Originally published on InnerHour
It’s Valentine’s Day and it looks like everyone has a reason to celebrate. Some do it by showering their loved ones with gifts and letters which profess their feelings, while some make do with Instagram and Facebook posts, sharing their love with the whole wide world. However, in the midst of this haze of romance, celebration and heart-shaped candies, there are those who prefer not to acknowledge their relationships in public or pledge their eternal love to their partner on any kind of social media platform. These are the people who prefer to keep their relationship status private, not just online but also from their loved ones.
Why? Research shows that choosing to keep a relationship secret helps avoid any kind of external influence or interference. This means keeping out friends or family who might not be able to understand the intricacies of the relationship or its implications. More often though, it’s a result of circumstance. An office policy or an unfavourable attitude from your family and friends might drive your relationship underground, even though you may love and care for each other deeply.
Keeping your relationship a secret doesn’t always mean you’re the only two who know about it. It could also just be having to keep it from a select few individuals in your life like your family, certain friends or colleagues. But the pressure of having to maintain this double life can get to you, and it can damage the relationship. You may take to avoiding certain areas where you may be seen, and you may have to cook up elaborate lies to explain your absences. Navigating these lies and cutting yourself off from people you see on a regular basis or who you care about can be difficult. Your relationship also loses out on the additional strengthening it could get from being socially validated. So how do you keep the stress from affecting your romance?
While keeping a relationship a secret seems like a good way to escape unwanted attention, it can have a deep impact on your wellbeing. Treating your relationship as a fiercely guarded secret comes with its own set of drawbacks. If both the parties involved aren’t on the same page about why the relationship is being kept under wraps, then it might give rise to a lowered sense of trust between the two of you. Sometimes, the reasons for keeping your relationship a secret might be based on unfounded fears. So before you decide to exclude your friends or family from your personal life, ask yourself what you are actually afraid of and how you can address that fear. What’s most important is to open up a channel of constant communication between you and your partner so that both of you understand why the relationship needs to be closed off to the world for the time being, and you’re aware if either of you is feeling differently in any way.
Sustaining a relationship under these precarious conditions is taxing, however, you can make it work if you share an unshakeable sense of understanding with your partner. After all, the point of this entire process is to make sure that your relationship with your partner remains unharmed and untouched by public opinion and intrusion. Communication and trust will tide you over troubled waters. So go ahead and celebrate this day of love together, and know that as long as you have each other, it’s a celebration.
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