Honesty is key to a healthy relationship, but how much info is too much?

By Marie Gartee
Updated March 02, 2021
Advertisement
couple-talking-things-to-tell-your-boyfriend-girlfriend.jpg
Photo: Laetizia Haessig / EyeEm/Getty Images

Having someone to talk to and confide in is one of the beautiful perks of being in a relationship. After all, honesty and communication are arguably the most important relationship skills of them all. But if you think it's best to maintain a keep-no-secrets level of closeness, hold up: Not every detail has to be shared.

"Knowing what to share and what to refrain from sharing is so important," Darcy Sterling, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., a dating and relationship trend expert for Tinder and co-owner of Alternatives Counseling in New York City, previously told Shape.

In fact, of all the things to tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner, it can be advantageous to not tell them some things — namely, these five below.

1. Your Wild Sex Stories

Playfully bragging about past sexual endeavors may seem harmless — but you might want to hold off on certain things to tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner, especially in a new relationship. Does your new bae really want a mental image of you and your ex joining the mile-high club? Not likely.

"It's bound to tap into insecurity and jealousy, and it never feels good to think about your partner being with other another person," says Emily Morse, sexologist and creator of SexWithEmily.com. Consider limiting discussions about your sexual history to whether you've been checked for STIs, if you have one, and how you want to use protection during sex. If there are additional important things you feel the need to tell your partner about your sexual past (perhaps about previous trauma or important preferences or experiences), this guide can help you have the conversation.

2. Trivial Family Drama

Telling your significant other about family things — such as emotional issues you or family members have faced — can bring you closer together and it can let you know that they're a solid, empathetic partner, says Morse. (Related: How to Go from Casual to Committed Relationship)

But trivial drama, like your mom arguing with her sister about who will host Thanksgiving this year? It isn't exactly need-to-know information, says Karen Sherman, Ph.D., a relationship psychologist and author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make It Last. If you don't want to spill why Turkey Day becomes a war, don't feel like you have to include that in the things you tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner.

3. A Random Lip Lock with a Friend

Remember when you and that cutie from your office made out last year because you had one too many margaritas at happy hour? Yeah, consider that classified info. Telling your partner about that one drunken make-out session will likely leave them paranoid that you have real feelings for the other person in question, no matter how many times you swear it was the tequila talking, says Sherman. While full-blown past relationships are probably one of those things to tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner, leaving out a casual kiss here and there won't hurt.

4. That You Don't Like Their Family

It's okay if your partner complains about their parents. But you're technically an outsider, and if you're joining in on the gripe session, it can make them shift gears and feel protective of their parents. Not to mention, it could hurt your partner because it implies you don't like the people they love. Unless they've done something horrible or disrespected you, let them vent about their family and try not to judge, says Morse. Try to imagine how you would react if the tables were turned before you respond. (Related: 5 Texts You Should Think Twice About Sending)

5. Your Cheating History

Fessing up to this bombshell can have serious repercussions. "Telling a partner that you've cheated on a previous boyfriend or girlfriend can trigger insecurities," says Morse. "Even if they brush it off, believe me, they won't ever forget." Translation: They'll always be secretly wondering whether you're going to do the same thing to them. Ultimately, it's up to you whether you want to include this in things to tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner. If you deeply regret your two-timing and don't plan on doing it again, it's okay to keep this skeleton under lock. Of course, what you decide to do is totally up to you, but experts say not fessing up isn't a deal-breaker. (Related: Are You Settling In a Relationship?)