We are all aware that keeping a secret in a relationship can have an adverse effect on it. But it’s not just the relationship that goes through a hard time. A recent research has shown that keeping secrets not only negatively affects your relationship but your mental and physical health also.
How Did We Learn This
A research published in the Journal of Personality And Social Psychology in 2017, links keeping secrets with depression and anxiety. For this study, 1512 people volunteered, out of which 1200 individuals were asked to fill an online survey and the remaining were asked questions face-to-face. The survey included questions about sexual fantasies, committing a fraud, cheating on their partners, theft, drug addiction, emotional cheating, pregnancy, sexual orientation, betrayal of trust, lying about an illness to take a day off and other questions on the same lines. Irrespective of the size of the lie, all the participants agreed to keep at least 13 secrets out of which 5 they never shared with anyone.
The study showed that there is a direct connection between keeping secrets and physical health as well as mental health. Keeping a secret might save someone from embarrassment or getting hurt but it can cause some serious damage to your health.
What We Learnt
The study showed that the participants spent way more time on dwelling on their secrets than they did on hiding it from others. On totalling up the time spent by participants on this, researchers found that the ones who thought most about their secrets were the most unhealthy and were headed towards depression and anxiety.
“Secrets exert a gravitational pull on our attention and it’s the cyclical revisiting of our mistakes and explains the harmful effects that secrets can have on our well-being and relationship satisfaction,” says Malia Mason, co-author in a press release.
The release also quoted Michael Slepain, co-author of the study, as saying, “People anticipate that once in a while, they will need to hide their secrets; they do so and move on. However, people don’t expect their secrets to spontaneously pop into their heads when irrelevant to the task or current situation at hand. This seems to be the real downside of having secrets from others.”
So, the next time you think about hiding something from your partner, also think about what this might do to you and your health.