A Piece of Advice

Possible emotional or mental impact of a secret relationship

2 mins. read

Topics: Same-Sex,Inter-caste,Inter-class,Inter-Faith,Inter-racial,Age Gap,Dating,Starting Out

Secrecy is a relevant, crucial issue, especially when it comes to unconventional relationships. When a person is in a relationship that doesn’t fit within what society, their family, or their friends view as “acceptable” or “normal,” the gift of finding someone they love can also be the very thing they feel like they have to hide. However, research reveals that even though people who keep their union a secret may be able to escape social resistance, they could also end up paying a personal price for their silence. The act of concealing a relationship is related to having less self-confidence and self-respect, greater emotional distress, and lower emotional and physical well-being.

In line with relationship research, survey research conducted by Closeup revealed that 1 in 2 youths will keep their relationship a secret due to parent disapproval. In this survey, 46% of youths said they feared discrimination, judgement, and public shame when they were in an unconventional relationship. Moreover, according to these youths, although hiding unconventional relationships makes them feel safer, it also leads to feeling guilt and the sense of living a double life.

Nevertheless, it’s vital to remember that everyone’s situation is different, and so the problems connected to secrecy that we’ve been talking about don’t mean that the best answer for everyone is to stop covering up a relationship. As some scholars have pointed out, depending on the conditions in front of someone, the choice to hide a relationship may be the most sensible, self-preserving, safe path to take. What we are recognizing here is that keeping a relationship secret could potentially come with emotional, mental, and physical costs, and whether they outweigh the costs of coming out into the open is for each couple to decide.

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