Should you tell your partner about your past misadventures? When it comes to secrets, here’s what most women say they want to know ASAP: anything involving infidelity (63 per cent), any health problems (77), debt or other financial issues (64), and a criminal record (75). Before you open up and spill the beans, here are the rules to consider, lest you end up damaging your relationship.
Are you telling her out of spite? If so, keep the secret to yourself. But if you’re genuinely concerned about the secret, tell her. “As a general rule, tell a secret if you think it will strengthen the relationship, not hurt it,” says psychologist Tim Cole, PhD.
Find a time when you’re both alone and your schedules are clear. Then say you’re having a problem and need her help to work through it, says Cole. That way, she won’t feel like she’s being put on the defensive. Encourage her to ask questions – and you’d better answer them all. She’ll be watching for signs that you’re holding back.
Never come to her with a rehearsed answer to explain your behaviour. That’s only going to make you sound insincere, and she’ll feel she has no place in the conversation. Instead, work towards a solution together. “Your goal is to make it ‘Us versus the Problem,’” says Cole. She’s much more likely to forgive if you’re asking for her support. Tell her now!