Can Secrets Affect Relationship Quality and Mental Health?

Mental Health
Ilustrasi Relationship.

The foundation of a healthy relationship is built on openness and honesty. Sharing stories is one of the manifestations of openness itself. By sharing our stories with our partner, we will understand each other and feel validated (Jackl, 2017). But what if your partner prefers to keep it as a secret instead of telling it?

While openly sharing one’s innermost thoughts with close companions is healthiest, withholding weighty confidences from cherished associates risks harming the bond of trust and well-being of both body and mind.

Secret keeping has been found to be associated with lower relationship well-being. In a daily diary study, Uysal, Lin, Knee, and Bush (2012) found that on any given day, the more secrets one hidden from their romantic partner, the less content they felt about their relationship that day and the day next.

As we know, there is a correlation between keeping secrets and poor health. It can happen because the more a person tries to hide information by suppressing their thoughts, the more accessible those thoughts will be and that will bother them a lot. Keeping secrets can make the secret keeper have the fear of discovery.

This fear arises from guilt, paranoia, or relationship insecurity. In addition, it can also be due to fear that people will know the secret, and fear of the consequences of revealing the secret. If the secret keeper is in constant fear, it will weigh on his mind. Which in turn can lead to emotional dysregulation. It is important to note that not all secrets can cause this fear.

The most common secrets are secrets about infidelity, crush secrets, and stigma. And it is said that people usually keep secrets because they would be embarrassed if the secret was revealed or as a shield for themselves. Personality and relationship experience also factor into the existence of secrets in relationships.

Typically, individuals who tend to have secrets from their partners are individuals with insecure attachment and self-concealers. People who hide themselves or self-concealers are more in conflict with themselves and therefore they experience more distress, anxiety, and emotional regulation. This happens because they worry that others will not accept them if they reveal their true selves.

it can be concluded that keeping secrets from your partner can affect relationship quality and mental health. The more secrets that are kept, the more dissatisfied a person is in the relationship. In addition, people who keep secrets tend to have insecure attachments and self-concealers. The secret keeper may also experience.

Penulis: Hafizhah Rana Zahra
Mahasiswa Psikologi Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia

Editor: Ika Ayuni Lestari

Bahasa: Rahmat Al Kafi

Ikuti berita terbaru di Google News


Jackl, A. J. (2018). “Do You Understand Why I Don’t Share That?”: Exploring Tellability Within Untellable Romantic Relationship Origin Tales, Western Journal of Communication, 82(3), 315-335.

Davis, C. G., Brazeau, H., Xie, E. B., & McKee, K. (2020). Secrets, Psychological Health, and the Fear of Discovery. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 47(5), 781-795.

Davis, C.G. & Tabri, N. (2023).  The Secrets that You Keep: Secrets and Relationship Quality, Journal of The International Association for Relationship Research, 30(2), 620-635.

Lehmiller, J. J. (2009). Secret Romantic Relationships: Consequences for Personal and Relational Well-Being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(11), 1452–1466.

Hart, E., VanEpps, M.E., Yudkin, A.D., & Schweitzer E.M. (2023). The Interpersonal Costs of Revealing Each Other Secrets. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Aldeis, D., & Afifi, T. D. (2014). Putative Secrets and Conflict in Romantic Relationships over Time. Communication Monographs, 82(2), 224–251.

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