Thinking about cheating on your partner? Dating a married person? SoNaughty.com looks at the question of whether or not a secret relationship is ever okay.
The answer to this question is dependent on your morals more than anything else, and since everyone is raised with different beliefs, it's a very difficult question to answer definitively. The most 'okay' that a secret relationship can be is when you're 100% certain that it will remain a secret, and won't end up having any effect on yours or your secret partner's relationship. That's a tough thing to be sure of, but we'd say that's the closest to 'okay' that a secret relationship can get. If for example you're having a relationship with someone who's in another relationship, and you're willing to accept the hurt that will ultimately happen if/when your partner's partner finds out about it, then personally, you can look at it as being 'okay'. The hurt can also come back to you if your secret relationship is discovered but your partner decides to break up with you rather than their spouse. There are lots of different ways to keep a secret relationship secret though, and we encourage you to read below to look at a variety of things to take into consideration before deciding to take part in a secret relationship.
We've all asked someone this question at some point in our lives. We've probably all had it asked of us too. When you think about the situation, it's almost always because the person is about to tell you a secret that they're not supposed to be telling anyone else. Secrets are often only as secure as the people that they're entrusted to. There's something about keeping a secret that can be incredibly different. Especially when the stakes aren't terribly high for us.
Keeping a good friend's secret is easy, because we care deeply about our good friends. If you look through your Facebook friends list, you could probably go through each one and rate the chances of you keeping a secret that they told you. Your best friends are safe, but that friend that you see maybe twice a year at parties... They probably shouldn't be telling you their deepest darkest secrets, because if you think it makes a good story, you're going to share it with your close friends one night when the gossip is running hot.
Think about all of the parties involved in your secret relationship (or hypothetical secret relationship), and ask yourself if you and the person you would be in this relationship would be able to keep it 100% between the two of you. Or would you feel the need to tell a couple of your closest friends? Would they do the same? Can you completely trust your friends? Is your partner a good judge of character? Are their friends trustworthy? In fact... How well do you know your secret partner? Can you trust THEM??
More often than not, when people find themselves sleeping with someone who's married, they don't know in advance. They're told after, when their new partner is leaving, and have to make sure to tell you to make sure that you don't tell anyone. To make sure that you don't phone them when they'll be having breakfast with their spouse. To make sure you don't decide to surprise them at work, where their co-workers would wonder "Who is THAT?" and begin gossip about whether or not they're having an extramarital affair.
Even if you never thought of yourself as someone who would be involved with a married person, it can sometimes be too little too late once you find out the situation that you're in. Maybe you've been on multiple dates with this person, and you feel a real and special connection to them. You'll most likely have conflicting feelings about the matter, but the thought that if they were happy in their marriage or relationship, they wouldn't be sleeping with you, and since things feel so right between the two of you, you can quickly become sure that they'll break up their relationship to be with you will arise.
You can soon begin to think that it doesn't matter if your secret partner's spouse or significant other finds out about you, and is hurt, because they're clearly doing something wrong. Even if their relationship isn't a happy one, think about times in your life when you've ended a relationship that's not working. There's still some heartbreak involved. Maybe you've even been cheated on, so know firsthand the feeling that comes with finding out that your partner's been sleeping with other people behind your back. If you're going to be in this type of relationship, you need to acknowledge and be prepared for the hurt that will most likely come because of your keeping things a secret (whether that's your decision or not).
Who in your secret relationship is the one who's cheating on their partner? Maybe both of you are. There are lots of spots online designed for this very reason, which are great resources for people who're in relationships but feel like they need to see other people. A secret relationship with another married person has a built-in safety feature in that neither of you want each other's partners to find out about your infidelity, so it's often the ideal way for such relationships to be initiated.
If only one party in the relationship is seeing someone else, another question is whether or not the unattached person in the affair is cleared of all wrong-doing. Do they have any reason to feel guilty if they aren't cheating on anyone? That's a bit of a grey area for some people, and we find that the people who more often want to clear that party of any wrong-doing are the very people who find themselves in that situation. It's much easier to have a secret relationship when in your mind, you're not doing anything wrong. Both parties are grown adults, and are making their own decisions. If your secret partner chooses to have sex with you without telling their spouse, that's none of your concern. For all you know, they have an agreement, and the only reason things have to be kept a secret is for social and professional reasons. Worries of their children, or their parents finding out that their relationship isn't monogamous.
There's no right or wrong way to look at the situation, but we suggest that the expression, 'Honesty is the best policy" applies here in spades, and the fewer lies you have to tell yourself, the truer your relationship will be.
If you've ever watched a film where one of its characters is sleeping with someone behind their spouse's back, you know that things usually get messy. Really messy. There are almost always strong emotions involved; sometimes by one party, and sometimes by both. Then there's the emotions of the spouse who finds out that they're being cheated on. While Hollywood is great at exaggerating things to the point of ridiculous, in the name of entertainment, there is some truth to these emotions. Secret relations are volatile. If you think about how difficult it is to maintain a person between two partners, it's only logical that if you add a third person (and one who's being lied to on top of that) into the equation, things are more likely to explode.
If the third/injured party finds out about your secret relationship, and decides to act out and take justice into their own hands, are you prepared for that? What if they find out where you work, and come to confront you in front of your entire office? What if they begin to spread lies about you on the internet? Are you sure you don't have any mutual friends? If you do, then your once well-kept secret will very easily find its way back to your entire network of friends. Certainly there are lots of different viewpoints on how okay or not okay secret relationships are, but you could find yourself in a Scarlet Letter situation very easily.
The risks involved in secret relationships are high. So if you decide to be in one, you should ensure that you're able to trust your partner's ability to ACTUALLY keep your relationship a secret.
How would you react if you found out that your partner was having a secret relationship? Think of all of the different reactions that you could have, and then consider whether or not you're okay with making someone else feel that way (or maybe even worse). This will play a large part in your personal decision of whether or not a secret relationship is ever okay, and if it's something that you want to take part in.
A good thing to have some idea of in advance is what discovery would mean to your secret relationship. Would the married person go back to their spouse, or would they remain with their secret partner and dissolve their marriage? If you find out that you're not going to be the person that's chosen in the case of discovery, does that change the way you feel about the relationship? You could even tell your secret partner that you'd leave your spouse for them, but when the day comes, your feelings could be completely different, and you would go back to try and repair your original relationship. Heck! There are situations where in the end, all three (or four) parties wind up being single and having nothing to do with each other because of the bad feelings and hurt that's connected to those people.
One big thing that needs to be addressed if we're to deem a secret relationship 'okay', and that's safety. Safe sex should always be practiced in a secret relationship to ensure that the outside parties are never being exposed to potentially life-threatening or changing STDs. If you don't want to bring the morality of safe sex into the equation, understand that it's not just a matter of ethics. You can be criminally prosecuted if you recklessly transmit an STD to someone (for example: the spouse who doesn't know that their partner is having an affair). You should always be safe, but here especially, there are other parties who can be affected if you decide not to be, and that's definitely not okay.
The very question of whether or not a secret relationship is every "okay" is an interesting last point to look at. We rarely find ourselves in a relationship asking if it's "okay". We ask ourselves if it's "good" or "making us happy" or "real", but rarely "okay". And while the meaning of "okay" in this question takes on a slightly different meaning, it's worth taking a look at those other questions and applying them to your secret relationship (hypothetical or not). Does your secret relationship make you happy? Are your feelings real? And at the end of the day, is it a GOOD RELATIONSHIP? If the answer to any of those questions is affirmative, then you're certainly justified in wanting to explore the relationship further, whether it's "okay" or not. That's a moral and ethical issue that isn't going to be the same for everybody. Whether or not secret relationships are okay doesn't even concern a lot of people if we look at the number of affairs and secret relationships that are happening in the world every day.
No matter what you end up deciding, we hope that we've given you some food for thought, and helped to make whatever decision it is you have in front of you a little easier to make.