by: E.B. Johnson
Has your relationship become plagued by sudden doubts, or a partner who seems to be avoiding you or the promises they made? When things in our relationships become rocky we become scared and, above all, confused. We might turn inward or avoid addressing the problem at all, but this leads us no closer to resolution…or happiness.
If your relationship is facing serious doubts, it’s time to admit that you might be dealing with a partner who is hiding something from you. From sneaky behavior to drastic overreactions — there are a number of ways in which we can tell whether our partners are telling us the whole story. You have to confront them, but before you can do that, you’re going to have to dig deep. Find your courage and open up to the truth the right way.
At some point we have to admit it.
When our partners aren’t be honest with us, there are usually some pretty obvious signs that key us in. It’s impossible to hide everything from someone who spends so much intimate time with us. Whether we realize it or not, our partners know us inside and out, and they can feel when a sudden change has altered our behavior. Is your intuition going wild? It may be time to admit that they’re hiding something from you.
We have to look for the signs of a partner who isn’t being honest and embrace that reality with courage. Not all secrets are bad ones, and not all partners who conceal something do so from a bad place. Life is challenging, and it can place in predicaments which are hard to navigate and even harder to open up about.
Have the courage to admit when something is wrong in your relationship. Dig deep and find the bravery within and stand up for yourself and your emotions. You’re going to have to sit down and confront your partner about how you’re feeling, but you’ll have to be careful not to make it confrontation. Be respectful, but be honest. Then, stick up for yourself and ensure that you’re always keeping one eye on your wellbeing…no matter what truths you uncover along the way.
Undeniable signs they’re hiding something from you.
When something shifts in your relationship, the changes (though subtle) become obvious. Has your partner’s behavior suddenly changed? Are they sneaking around or hanging out with a different crowd than they ever did before? They may be hiding something from you and these are the signs.
Is your partner sneaking around, or getting up to sketchy behavior behind your back? Perhaps you catch them in lies all the time, or find out that they are in different places and with different people than they are supposed to be. This is a classic sign of a partner who is hiding something from you. There is no telling how severe the secret is, however, until you talk to them about it.
Too often, we underestimate the power of our intuition. Our intuition is that natural sense of “wrong” or danger that comes when there’s suspicious activity around us. A part of our flight-or-flight response, it’s meant to help protect us, but we often ignore it or dismiss it as “useless”. If alarm bells are going off in your head (and your gut), you need to listen to your instincts and separate them from your insecurities to discover the truth.
A partner who is doing something they aren’t supposed to (like concealing behavior) is usually one who is sensitive to criticism and questioning. They might blow up in response to small questions (which may have nothing to do with their shady behavior). They also might become defensive when you call them out on their shady actions, or their inability and unwillingness to be open with you.
Never deny the power and value of the rumors that you hear. While investing wholeheartedly in rumors is certainly reckless, that old saying “there’s no smoke without fire” holds true. Incessant rumors that your partner is being unfaithful or engaging in risky behaviors behind your back, is often a sign that something serious is wrong. Don’t allow your emotions to get tangled up in the webs of strangers, though. When you hear rumors about their misbehavior or lies be big enough to look for the truth.
Does your partner do everything they can to keep you away from their friends and family? Are their social circles and loved ones completely separate from you and your relationship? While having our own lives outside of the partnership is important, those lives shouldn’t be entirely separate. Social isolation is an early warning sign of a partner who isn’t being open. Look to your friends too. Have they expressed concerns or worries which have isolated them from you?
Deflection is a common tactic used by the shady partner, and one of the more frequent ways in which they engage in this tactic is with the use of conflict. Rather than fess up to whatever they’re hiding, they pick fights with you whenever you get too close to the truth. These fights are usually patterned around questioning, and the moments you see the cracks. Little issues become major fights; all in an attempt to obscure their poor behavior.
Is your partner demanding extreme or over-the-top privacy? While we all need privacy in our relationships, it’s a big warning sign when our partners suddenly need alone time in strange places (or at strange times). Maybe they’re taking their phone to the bathroom all the time, or demanding to spend entire days alone inside their office — or at work. This over-the-top privacy can be a major warning sign that something isn’t right behind their scenes.
Inability to connect
Communication and intimacy are two of the foundational stones of every romantic partnership. We have to talk to one another, and we have to bond with one another through close physical and emotional contact. A partner who suddenly can’t make eye contact with you is one who should be questioned. They may also avoid spending time with you, leading to failing intimacy and a stillness to a relationship that was once alive.
How to handle a partner who isn’t being honest.
Have you caught your partner in a lie? Are your suspicions getting the best of you or your relationship? It’s time to admit that something isn’t right, and it’s time to sit your partner down and ask them about it. Before you can do that, though, you need to get clear on your feelings and how you want to proceed.
1. Address your feelings first
Before you confront your partner, you need to get clear on the way you’re feeling first. It’s important to remember that our emotions are not always reality. While you may be seeing signs of someone who is hiding something from you, these signs can often be projections of our insecurities — which makes things seem much more insidious than they usually are.
Get clear on where you’re coming from. Are you looking at someone who is really sneaking around and hiding things from you? Or are you seeing phantoms from your past where there’s nothing serious going on?
Separate reality from emotion and look at your spouse or loved one’s behavior for what it really is. If you were a stranger on the outside, looking in at the relationship, what would you see? You need to be honest with yourself, so that you can be honest with your partner in the next step. Before you quiz them about their actions, ensure you are able to explain how you’re truly feeling (and why).
2. Confront them the right way
Believe it or not, there’s a right way and a wrong way to confront a loved one about their behavior and our doubts. When feeling as though someone isn’t being honest with us, we have to take our concerns to them so that we can figure out where they’re coming from. Then, we can work together to get to the truth and figure out mutual resolutions which work for our partnerships.
Don’t fly off the handle when you’re feeling emotional or insecure in yourself or your partner. Instead, approach your partner when you’re both feeling calm and comfortable, and do so in an environment which is mutually safe.
Open up to them candidly, but do so without blaming language. This language usually begins with “You did this…You did that…” Try to stick to the facts and the things you know instead — yourself. Share your emotions with phrases like, “I feel…I need…” and try to share your perspective rather than telling them what theirs is. It’s a more positive way to encourage their honesty.
3. Give yourself time to process
You both need to give yourselves time for the dust to settle once the truth has come out, no matter how serious that truth may be. Opening up to one another is an emotional process, and our emotions are complex. We need time to think through them, and we need time to think about how we want to respond to the challenges or setbacks posed to our relationships. After you talk, get some space and process where you’re at.
Did you partner finally give you the truth you crave? Did they open up and change everything with a truth you didn’t want to hear? You need to be strong and find the internal drive to keep going. Look ahead. What future do you want to build for yourself? How can you move away from this situation and toward that one?
Weigh the various outcomes, then weight all the pros and cons you can imagine. This is all a part of processing how we feel and what we want to do next. Lean into that personal space. Really focus inward and allow yourself to be a little selfish for a moment. Are you ready to settle for this new truth? Or are you ready to take some steps in the name of your happiness? You’re the only people who can make the right choices for yourselves.
4. Open up to loved ones
The loving care of friends and family can be a healing balm when we’re dealing with relationship challenges. Our loved ones act as a mirror in our lives. When we’re feeling low or insecure, we look to them to reflect back a vision of self we can lean into. These are the people who often know us better than we know ourselves, and they are the ones who see the best in us when we’re facing hardship.
If you’re struggling to get back on your feet with your relationship, reach out to your loved ones. Give them an inside look at what’s going on and ask them for their take on things. Compare their perspective to your own and take away the good advice that makes sense to your and your intuition.
Know that it’s okay to let them see the cracks. The people that we trust won’t love us any less for showing them our wounds and our imperfections. If anything, it will allow them to love us all the more. Shake out any sense of guilt or shame and allow them to help you like they want you to. Lean into those who want the best for you and stop looking to your partner for all the answers.
5. Embrace your right to walk away
Despite how strongly we might feel for someone, our relationships are not written in stone. Situations change and we change with them. The things we want from a relationship when we’re 20 or 30 isn’t always the same thing we want when we’re 40 or 50. When our relationships begin to fail and our partners start to want other things, we have to open ourselves up to that and embrace the change (and our right to walk away).
You don’t have to hold on to someone who doesn’t want to be held on to. You have a right to pursue relationships which are fulfilling, and partnerships which are rewarding and mutually respectful. If your partner isn’t telling you the truth — if they’re betraying you with others, or going behind your back — you have the right to walk away.
Figure out what means the most to you. Is this really what you’re prepared to settle for? Believe it or not, relationships that are fraught with lies and suspicions aren’t normal. They’re unhealthy, and the longer we hold on to them the more damage they will inflict on us. Take control of your life and open up your arms to your love of self. You can be happy and you deserve to be happy. Pursue that truth and walk away when it’s the right thing to do.
Putting it all together…
When our relationships become plagued with doubt and insecurity, it’s important to look at our behavior and the behavior of our partners. Are they hiding something from you? There are a number of signs we can look for which can direct us toward the truth. Before we can get to a resolution, though, we have to take charge of our emotions and open up about how we’re feeling.
Address your feelings first. Get a handle on where you’re at and figure out what you want to say to your partner. Once you are clear on your emotions, sit down and ask your partner what’s going on. Confront them about their behavior, but do it gently and without allowing your insecurities and pain to get in the way. Once the truth is out there, give yourselves time to process before responding. Not all secrets mean the end of a relationship, but even if they do — we need to be calm and sure before we react. Open up to loved ones and allow their borrowed perspective to inform the right choices for you. Then, lean into your self-respect and your self-love to take the right “next steps” for you and the future relationships you want to build for yourself.