Most significant others share everything with each other. But not everyone does. Some people have pasts too traumatic, habits too shameful, or resentments too deep to share with their loved one. Maybe it's a fear of rejection or an avoidance of reliving the past that keeps these secrets buried. But, in this collection of stories, these people spill the dark truths that they'll take to their graves before their significant others find out.
All content has been edited for clarity.
"She knows I spent time in a local mental institution as a child, but not why. The truth is because I don't know either, I have a fragmented memory of my childhood before the age of 11 and basically nothing before the age of 7. I'm fairly sure I was under the care of the institution between the ages of 7 and 9 but I only recall the name of the guy who ran the place and a day trip we had once to go bowling.
As a guess I suffered from some form of psychosis, but I'd rather not dive too deep into it, and she would probably pressure me into finding out what happened. My parents never speak of it so that tells me all I need to know."
"I never told him how bad my past relationships were. I have given him surface level accounts of my past, but the actual details are so painful for me that I can't find the words for it all.
Also, just telling him the bare minimum caused noticeable pain on his face, I think the full truth would leave a sizable amount of pain in his heart. I don't need him to know the details or feel any form of pity for me, I just need him to know that he makes me feel beautiful, safe, loved and special (and how grateful I really am to finally have someone who wants to show me how beautiful life really is and can be)."
"My wife knows that I was in the military, which branch, and that I spent time in the Middle East. I haven't told her any of the things I did while overseas because she would be horrified at the cavalier violence - I think she would never look at me the same way again. It's been over a decade, and I'm not that person anymore so best to let sleeping dogs lie."
"I had an abortion when I was 18. It was with my high school sweetheart and I’m still completely heartbroken over it.
I’ve been married for 10 years and my husband has no idea. He is pro-choice, but I still can’t imagine telling him because the pain and emotions would just spill out, and I can’t imagine my husband comforting me over an abortion from an ex-boyfriend. So I just keep it secret and occasionally cry alone.
The guy I was dating never told anyone, but people found out I had an abortion. They all judged me and treated me horribly for it. To this day no one knows it was my ex's and he is a huge Christian, funny, handsome and loved by everyone - because they don’t know it was him who convinced me to have the abortion."
"I really didn't like our wedding.
He loved our wedding and often brags about how close to perfect it was, better than he ever thought, etc. He cherishes that memory, but I had a pretty terrible time. Part of it was because I had to put so much of it together, my friends and I, and he just showed up and enjoyed the party. I ran every decision by him, of course - like what to eat or what kind of officiant to get, but when it came to ordering the food and finding and hiring the officiant, it was all me. I couldn't really enjoy it the same way because I felt so responsible for everything going OK and people enjoying it.
But the biggest part of the issue is that I just remember it as a lonely experience. It was very small as we wanted it, with just each of us having our four closest friends. But all my friends were locals I see all the time, and they were mostly preoccupied with entertaining their kids and otherwise enjoying themselves at just another event I hosted. He had his friends come in from all over the country, even one from Europe, and it was such a big happy reunion for him.
As I remember it, almost nobody talked to me at the wedding. Although I am sure there was more than I remember, I know nobody gave any toasts. I don't recall anyone even saying something as simple as acknowledging us or saying 'congratulations' or 'what a lovely ceremony.' And I definitely remember at one point the officiant (who stuck around for part of the reception), who we barely knew, looked over at me alone and broke away from his conversations to come over to me just to make some idle conversation and keep me company. I also remember standing there looking at my phone, checking some sports scores, just to keep myself entertained and look like I had something to do.
I would have loved it if we could have had a wedding that was an order of magnitude bigger, so I could have my friends and relatives whom I haven't seen in ages and only get to see when we have excuses for events like that. I bragged about our $200 food bill for the whole event, having a friend take all the pictures, and my $50 dress, but I hate the thought now of how cheap and throwaway our wedding kind of was.
What really drove it home for me was that a couple who came to our wedding got married about a year later with a very similar affair (though bigger). She even wore a dress similar to mine, and she said our wedding was an inspiration for her. That made me feel better about our wedding. I knew they were having another wedding later in the year where she lived, for her friends and relatives, and I assumed that would be a smaller event just to include those folks. Later, I saw on Facebook that it was a real-deal beautiful wedding, with dancing, attendants, professional photographs, her looking utterly stunning in a gorgeous full-length gown, and dozens of amazing pictures. So, our wedding was the template for their 'forget about it' wedding. She didn't even post any pictures of the smaller wedding at all. It made me so sad.
I know people love small, inexpensive weddings here, and the idea is that anything else cheapens the love the event is meant to celebrate. But maybe, for some people, something can be too simple, too small, and maybe even too 'intimate'. I wanted to celebrate with my extended family and friends - not every single bloody one of them, but maybe 20 of them. I reduced the whole thing so much to its essence that it didn't feel like much of anything at all.
I don't want to spoil the wonderful memory for my husband, particularly since I labored so hard to make exactly that for him."
"My husband doesn't know about a dark time in my life.
I was a call-girl, had issues with a number of different substances, as even addicted to gambling. I just needed the kick.
Sometimes I started to use men just for their wallets, and he was one of my prey. But I saw something in his eyes like I had never seen before. We got engaged, and he told me one night after having a few too many that he just wanted to rob me, so I told him about my earlier plans, and we just laughed.
We are now 20 years together and 15 of this years married, and we still joke about stealing the stuff from others."
"I used to spend a lot of time at my high school boyfriend's house, so his mom and I got somewhat close. One day he was out mowing the lawn or something, and I was in the house chatting with her. I guess we got on the topic of pets, and she decides to tell me a story I wish I never heard.
When my ex was a toddler, they had this terrier and his mom LOVED this dog. Well my ex would tend to play a little rough with him. His mom would discipline him if he got too rough with the terrier. One day she had to step out of the room to do something and my ex was left alone with the dog. Well, when his mom came into the room the dog was dead. My ex hugged him too tight and broke its neck.
After she tells me this story, she says, 'Oh but you can never tell him. He has no idea that happened...' Right at that moment my ex walks into the house and says, 'Oh are you telling her about (the terrier)? That dog hated me.'"
"My wife doesn't know how deathly afraid of being alone I am. Like, it really, truly scares me to my core. Not 'being alone' like having alone time, that doesn't bother me. But the idea of spending my life alone is terrifying to me. I sometimes feel like I put up with things I shouldn't, because I love her and worry so much about being alone or having her leave me. I've spent nights pretending to sleep so that she won't know that thinking about it keeps me up at night."
"I’ve been using and abusing psychedelics behind my girlfriend's back. I’m afraid of how she’ll react because she has had to deal with a father that abused substances all her life. I’ve reached my limit because my problem has affected me mentally, socially, and creatively. I feel like a shell of who I was. I don’t know how I’m going to tell her, but I’m going to tell her soon. I'm so afraid, but I can’t let this go on any longer."
"Her lupus is getting much worse, much more quickly than she had expected and I'm afraid that she won't have much time left before her kidneys or liver fails. Apparently there's a ton of scar tissue forming already even though she was diagnosed two weeks ago.
My heart is filled completely with guilt because I'm still in school, and she works long, 12-hour nights as a nurse, doing brutal, exhausting work. She tells me she's tired once in a while, but she's always so happy to see me, and she always tells me that she's going to take care of me and support me endlessly until I'm done with engineering school. I feel so useless because I don't have much money and it's hard for me to take care of her, yet she'll still take me out to eat so often and buys nice clothes for me when I would otherwise only be able to shop at thrift stores or clearance aisles. She loves me and tells me about how much potential I have, even if my grades aren't great and I'm struggling to do well in engineering.
I feel that I'm part of the reason why she got sick, maybe she feels she has to work so much, sometimes four to six days nonstop without days off in between to support the people in her life and also make time for me. The worst part is that she always smiles when we spend time together and still asks if I want to go hiking or play tennis (things that I love doing that she sometimes objects to) even if she's barely slept or eaten and is still physically exhausted. I worry she forces herself to for my sake. All I tell her is that I'm tired and I'd like to read comic books with her or put on Netflix (her favorites) and lay in bed and nap with her, because I don't know how much longer we'll be able to do that together.
She's gained about twenty pounds from water retention (for a slim, petite little thing it's almost a fifth of her weight) and her legs have swollen so much that she can't bend her knees or walk without intense pain.
I couldn't bear to see her unconscious in her hospital room, hooked up to IVs and machines, and it breaks my heart. I've known that I was going to marry her for a long time now, but I'm certain that I'm going to be by her side no matter what happens, whether we have five months left together or fifty years."
"I had a bad feeling about letting our girls stay the night at my wife's parent's house, partially due to the teenage boy obsessed with video games who lived there (adopted grandson), but mostly from what she told me her father did to her when she was young.
I opposed it, questioned it, asked when they would return home etc. etc. over and over again. We are talking about summer and spring break. Weeks, sometimes. Flash forward a few years, and my oldest starts cutting herself. She blames me. I'm mean. I make her clean her room. I make her share with her baby brother. I'm awful. She hates me.
A couple more years go by, and I'm in it worse than ever, hated by all except my son. My wife says she wants a divorce. I get a call that the FBI wants to talk to the kids, 'bring them now'. Four hours of interviews later, and it was not the grandpa, but the grandson, for eight years, had been doing the worst things ever to my oldest daughter. Her therapist says she was lashing out at ANY man. I just happened to be the one she saw the most.
The dude is facing 20 years federal time. I'm divorced, we couldn't repair it. I never told her I knew something the whole time (or at least had a strong suspicion. I had no proof, only history to go by and a rumbling poisonous feeling in my gut that felt like I was going to vomit). Now my ex is getting all the backlash from both girls, and I feel sorry for her. It's not her fault either. I'm just not around anymore."
"He doesn't know that my now ex-husband assaulted me before I was able to pack my things and move out when we started separating.
It was Valentine's Day 2016. My ex basically caused a huge scene at my job, then came back to the apartment we had together before my coworkers could warn me, took my phone and held me hostage. He wouldn't let me hold our son, and I was so scared of him that day. When we got home that night and I put our son to bed, he assaulted me because I wasn't allowed to say no on Valentine's Day. So I disassociated for the next five minutes while he finished with me and took a shower.
Even three years later, my ex wishes me a happy Valentine's Day and I get this disgusted, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I never told my significant other because I just wanted to put it as far behind me as possible."
"Her ex is in town, and she is secretly meeting him behind my back.
I know this because her location is always shared with me due to her habit of forgetting where her phone is.
If she still loves him, I don't want to step in the way. I am waiting for her to come clean to me on her own and if she does, I won't tell her I already knew. What hurts me is that she is indeed cheating on me. She is being extra affectionate. She's putting more effort into her appearance. She's more interested in my schedule than ever before, but never expressing I should come home soon.
The app we have is 'Find My Friends' on iPhone. Instead of asking about her whereabouts, we share our location with each other. Also, so in case the phone is missing somewhere, we know where it is.
I know where the ex is living and I can see that she's there very regularly.
I am going to give her some time to come clean. For the sake of our child and our eight-year marriage.
I'm seeing a lawyer soon to plan my next steps. I'm depressed and miserable and it is not a very great shape to be in."
"This was my ex-girlfriend. She had a fairly large scar on her back and was incredibly self-conscious about it. She wouldn't even take her shirt off. When I asked her about it, she said she had fallen from her horse when she was young.
Fast forward a little and I'm out finding her a birthday present and have enlisted the help of her friend. I pick out a nice singlet and her friend just looks out me like I'm stupid. Apparently the scar on her back, which the singlet clearly revealed, wasn't from a fall, but an abusive ex-boyfriend who had pushed her onto his motorbikes exhaust pipe and burnt her.
We ended on good terms, and I never told her I knew. I hope she is doing well."
"I found out she had a credit card she had charged $2,200 to. I confronted her for hiding it, and she admitted it, and we paid it off...that's the stupid part. We had the money in the bank. Her brother is in prison, and he manipulates her into sending him money. She agreed not to do that anymore. The other day, I drove her car and there was an invoice stuck down between the console and parking brake lever. She has another credit card. I opened it and discovered she owes $1,800 on that one. She doesn't know I know...yet.
We are married. We have children. We share a bank account. When we were first married, we lived in an apartment in a converted garage attached to her parents' house. Her addicted brother came in one night while we were asleep and stole money from my wife's purse. I chased him, in my underwear, in January, in the freezing rain, barefoot, for almost a mile before my body gave out. You can't catch an addict. I returned to the house and told my wife to pack our stuff because we were moving out.
The next day, we moved into a single-wide trailer we rented from my grandparents. It was an awful place that I wouldn't have lived in if I had other options. It was cheap, and addict-brother free. A few months later, he got arrested for stealing checks from his boss. He ended up with 109 felony charges and has been in prison ever since.
Fast forward five years. My father-in-law contracted a serious infection from an airborne fungus. His brain swelled and he almost died before they figured out what was wrong with him. He had no health insurance because they couldn't afford any. He lost his job. They lost their house and every dime they had. Her mom always sent her brother money in jail. So did we. He milked everyone he knew for money. He didn't care that his father was almost dead. He only cared about his money.
I drove two hours to the prison on his next visitation day. I cursed him out and the guards made me leave. I'm not allowed back in, ever. That little payment we were sending him, I put a stop to. I told my wife he gets three meals and a cot to sleep on. He doesn't need money. She agreed we wouldn't send him any money.
Fast forward another year and I get the mail out of our box. There's a credit card bill in there that says 'open immediately.' My wife was late on the payment. I breeze though and see the amount owed is around $2,200. The bill shows she made two payments to the prison's payment service. When she gets home, I confront her. She spills her guts and says she's been sending her brother money because he called her, begging and crying and all this trash. She used her credit card because she knew I'd be mad if I found out.
To be honest, I don't care if she sends him money, it's the hiding it from me that really ticked me off. We had money in the bank she could have sent me, and she's running a credit card bill up and paying interest on the thing like n idiot. She called in and made the $2,200 payoff and cancelled the card. I thought that was the end of it.
Fast forward another two years, and I find the invoice in her car. It's a JC Penny card. She's been doing the same thing, and judging by the $1,800 probably never stopped. I knew she had the card, but for some reason I wasn't thinking you could use it as a credit card, only in store purchases. I haven't confronted her about it yet. I've been putting it off. I'm going to make her agree to work extra hours to pay off the $1,800 so it doesn't affect our money in our bank account. I'm also going to demand she cancel every credit account she has and offer her a chance to come clean if there are more cards I don't know about.
Divorce isn't an option for me. I love her and I made a commitment for life, and intend to keep it. But this can't keep happening. I understand why she does it. It's her brother and she loves him. I don't blame her. If it were my brother I'd probably do the same. They have a strong bond and I can't change that.
I also can't change the fact that he is a toxic person that takes advantage of everyone who loves him. Ideally, I'd like her to come to realize he just uses her and if he cared he wouldn't ask her for money. He gets out in a year. Right now, my plan is to attempt to restrain myself from beating him to death. I predict he learned nothing in prison except how to be an even worse person. I'm going to sit back and see what happens.
Maybe he will come out and be a productive member of society. Time will tell. If he goes right back to doing crack, I'll be there to point out to my wife that he will never change and she needs to distance herself. If that doesn't work, there's always the option to kidnap him, put him in a crate with some MREs and a few bottles of water, and ship him to Mexico."
"I was stuck with my ex partner for a long time because although I wasn't happy and wanted to leave, I couldn't as she told me if I ever did she would kill herself. I was committed to making her happy. I never told her that I was depressed. She was severely autistic and required a certain amount of attention. She had a strict schedule where I'd have to stay in bed with her, no TV, no phone and just cuddle and talk until 10pm every night. If I didn't, she would have a severe panic attack. Sometimes even if I did, she would have one because I was 'leaving her,' even though we lived together and I would only be a room away.
This would happen frequently and I had to do EVERYTHING for her or again, panic attacks. When I told her I needed a bit of space, she said she would give it me, but she never did. Eventually she found some messages of me breaking down to a friend about how I felt and how I felt trapped and unhappy, and we broke up. She then threatened me with suicide (thankfully she was bluffing) and faked self harm (found a vial of fake blood and gauze in her bag that she had left at my place. I checked it because we had an argument and wanted to make sure she hadn't left valuables). This suddenly brought the panic attacks to question too, very convenient she had them whenever she didn't get her way.
Moral of the story is don't bottle anything up and don't keep secrets. Although their feelings are important, so are yours. Feelings and secrets will eat you up over time. Don't not tell them. If they're worth it, they will understand. The worst case, you tell them and you lose them, but if they can't understand, they're not the person you think they are and it's not worth it anyway. If they do understand, your relationship will be better for it. If I had been honest with my feelings I would have saved myself two years of feeling suffocated and miserable."
"I never told her how much it hurt that she did not do anything for my 50th birthday. We are born almost a year apart. This year for her 49th I took her on a cruise and signed her up for a scuba excursion, which she has always wanted to do. She loved it of course.
Her 50th is next January, I started planning for it in June. I have contacted old friends from high school and family to get a bunch of them to go on a cruise for her 50th. It was going to be a surprise, but someone let it slip at Christmas. When she found out, I figured she would do something for my 50th since she never does anything for any of my birthdays. Nope, she got me a store made cake."