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Caroline Rules: Keeping Secrets

Is It Ever Okay to Keep Secrets From Your Spouse?

Caroline Manzo puts the real in The Real Housewives of New Jersey and her fans relate to the reality star's no-nonsense attitude, focus on family and, above all, abundant common sense. Check back at Glo every Monday as Caroline helps solve your most pressing dilemmas.

The Dilemma: One topic that comes up quite often in relationships is the idea of keeping secrets from your partner. We hear that “maintaining the mystery” in one's relationship is an important part of keeping that elusive spark alive, and this makes us wonder if there are situations in which not divulging information is the right thing to do. Should you ever keep a secret in order to protect your husband's feelings (especially if the information isn't something he needs to know), such as harmless flirtation from a male co-worker? Or you should just tell your spouse everything, no question?

Caroline's Ruling: If I were a betting woman, I'd be willing to bet that the pendulum of public opinion would swing wildly on this one!

I, for one, believe that a little secret here and there never hurt anybody. The operative word here is little. For example, I agree with the above point of keeping secrets to protect your husband's feelings. If someone in the workforce expresses interest in you, there's no reason to cause a commotion at home. However, if the advances are inappropriate, or cause you to feel uncomfortable or unsafe, then I would bring it up with my employer first, and, if there was still uncertainty, I would tell my significant other. At that point it would be a situation affecting you as a couple, first and foremost your safety and second finances. You may have to leave your job, which causes a domino effect on your income and budgeting concerns.

Here's another example of secret keeping: Say your partner asks, "Did you make the appointment to get the car serviced?" Whether you did or not, say "yes." Then get your butt over to the phone and make that appointment! Why argue over it? Just flash your prettiest smile and get it done!

All kidding aside, there are things that you should never keep from your spouse, like credit issues or financial problems. If you are overwhelmed with debt, the hole is only going to get deeper. Hiding it will only cause serious damage to your credit, and quite possibly affect the security of your home and business. The same holds true for health issues.

Anything with a long term, life-changing effect should be discussed, not hidden, especially because you may need your partner's emotional support to get through it. Hiding it will only cause undue stress to you, and confusion from your partner if there is a sudden attitude change from you (if you become depressed, angry, etc.).

So, do you get what I'm saying? A parking ticket? Forgot to schedule an appointment? You overheard an in-law talking smack? You hate his favorite shirt? No big deal. You're overwhelmed with debt? You have a serious illness? You're in a dangerous situation? You're unhappy in your relationship? Big deal.

The bottom line is this: Relationships are built on mutual respect and trust. If the decisions you make affect any of these two things, rethink them. The consequences of your actions could put a crack in the foundation of your relationship ... not good!

  • From marriage dilemmas to family issues, Caroline's got the answers!

    Photo by Michael T. Greco
Caroline Rules: Keeping Secrets
Is It Ever Okay to Keep Secrets From Your Spouse?
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