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Is It OK to Keep It a Secret?

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I’ve had the dilemma of whether I have to tell my future girlfriend or wife that I have gay attraction and had past interactions with guys (that said, I do NOT have a girlfriend at this point). My concern is that her finding out about my issue would likely cause her eventually to tell my family, and if found out, I’d lose my good relationship with my family. As long as that I know it’s wrong to do certain things with other guys and no longer do them, I was wondering whether you think one could possibly still have a good conscience if he doesn’t tell his future girlfriend or wife (either before or during the marriage) about his attraction to men (or past interactions with guys) EVEN if she asks him a direct question about this (in other words, would there be a “moral” exception to “lying” such to protect one’s future individual welfare or prospects of continuing the relationship/marriage to her). For example, in this scenario, do you think could I be spiritually OK if I evade her finding out about this by saying the “past is past, our commitment to each other is what matters” (From Canada)

Is It OK to Keep It a Secret?

Answered by on -

A.

While I can appreciate the concern you are having I think you are putting the emphasis on the wrong question. In other words, I think you are using a hypothetical future girlfriend, and what you want to hide about yourself as a way of avoiding a more direct way of dealing with yourself. The question isn’t what you are going to tell your imaginary girlfriend about your sexual preferences in the past and present, but rather what you are going to do about dealing with this reality in you.

You specifically state that you have had same sex attraction to men, and that you have past relations with men. You do not say you’ve had a relationship with a woman and this leaves what you are saying as only a hypothetical. The scenario you’ve painted is that when the woman you are with finds out that you have been lying to her about your true nature (through omission) she will be upset. In other words, when she finds out you’ve betrayed her with this secret she will ruin your relationship with your family by telling them. You’d want her to keep the secret that you aren’t attracted to her and for her not to be hurt by this. This isn’t fair. Your girlfriend or wife isn’t going to be in an authentic relationship with someone who can accept himself. The “secret” you talk about keeping sounds more like something you are not willing to admit.

I would highly recommend individual therapy with a counselor who specializes in sex-related issues. This is your issue to sort through, not something to lie about to someone else so you don’t have to continue lying to yourself.

At the core is your belief that what you are feeling is inappropriate. You say: “…I know it’s wrong to do certain things with other guys…” This is what is driving you to fabricate a girlfriend and what you will tell her. Working with a skilled therapist to sort through this issue will be more helpful than trying to figure out if lying will be better.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Is It OK to Keep It a Secret?

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Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). Is It OK to Keep It a Secret?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/07/30/is-it-ok-to-keep-it-a-secret/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 Jul 2020 (Originally: 30 Jul 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 29 Jul 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.