What Kind of Things Should Be Private in a Committed Relationship?

You can set boundaries and keep some of your thoughts private.
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Sharing yourself with your long-term love doesn't mean that you're a wide open book. Even though your hopes, dreams, fears, worries, life goals and past history are all topics that may come up as you get emotionally closer to each other, being in a committed relationship doesn't always equal disclosing everything about yourself. Although lying or purposefully deceiving your partner isn't acceptable, keeping some things private is, under certain circumstances.

1 Respectful Quiet

There's no rule requiring that you blab every thought that pops into your head. In a healthy relationship, both people need to show respect for the other's values, beliefs and opinions, notes the Stayteen.org article "What's Your Relationship Reality?" If you have something to say that is disrespectful to your mate, keep it private. For example, if your guy has conservative political opinions and you don't share his beliefs, saying so may seem snide or like you're putting him down.

2 Too Much Information

How would you feel if your girlfriend told you about each and every guy that she's ever dated or hooked up with? The mental image of your partner on romantic dates or holding hands with someone else isn't something that you need rattling around your brain. Although you shouldn't lie to your mate, disclosing everything about your past romances isn't a must. If she asks, answer as simply as you can without going into details or comparing her to your ex. For example, don't say, "Before you, I dated Janey. We used to spend every night together. She was the prettiest girl I've ever known." Instead, keep mum and give her only the bare minimum when it comes to details that she asks for.

3 Family Secrets

Some secrets aren't yours to tell. Even though you may want to tell your partner every intimate detail about your life, sharing someone else's issues is a violation of trust. For example, if your older brother had an alcohol problem in high school but has made it clear that he wants to keep this information private, don't tell your boyfriend. If a family member with a secret wants your partner to know, it's up to that person to share his own history.

4 All Your Insecurities

Sharing your fears and worries is part of building intimacy. That said, you don't have to mention each and every insecurity to your partner. For example, you might want to tell your girl that you are stressing over getting into college, but may want to hold back from also listing, "looking good, having cool clothes, being funnier than anyone else" and the rest of your insecurities. Confidence is attractive. A constant stream of self-directed insults shows a lack of it.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.