and privacy are distinct concepts. It is vital that you do not confuse one with the other when you are in a relationship. Many couples will define a private relationship differently, but there is a rule of thumb you can apply to determine whether you are in a private or secret relationship. In a private relationship, you and your partner are known by friends, relatives and your church community (if you both attend the same church). Although your love story isn't plastered all over the internet, those who are important to you both know that you are romantically involved.
Secrecy Versus Privacy in Relationships

This then provides you room to learn more about each other in various settings. Your relationship is not just about you two; it is about learning both families, cultures, lifestyles and seeing if you will mesh well with each other. You want to see how this person interacts with people, other than yourself. You want them to tell you what they know about your partner, is he kind, generous, or argumentative? Oftentimes, when you are infatuated with someone, you tend to be blinded to certain things that others can detect.


Yes, you can learn a lot just by talking to them, but you will learn a lot more if you come into contact with individuals in their inner circle. I once read a book in which the author discussed her rocky relationship with her now ex-husband. She said that his mother encouraged her not to marry him because he was not ready to commit to a long-term relationship. This example demonstrates the importance of involving trusted people in your relationship. Another incident recently made rounds on social media in which the mother of the husband disclosed to his wife that her son was previously married with children. Although the mother-in-law was a little late to the party, the wife now has access to facts about which she was previously unaware.


One of the advantages of letting trusted people into your relationship, is that they can help you pick up on things that you fail to notice, or overlook. In circumstances where cold feet rears its ugly head, they can even assist you in reinforcing the fact that you made the right decision. They usually offer their support for your relationship by asking questions like – how are you both doing? Is the relationship going well? Or they make statements like – I am here if you need to talk. And most times, if your support system consists of Christians, they will remember you in their prayers and help ensure that you both are handling your relationship in a godly manner.


From time to time, you will need wise counsel of the trusted individuals in your life for the flourishing of your relationship. So, surrounding yourself with the right people oftentimes help you make sound decisions. Please, the keyword here is trusted, not the person who may like you and wish they were in a relationship with you, not the ones who don’t even value relationships or the sanctity of marriage - you don’t just tell any and every one about your relationship, this is because some people tend not to think objectively, and thus, project their insecurities on your relationship. You want your relationship to flourish, not break down.


What a Secret Relationship Might Look Like


Some of you may have been in situations where your partner did not want anyone else to know that you were romantically involved with them. You thought it was charming at first that he didn't want his entire business out on social media streets, but as the relationship grew, no friend or family member on his side knew you were together. I remember once being involved with such a man.


We lived in different states, and whenever I visited him in his state, he constantly made excuses for why I couldn't stay at his place. "I live with my brother," he'd continue, "and my house is a mess," another reason he'd fill my ears with. As such, we spent the most of our time in motels. I abruptly left our relationship after giving myself a pep talk one day, and months later, I discovered that someone had just given birth to a child for him. According to my calculations, they were together during the period of our relationship.


If you are secretly dating someone, or if someone wants to date you but not tell anyone, you are probably in dangerous territory. The other party may be hiding something or someone. Also, if your partner forbids you from having relationships with anyone except him, if he refuses to introduce you to anyone in his circle, including his family, and if he prevents you from communicating with your family, that relationship is not just a secret one, but an abusive one waiting to happen. He is starting to groom you in order to successfully isolate you from others and then commit all manner of atrocities. Please avoid such people, no matter how much they claim to love you; it isn't worth it.


Related Post: Codependency is Bad for Your Relationship


As a Christian, I've come to learn that you can't successfully manage any element of your life without God's help. The sooner you bring him into the matter, the better it will be for you, and the sooner he will guide you in the right direction. Logic can only take you so far (thank God for logic), but it will not reveal someone's genuine intentions for you, nor will it push those who may know the truth to reveal it to you. So we need God - only God knows the depths of a person's heart and/or whether a person has good intentions toward you.


In conclusion, privacy does not imply that no one else is aware that you and your partner are involved; rather, it implies that individuals with whom you've shared your life and whom you trust to some level recognize that this is your person (on both sides). Don't be scared to inquire about someone's friends and family the next time you become involved with them. Learn everything you can about them, and don't let anyone keep you a secret.


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For Further Reading

Codependency is Bad For Your Relationship

Why You Should Communicate Expectations Early in Your Relationship

An Honest Conversation About Sex


Don’t stop here; click this link to explore the Relationships segment of the website. Are there any topics you would like for me to cover? Leave them in the comments section or email us at info@letstalknationblog.com.


Images used in this article are courtesy of Unsplash


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