The world of secret dating is not black and white. In fact, let’s continue this terrible cliché and say that there is an abundance of colourful scenarios in which a couple might choose to date privately. Picture this: you may be part of the same friendship group, work together, your families may know each other, and these are just some simple examples.
Dating in secret is usually linked with a taboo union. When facing a scenario of this kind, some may like to keep personal details to themselves until they are completely sure they’d like to roll the relationship out to the public (if at all). In cases like this, it’s often a risk that may make things awkward or potentially disastrous for yourselves and others. If you ask me, this is a mature way to test the relationship rather than hopping straight on social media and announcing your love to the world, so long as nobody is getting hurt in the process.
On the other hand, some couples may not have one defining reason to keep the relationship a secret, but they are just naturally private. This will automatically take the pressure off if things don’t work out. Remember, just because you haven’t told everyone about the romance, it doesn’t mean that you are automatically taking things slow or that it’s not serious. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you cannot catch feelings just because you like to keep your relationship on the down low.
The benefits of secret dating
Before the relationship is clouded by outside opinions, it’s a good idea to get to know each other privately. Particularly when the two of you are part of a larger friendship group or your lives are intertwined somehow. It might be that your family wouldn’t approve of your date or vice versa. It could be that you’re interested in a friend’s sibling. As long as you’re not crossing any major lines in regard to who you’re dating, I would encourage you to test the waters privately and get to know each other on a romantic level before updating friends and family.
Let’s use the example of dating a friend’s sibling. You may feel guilty keeping the relationship to yourself, but it also makes sense to make sure that there is definite chemistry and potential longevity in the relationship before weirding out your mate. I am not encouraging you to sneak around with someone you shouldn’t be, but consider the benefits for yourself.
Women typically find it harder to date in secret. From personal experience, complaining about a partner to friends always leaves a bad taste in their mouth. When you’ve eventually resolved the issue with your partner, your friends are still thinking about how he let you down. To minimalize negativity concerning your relationship, consider keeping minor irritations and arguments to yourself. Those closest to you will be the most scrutinising of whoever you date so you don’t want to falsely fuel the fire.
Let’s face it, sneaking around is fun. It adds a new layer of excitement to the relationship (but only when you’re not hurting anyone in the process). Keeping your relationship a secret can make you feel like you’re in a world of your own, which is a wonderful thing. You feel special in the beginning because the two of you share something that’s only yours to know about. This can lead some to feel particularly protective over the bond shared. The early stages of a relationship can feel like a dream come true, when mixing this with the excitement of not getting caught, it’s a recipe for a fleeting romance!
The pitfalls of secret dating
Dating in secret is great for a short-term solution, but not a long-term lifestyle choice. As previously mentioned, as the relationship progresses, arguments are natural and inevitable. This is when you’ll want to confide in your friends. It’s nice to get some outside perspective on personal issues, but if you’re keeping things from those closest to you, they may sense the distance and jump to all sorts of conclusions. If it’s a situation where you feel you cannot tell anyone, you can easily end up feeling isolated.
Some may see secret relationships as a betrayal. To be honest, this will be a fairly general point as it really depends on the individual and situation. If you’re dating your best friend’s ex for example, that is an obvious breach of trust that you know you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. However, everyone has their personal policies on dating coworkers, friends of the family, even having a gay or lesbian relationship may be cause for secrecy. These are all situations that are not wrong, but some from different walks of life may take offense.
Sometimes a private relationship can feel like it’s not real. When sneaking around, it’s not often that you get to do “normal” boyfriend and girlfriend things. Constantly covering your tracks and holding back will become frustrating as time goes on. If it’s important to you to hang out with your friends and your partner, you may want to rethink your decision.
Keeping secrets is often associated with misbehaviour. Look closely at why you’d like to have an undisclosed relationship. Who are you keeping it from? What would they have to say about it? As an adult, you know the difference between pushing the boundaries and stepping over the line. So if you’re trying to buy some time while talking yourself into an affair or some other type of disingenuous relationship, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re sneaking around because you know in your heart that your actions are hurtful, you have the only answer you need. We can’t help the people we fall for and as I have explained, forbidden love is exciting, but morality costs nothing.
Is secret dating healthy?
To answer this question for yourself, you need to do some soul searching. Take a look at the dynamics of the relationship. If it helps, read through some text messages and better yet, ask your partner how they think the relationship is going and where you’re at. While I’m not encouraging obsessive behaviour, it’s good to reflect on the relationship in situations where you can easily get ahead of yourself. Do you feel like a secret sex aid? Well that’s unhealthy. Do you feel like you’re becoming alienated from your normal life? Again, unhealthy.
The relationship can become frustrating when one party wants to move at a faster pace. It’s important to be on the same page when the only reference you have is each other. From experience, secret dating is fun in the beginning but what happens when the music stops? You have to think about if you want a casual relationship or something with more meaning. The nature of the relationship will fall into place eventually whether it’s what you expected or not.
It’s not healthy to keep a secret relationship for long periods. It would be natural in some cases for paranoia to ensue, “is he ashamed of me deep down?”. This is the type of negative thought process that a toxic, secret relationship can lead to. I personally look at it is a trial period. If time goes on and things are going well, it’s time to take the plunge and be honest about your feelings. Otherwise, you will never face some of the profound relationship milestones. It’s sexy and fun and exciting when there’s a hint of naughtiness, but if things get serious, the relationship should progress as naturally as your bond.