From getting the seal of approval from your partner’s family and friends to understanding each other sexually and so much more, relationships can be complicated. Throw in some lack of communication, and you have a recipe for mixed signals, hurt feelings, and an overall hot mess.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Taking a look at how you may be contributing to your relationship woes is the first step. The second? Tapping into your mate’s inner workings to fully understand what he or she has going on, even if it hasn’t been expressed.
This can be a challenge, we know. So, we’ve decided to make the process a little bit easier for you. We spoke with multiple men about secrets — big and small — that they or people they know tend to keep from their partners. Take these notes with a grain of salt and do with them what you will. Hopefully, though, they can encourage dialogue between you and your SO.
Scroll through to see 15 common secrets that men keep from their partners.
1. How They Feel About You Physically
Body image can surely be a touchy subject. People may gain or lose weight for many different reasons, and in the era of the Instagram model, it can all be so discouraging. Men are aware of this and sometimes just don’t want to hurt your feelings, so they’ll keep their thoughts about your physicality to themselves.
If your body has changed from when you first started dating your man, you may want to have a conversation with him about it. Or maybe you don’t. Just remember that despite how your boyfriend may secretly feel, you come first. Love yourself and focus on being the healthiest version of you for YOU.
2. Their Work and Family Drama
Oftentimes men are very prideful. They want to appear as if everything is fine and dandy even if it isn’t. Your boyfriend may be doing the same. If he is dealing with issues within his family, at work, or with his friends, he may be bottling this up.
Check in on him to make sure everything is OK outside of your relationship, because it may be affecting how he’s handling things with you and you don’t even realize it.
3. They Aren’t as Composed as They Appear to Be
Believe it or not, men experience a lot of the same things women do. The difference is that they don’t always express it. Justin H. says, “We don’t have it all figured out. We’re just as afraid to fall in love as you guys are.”
4. They’re Angry or Upset
Sometimes things just aren’t worth an argument in a man’s eyes. Your boyfriend may be angry or upset and keep it from you because he simply doesn’t want to fight.
5. They Were Dumped or Cheated on in a Previous Relationship
Remember that manly pride we mentioned? Yeah, it’s the same reason some men don’t share their past relationship experiences with their girlfriends. Admitting they were cheated on or broken up with would mean admitting that they weren’t in control, and our sources say sometimes they’d rather keep that information to themselves.
6. They’re Attracted to Your Friend or Relative
As shady as it is, some men shared that they have been attracted to their SO’s friend or sibling, and for obvious reasons, they’ve kept this bit of information to themselves. Note: we’re not sharing this for you to go and question your bestie from undergrad. We’re just the messenger here.
7. Their Bedroom Fantasies and Fetishes
Maybe he loves your feet. Perhaps he’s been dying to test out that new toy you bought. Whatever the case may be, he just might be holding on to some raunchy fantasies about sexual escapades he’d like to try with you.
Communication is key (this seems to be the common thread of this entire thing). Talk to your man about what he likes and share what you love, too. You never know — this may bring your sex lives into a whole new stratosphere.
8. What Their Friends Think of You
While at the end of the day all that matters is what your man thinks of you, it’s normal to want the approval from his family and friends. So, if that approval isn’t there, he may be hesitant to share this information with you. How uncomfortable would it be to hang around his best friend Jake if you know Jake isn’t very fond of you? For this reason, men don’t always tell their partners how their friends or family feel about them.
9. Their Browsing History or Phone Passwords
We all want our privacy. Men in relationships are no exception. Whether they’re doing something shady or not, some just really don’t want their significant others to have access to things like their browsing history or phone passwords. Instead, they’d rather you just trust that they aren’t being shady.
10. Their Childhood Trauma
If you or someone you know has experienced some sort of childhood trauma, you may understand that sometimes people repress these memories because revisiting them would be to revisit the pain that’s associated with them. Your boyfriend is no different.
George M. says, “One secret would be one that’s deep-rooted in why some of us are the way we are. It could be from being molested at a young age, sexually assaulted, and anything in that realm . . . something even our parents, best friends, or homies don’t know about. We wouldn’t tell anyone this because of how we would feel misunderstood or looked at differently when people know about it.”
11. What They Did Last Night
Maybe he went to the strip club or maybe he was out late drinking. Whatever the case, men may sometimes be hesitant to tell their partners what they did the night before. But don’t take this information and go sifting through his text messages using his password (that you masterfully figured out) to find out for yourself.
12. They’re Unsure of Their Relationship With You
This one’s a doozy, but multiple men expressed that they have been unsure of where their relationships were going. Instead of cutting things off and hurting feelings, they dragged the relationship on to see if there was a way they could work through those confusing feelings.
All we can say here is what we’ve been saying. Communication is key. Communication is key. Communication is key.
13. Their True Financial Situation
Adulting is hard. There are bills galore and you may not always have the funds to pay them all on time every single time. So when Sally Mae is at your door and you aren’t able to pay her back, you might opt to keep it to yourself. Why stress other people out with your own financial burdens? Some men feel the same way when it comes to their relationships. Instead of creating tension with their partners regarding their money mayhem, some would rather keep it to themselves.
14. They Still Have Feelings For an Ex
Breakups are hard. Trust us, we know. And sometimes men just can’t move on from an old flame.
They say the best way to get over someone is to get under someone . Frankly, you just might be that someone else. Several men that we spoke to expressed that they’ve been in situations where they dated someone simply to move on from an ex. Clearly, this isn’t something he’d want to share with his new SO, so he keeps it to himself as a hidden secret.
15. Their Friendships With the Opposite Sex
Being jealous of your partner’s relationship with friends of the opposite sex is human nature. Even if there’s nothing suspicious about it, you may find yourself side-eyeing Emily from his elementary school as you notice he “liked” her latest Instagram photo. Because of this, men admitted that they sometimes keep friendships with women on the down low so their girlfriends don’t find out and get upset.