Honesty is key to a healthy relationship, but how much info is too much?
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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 told us in 6 Things Monogamous People Can Learn from Open Relationships.
In fact, it can be advantageous to not tell your boyfriend or girlfriend some things—namely, these five below.
1. Your Crazy Sex Stories
Playfully bragging about past sexual endeavors may seem harmless—but hold off on telling specific things to your new boyfriend or girlfriend. 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. Limit 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.
2. Trivial Family Drama
Telling your boyfriend or girlfriend about family things—like emotional issues you or family members have faced—can bring you two 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.
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. You should definitely tell your boyfriend or girlfriend about full-blown, past relationships—but leaving out a casual kiss here and there won't hurt.
4. That You So Don't Like Their Family
It’s okay if your partner complains about their parents. But you’re technically an outsider, and you're joining in on the gripe session 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 his family and try not to judge, says Morse. Try to imagine how you would react if the tables were turned before you respond. (Related: 6 Texts You Should Think Twice About Sending)
5. Your Cheating History
Fessing up to this bombshell can have crazy-serious repercussions. “Telling a partner that you’ve cheated on a previous boyfriend or girlfriend will 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. 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?)