A lot of people believe that to be really close to another person, that you have to tell them all your dark secrets... pull the skeletons out of the closet and say "here they are!" I was once counseled not to do that. The counselor said, "nobody wants damaged wares," and we all have made mistakes and made choices to do what society deems "wrong." In his viewpoint, we are all damaged.

If I am going to connect with someone on an emotional or spiritual level, how important is it that they see all of me? Is the self-disclosure necessary from the outset? Should it be done little by little over the course of time, or not at all?

What are the implications for the quality and depth of a relationship of either telling our secrets to the other or withholding them? What are the implications for my spiritual growth if I am essentially a "closed" person who doesn't want to reveal my flaws?

asked 30 Oct '09, 07:51

John's gravatar image


If there is a chance that the relationship will become a spousal one, there comes a point where the person is going to need "full disclosure." That means that they will need to know things that may affect their decision to stay with you, such as whether you have children, were you divorced and why, have you ever been in jail, etc.

Other than that, it is basically up to you what you decide to disclose. Complete honesty is a nice ideal (and it will make the relationship better), but some people are not ready for that, and it can actually be harmful to disclose too much, especially if it is something that you have already atoned for.

That said, I would be sensitive to the needs of the other person. Always disclose things that you know will affect them if they were to find out. If they require full honesty, and you are not ready for that, you might want to seek a relationship elsewhere.

One more thing. Don't create new secrets. If you are contemplating doing something, and you would feel uncomfortable having your mother read about it in the newspaper the next day, you probably shouldn't do it.

Kahlil Gibran on marriage:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.


answered 31 Oct '09, 00:52

Vesuvius's gravatar image


edited 31 Oct '09, 01:02

Very well put. A balanced, thoughtful answer. Thanks. I like the comment about one's mother reading about them in the paper. My dad used to say, "If you doubt, don't!" I especially liked the poem and have printed it out. It reminds me of a popular practice in some Christian wedding ceremonies-- the lighting of the unity candle. In some ceremonies, the couple lights the single candle and extinguishes the separate candles representing their individuality.

(31 Oct '09, 04:12) John

But I like the ceremonies where the unity candle is lit (to symbolize their unity) but the separate candles are left aflame, too, to symbolize that each partner retains their unique individuality. The two are not one. Rather, they are two people in union.

(31 Oct '09, 04:13) John

"What are the implications for the quality and depth of a relationship of either telling our secrets to the other or withholding them?"

Well would you like that this person was withholding on you? You must be concious that like attracts like. If you can't be honest with that person why would you want to have a relationship with her?

I used to be lika that. I was always concerned what about other people might think of me. My self-importance was very high. I thought I was the most important person on the planet I didn't care about any person feelings.

As I came to a point in my spiritual growth that my self-importance is actually what stops e from growing I let it go. I accepted ALL of my life, ALL of my past experiences and send ALL my friends, my enemies, my failures and succeces EQUAL amounts of gratitude and love for what they have really been to me .. opoturnities for learning, for expanding.

This what being spiritual is all about, it's INCLUDING all of your responsobilities, all your circumstances of your life and taking resposobility for them, because you have co-created ALL of THEM. Their is nothing outside you. Nothing is more worthy then other thing. Joy is in any way better then sadness, except it is more pleasarable.

Life is meaningless. No situation has a built-in meaning. The meaning you give to the circumstance is the effect you will get out of it. How? Well if for example a woman might brae up with you and you have to choices: You can curse her to hell, get drunk and complain what a heartless bit** she is or you can say "hmm.. what can I learn from that situation, how can I grow in order for my next relationship to be better." The circumstance is the same, but the effect you get out of it is dramaticly diffrent.

You can do that with EVERY situation in your life. In EVERY situation you can find a positive meaning.

So you are still afraid to look at your past.. why is that? The best thing in the past is that it is over. You really want to live with that burden all your life? I can bet that EVERY person that is here on this site has in one point or another in there live went thru despair, petty, depression. You might feel that your the only one that feels that way but it's not true. What is true to get free from the past is to LET IT GO! Just ACCEPT EVERYTHING that has happened to you. Stop blaming ANYBODY because what they are doing is most of the time just reflecting to you what you should look at. Stop being the victim, be the creator, the master of your life. Once you akcnowledge this it will transform everything.

So what should you do in this realtionship? What kind of relationship do YOU want? YOu want just to "ease the pressure" or have a real connection with the other person. I told you none is better than the other but what do YOU want? I personally always go with the deep connection. Even if will all be dating for a week I WanT to give ALL of myself to that person. It doesn't mean I will sacrifice anything for them, but when I'm with them I don't wanna be anyother place. I can tell them if I think what they are doing is wrong but not in a judgemental way but in the way to show them that I care. I care what experience they have but not to that degree that I will sacrifice my own life for them. If we don't click that's ok. No hatred, no judgement has to be experienced. Just the feeling of unconditional love for yourself and that person.

So in order to have a "en-lightened" relationship you have to be that person you wanna see in the other. If not you might find some day about this terrible secret your partner was hiding from you. But if you say from the get go. "Here I am, here's what I am about, here's what I exepct, what I accept, take it or leave it". If that the person doesn't want it than you probably weren't meant for eachother. Move on and wish her best of luck.

Face your demons, face your past. Emotions of




transform EVERYTHING.

You can't change something you do not own. Claim your life and do whatever you please with it.


answered 30 Oct '09, 13:58

wildlife's gravatar image


Thank you for your answer. Many good points, except it sounded as though you were counseling me. I assure you I'm happy with my life and am not held back by my past. I've had conversations with quite a few people who take either side of the issue, that is, to tell all from the get go, or to keep some things to yourself. My primary question pertains to the approach which is most conducive to spiritual growth and quality relationships. Thanks again.

(31 Oct '09, 04:00) John

With regards to your spiritual growth, you should follow your emotions and do what feels good to you inspite of the other person. That is the only thing you can do. If you feel inclined to tell them all your secrets or flaws, then do so. If you don't, then keep them to yourselves.

The thing to keep in mind is that all that you have been through makes you who you currently are, the bad things and the good things. So, if somebody wants to be with you, they should accept you for who you are and should therefore have no problem accepting anything you tell them about yourself. But again, it is up to you whether you feel like telling them or not as from a spiritual point of view, you are only concerned with your well being, in other words taking inspired actions from a good feeling place.

I have noticed that with some people, I feel a real urge to tell them everything about myself and with others, I don't feel that urge. So I just do what I feel inspired to do and I accept that the consequences are going to be better than if I had not followed the way I felt.


answered 01 Nov '09, 09:58

Pink%20Diamond's gravatar image

Pink Diamond

At first thought I would have said yes, full disclosure. But when I think of it further one has to weigh the consequences of full disclosure. Maybe after time you will get to full disclosure depending on where the relationship is going and what you think is necessary for the other party to know.

It may not do the relationship any good if from the outset there is full disclosure about everything in your life, sometimes some things are better left unsaid. The thing is to decide what to disclose and what not to disclose.

If you are not disclosing because of dishonesty then I say that's bad, but if the non disclosure is because you want to keep some things for your self then what is wrong with that. I see nothing wrong with that. The important thing is to disclose those things that are important to your relationship. For example, I had only one serious relationship before marriage, I thought that was important enough to disclose because the other party needs to know what they are dealing with so that no skeletons will be walking out the cupboard at an inopportune moment.


answered 01 Nov '09, 20:08

Pat%201's gravatar image

Pat 1

It is an choice isn't it.

(04 Nov '09, 05:59) flowingwater

I think you should pray about it an ask Jesus what you should do since they know all about what you are talking about since this is about mostly your spiritual growth and maybe your guilt of secretcy.

Now, my opinion is that there are some very important things you should share with your wife, partner or significant other like are you still married to someone else, that you have other children she doesn't know about whether you are involved in their lives or not, if you were an permisious person health wise she should know, something that can come out an harm her years later than she should know so she can prepare her self for the after shock. But I personally think there are some things you should keep to your self for it will not have any weighing out on what is going on or happening now in you all life or situations now just something that you did or something that happen to you and it want effect her or you all now. But if it does effect her now that is an different story.

But this is not about her this is about you and your spiritual growth now I don't have to tell you but you already know that God knows everything that you have ever done or what has been done to you even that you have forgotten or locked away in your subscious mind. He sees everything you have done for you already know you must ask and he will forgive you of all of your sins and you must forgive your self as well.

When we ask Jesus into our hearts and lives he cleans us up and renew us so your spiritual growth is continuing as you become an child of God and you have become an new person. An always remember that Jesus Christ loves you very much and he forgives you for all of your sins and secrets you hold for they are not secret to him. Some secrets are hid away from you in your subscious because they are too terriable to remember right now but he know those as well. Some things are not what we have done but what have been done unto us wrongfully. But what ever it is Jesus will guide you.

Your soul deep down inside of you know what you should do. If you feel you both are deeply in love and she will understand you and you are prepared for what ever happens for she may or may not fully understand but God surely does. So, if you want to tell her than pray and take it to the Lord Jesus Christ first and ask him to help you tell her and help her to understand what you are trying to tell her than he will help the situation out and it will be ok for the both of you. Do what you feel is in your heart to do but always take it to the Lord Jesus first in prayer for help and support.


answered 02 Nov '09, 10:07

flowingwater's gravatar image


edited 02 Nov '09, 10:32

No if the information being revealed is not necessarry and will lead to a loss of respect.


answered 04 Nov '09, 02:44

Andrew%202's gravatar image

Andrew 2

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