I’ve been with about five women that I can call a relationship, by which I mean a certain level of romantic intimacy. You know what I’m talking about. Out of those, three were kept secret from many of the people around me for one reason or another.
Before I get started on the list I need to point out I’m not talking about cheating or having an affair. Consent is the most important part of any sexual interaction. If the person being cheated on doesn’t have any say in the matter that causes serious problems in this area.
If everyone knows what’s going on and is fine about it go wild. It brings in new complications but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I can’t even hold down a relationship with one person let along multiple at the same time.
Besides, you shouldn’t need me to tell you that adultery is generally a bad thing.
I also am coming at this from a straight male perspective. My relationships were never threatened with violence or social prejudice as a reason for being kept secret. I can’t speak to that and won’t try. I can only address the Rom-Com style illusion that hiding your feelings for someone from everyone but that person is fun and exciting.
1. You get found out
This one should be so obvious. Someone once told me they were super good at hiding a relationship. It could be I’m just horrible at this kind of thing. I can accept that. However, it’s pretty hard to hide when you’re happy. If you’re the same level of happy when you’re single and when you’re in a new relationship? What’s it like being a space alien?
Good luck if you have to spend time with each other in the company of other people. Most other humans are excellent at picking up social cues. At least, when it comes to other people.
Even if they can’t guess what’s going on they’ll know something weird is up. Especially if you do something stupid, like use a pet name for the other person and they react like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Like I did once. Major red flag.
To misrepresent a Benjamin Franklin quote, no one can keep a secret unless they’re dead.
2. You piss people off.
Dating is kind of a big deal in human society. I can kind of understand not wanting to broadcast things when they’re in the early stages. I’ve got nothing about keeping things vague or uncommitted. But let’s say you failed at the first point, however, and people know something is up. If you lied to their faces about something that shouldn’t be a big deal then it’s going to cause some anger.
Especially if you miss something important and then lie about where you were. Again, something I did. Maybe it is just me.
3. It takes too much work.
You know how hard it is to arrange a surprise party? Imagine similar gymnastics every time you want to see your significant other. If either of you have any sort of a life you’re going to have to make excuses. The flimsier the better.
Secrecy pretty much eliminates doing anything in public as well. You might think you won’t run into people you know but I lived in Tokyo, one of the largest and busiest cities in the world. I still bumped into someone I knew at random at least once a month.
Karma is inversely proportional to what you want to happen. Don’t test it.
4. It doesn’t last.
My first secret relationship lasted about a month and a half. The second about two weeks. My third and final one about a month maybe two. This is actually about standard for me to be honest.
So again, maybe I’m just bad at these things.
5. It makes you feel like shit.
There’s something I might have forgotten to mention. In all of my experiences with secret relationships, it was never my idea to make them that way.
The first time was due to circumstances outside my control. Rules.
The second time was with someone who’d just broken up with their boyfriend. Our friend circles overlapped as they tend to do and she didn’t want it causing more of a mess since her ex was part of both.
The third and last time…I don’t know. There weren’t any good reasons beyond what she wanted. She made some excuses about planning to leave the country soon. But then she never did.
What she did do was withdraw from me completely. Like it never happened. A few months later she was dating someone else and posting pictures of the two of them far and wide across Facebook. Gross, saccharine expressions of love included. She never left the country.
That happened years ago and I haven’t been with anyone since. Not because I pine for her or anything so cliché.
To be honest it’s because it felt like she was ashamed of me.
Despite everything I’ve done in the years since to become a better person I can’t help feeling like a pile of shit because I’ve never had a relationship worth a damn.
I never wanted to feel that way again. No one deserves that, do they?
The other two I mentioned that weren’t secret? Both ended after less than two months. One of them cheated on me and the other gave me a venereal disease. Thankfully the kind that can get cleared up with powerful antibiotics, but still.
I don’t want to disparage anyone I’ve ever been with. I’m not perfect. Perhaps I blame myself too much. I thought things were going well. You know, despite the hiding. It’s crushing to think she didn’t want to have anything to do with me.
Anyway, I don’t recommend secret relationships. Simplistic advice, yes.
Sorry, but I guess needed to work some stuff out. Trust.