How Sharing a Family Secret can Bring a Couple Closer


Why Opening the Door Can Bring You Closer

Do you have a family secret that you have been harboring from your partner? Is it fear or embarrassment that keeps you from revealing the secret? Sharing a heavy family secret, such as molestation or physical abuse, is not an easy topic to discuss with anyone, let alone the one you love the most. Strangely enough…rather than scare your partner off, revealing a deep secret can help couples grow emotionally closer and build a better bond for their future.

Some people fear that discussing painful past family secrets with their partner will only bring up those icky feelings that have been sheltered for so long.  Those same feelings they fear have no “fix”, so why even approach the subject?  Here’s the truth: we can not press the delete button on our lives and erase the past; however, we can start the healing process. This process starts with your partner. Revealing your secret will allow them to truly understand you in your fullest form.  Then and only then will you both begin a new cycle of open communication.

Revealing a painful past shows your partner that you are willing to expose your vulnerability.  Your partner will get a sense of “realness” from you and a better picture of who you really are.  Being true to yourself is an honest characteristic that will help you along the way.  Not only is it therapeutic for you to discuss your painful past, but it will also create a tighter more stronger bond between you and your partner.

People often long for the feeling of being wanted, needed, or to be a “part” of life transitions.  The ability to discuss and move through conversations around raw pain will create a safe haven for both people in a relationship.  When people are honest and don’t put on a mask, which is so easy to do, it allows them to connect on a deeper level.  Willingness to take a risk and expose one’s true heart, with all the scars, will only deepen and enhance love for one another.  Not only can a couple work as a team to get through the trauma, it also allows the each partner to understand if there are any triggers that remind the other person of the sensitive times.  Partners can be submissive when it comes to intimacy, talk through the pain, and understand what will help create that safe haven to work through the issues.  Always find out if there are any PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) signs that may need to be addressed further.

**Evaluate your relationship’s safety, your readiness, and your partner’s ability to handle painful loaded topics.  For some couples, sharing a family secret can hurt.  If you are concerned, speak to a professional therapist first, and then evaluate the steps to proceed.

About Jennine Estes, MFT

Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653