I have been seeing a man I like and it’s getting serious. Then I encountered a vlog by a married woman saying you shouldn’t have any secrets between spouses and the disclosure should happen long before engagement. What’s your opinion on this, Evan? Should spouses have no secrets? What sort of things do you think should be disclosed? I could think of sexual past, nose job…anything else? If so, at what point should this happen? How should the topic be brought up? Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.
In theory, there shouldn’t be any secrets between spouses.
In theory, you should be able to bare your soul and know that you’ll be accepted and loved unconditionally, no matter what lurks in your past.
Indeed, I have a marriage in which I have absolutely no secrets. I can (and do) share all my thoughts with my wife. Our relationship is based on full honesty and full trust.
I also know that I am not necessarily a representative sample of the population. Not everyone shares my values of openness and self-expression. I went out with hundreds of women; I married the only one who could actually accept me in full.
So when I say there’s a difference between theory and practice, all you have to do is read this blog and search your feelings to determine if honesty is the best policy.
You say you want honesty – but then flip out if he doesn’t think she’s the hottest woman on the planet, or if he admits to watching porn, or if he looks at other women.
“The RIGHT guy WOULDN’T do any of these things.”
On one hand, you can say “The RIGHT guy WOULDN’T do any of these things.” On the other hand, lots of normal, caring, devoted men do these things. These are just a few examples.
So do you really want to know if he’s been in prison before? Or if he had an open relationship before? Or if he had inpatient mental health care before?
Of course, you do!
Would it behoove a man to tell you this or would it make you second guess him, think less of him, and consider leaving the relationship?
This is why people keep secrets; because other people will be judgmental of the truth.
Flip the genders around and it’s the same thing.
Do you really want to tell him about the 50 men you’ve slept with? Or that you had a 3-month first marriage when you were 21? Or that you had two abortions that you still think about to this day?
Some people just can’t handle the truth. I don’t LIKE those people (and they don’t like me) but they are a significant portion of the population.
I’ve got a married friend who absolutely refuses to talk about past relationships with his wife. That’s their promise to each other. It’s like they were virgins when they met at 40. To me, that’s ridiculous. I want to be known and seen and accepted, in full, and my wife knows ALL of my stories (and I know hers). To other women reading this right now, hearing about a guy’s past is way too much information that she can’t get out of her head and will continue to ruminate and harp on (mostly out of her own insecurity).
My take: secure people can handle the truth. Insecure ones can’t. I wouldn’t want to marry anybody insecure, but most people ARE insecure. Where does that leave you, EM? That depends on how much you value truth, honesty, and self-expression.
As to your question about how to bring up touchy subjects, this piece on how to talk about herpes is a decent start. Long story short: wait until he’s invested in you, bring it up organically, and don’t make a big deal about it. If you have your situation and emotions under control, he’ll be fine. If you’re freaked out about telling him, he’ll probably freak out upon hearing it.