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Top 5 Ways Your Partner May Be Hiding Secrets from You

Top 5 Ways Your Partner May Be Hiding Secrets from You

The longstanding movie-enhanced image of fairy dust being sprinkled over a couple in true love is indeed quite romantic. These days, however, an alarming number of relationships aren’t quite so picture-perfect. Couples therapy expert Esther Perel concurs, saying that “When I entered marriage I bought into the whole romantic package. I want my husband to take care of everything. I want to never feel anxious again, never feel a fear of abandonment. It’s the complete merge model. But that’s very different than the millennials I work with.”

As most people are aware, trust is the most important ingredient in making a relationship work. Oftentimes though, there’s cause for concern where it’s not unreasonable to suspect your partner of hiding secrets from you. The secrets your partner might be hiding from you could range from something as innocuous as opening your mail to something sneaky like having a secret bank account to something as deathly serious as infidelity with your neighbor. It’s never been as easy as it is today for your partner to keep secrets from you; so easy, in fact, that you won’t believe the types of things partners sometimes hide from one another.

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    With all of this in mind, we have compiled a list of the top 5 ways that your partner may be hiding secrets from you. If the integrity of your relationship matters to you, it is worth your while to be on the lookout for telltale signs that something may be amiss so that you can address these issues and resolve them amicably.

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    1. Think your partner likes your food? Think again!

    It is often said that “the way to a man’s heart goes through his stomach”. In other words, serve him some great food and you will win his love. Many ladies enjoy cooking for their men, but whether the guys actually love the cooking might be up for debate. Plenty of men can not stand the taste of the cuisine their partners feed them but adopt a diplomatic approach and compliment the food anyhow. Unbeknownst to their partners, however, these men might be discarding the homemade cuisine in favor of take away food.

    Think that could never happen to you? Next time your man comes home, ask him whether he enjoyed the lunch you made for him to take to work. Then interrogate him with some follow-up questions about the food. If you have left him dinner in the fridge because you were out for the night, ask him about that too the next day. If you think your partner might be hiding a secret or concealing the fact that he does not like your food, you should be certain that it is worth your while to prepare it for him in the first place!

    Life Hack 2

      2. Your partner went Where?

      Naturally, you and your partner ought to be spending a lot of time together. Of course, as individuals we are all entitled to some “me time”. Then again, there should certainly be limits as to the activities you engage in alone. This concept may be a foreign one to your partner though or, worse still, he might be taking unfair advantage of time away from you. For all you know, while your partner could be telling you that he’s just having a night out with the guys, that night could have been out at a gentlemen’s club or spent enjoying the company of women.

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      On a far lesser scale, it might seem to you like your partner has become a little “extra eager” to take the dog out for walks or head to the park often with your kids. While it’s certainly possible he’s just being nice and trying to give you some time of your own to chill and relax, he might also be engaging in other activities you are unaware of. At the other end of the spectrum, he might even hint at you and him taking separate holidays from one another. Especially if it is the first time he has ever brought up something like that, you might want to investigate where precisely he wants to go and if there’s some sort of ulterior motive he’s got going on. If you notice a sudden, or even gradual, change in your partner’s routine that allows him for more time away from you, it’s not unjustified to start suspecting that he’s hiding something from you or that there may be cause for concern.

      3. More money, more problems?

      In many relationships there’s a division of labor and chores. This often means that just one of the two partners takes responsibility for money-related issues. If that person is your partner, then perhaps you should consider paying a little extra attention to what’s going on in the bank account.While your credit card may not indicate any suspicious activity in the form of purchases you don’t recognize, if your partner is hiding something money-related from you he may be doing so in cash. Check your bank balance once in a while to see if you notice any out-of-the-ordinary ATM withdrawals. If you do happen to notice your man walking around with more cash than usual, it would not hurt to ask why he’s carrying it all around.

      Beyond that, if you have got a partner who is determined to hide some secrets from you, it is not unreasonable to think that he might have a separate bank account you are not aware of. Maybe he is channeling funds in there to support a recreational gambling habit he thinks you would not approve of? And if you think this is impossible, as you would otherwise find evidence like gambling software on the computer, think again. Many gambling operators offer up an instant play casino platform which would allow someone to play while not leaving tracks. To be fair, it is possible that your partner is hiding something from you, money-wise, because he wants to buy something nice for you without you knowing about it in advance. In fact, there are even how-to articles online that give guys tips for how to keep that surprise from you. So if you notice a little money missing from the piggy bank, it might not be all that bad and you should certainly consider discussing the situation before initiating a hostile confrontation.

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      Life Hack

        4. Nothing to see here, we are just Browsing

        When it comes to Internet browsing and other online activities, modern-day technology has made it possible to hide things pretty easily. Thus, it’s not uncommon to wonder if your partner might be using these technologies to hide secrets from you. Some of the measures he might be taking to ensure you remain blissfully unaware of his online activities include the use of private browsing, as well as the creation of fake user profiles with which to visit certain unsavory corners of the Web.

        If you are pretty certain that your partner does not engage in such activities from their home computer, it still does not mean that he is not utilizing mobile technology for these purposes. For instance, there are ways of hiding apps on your Smartphone, and the fact is that if your partner has gone to the trouble of using technology to conceal things from you as far as his online surfing habits go there is no telling what he might be up to when you’re not around or not looking over his shoulder. While no partner should automatically suspect their significant other of impropriety, the bottom line is that technology makes it easier than ever before to hide secrets and live separate existences.

        Life Hack 3

          5. Is that “eau de mystique” I can Smell?

          Too many bad habits can be malodorous. If your partner is engaged in some of those bad habits and wants to keep them a secret from you, there are many ways he could be masking their smell. For instance, if you notice that he’s recently taken up the habit of chewing gum or suddenly starts carrying breath mints around with him wherever he goes, he might be trying to hide a new smoking habit from you. So if your partner suddenly walks into the house at the end of a long workday smelling as fresh as a daisy or as though they have bathed in cologne, this might serve as a warning flag for you. Sure, he may just be refreshing himself after a tiring or challenging day, but it does not take too much imagination to wonder if he might have been engaging in other activities while at the office or out inthe town with friends.

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          This is especially true with activities that carry with them another person’s fragrance that he may be trying to hide, while a sudden change in your partner’s behavior is also liable to be questioned. With this in mind, keep your wits about you and commit to using all of your senses to see if your partner is hiding something from you. Your instinct is also important, and you should not be afraid to raise issues that are causing you concern in a frank, calm and proactive manner.

          Life Hack 4

            The Bottom Line

            Naturally, we would encourage partners to be fully open with one another through the course of their relationship. If you do suspect that your partner is hiding something from you, we do not advocate confronting them about it right away, or in an overly aggressive manner that prevents them from responding adequately. Trust in a relationship is sacred and can be difficult to repair if breached. For that reason, it may be worth your while to follow these steps to confirm your suspicions about your partner before actually making a move to do something about it.

            Featured photo credit: Eddy Van via flickr.com

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            Last Updated on October 23, 2018

            Why Negative Emotions Aren’t That Bad (And How to Handle Them)

            Why Negative Emotions Aren’t That Bad (And How to Handle Them)

            I have always had an adverse reaction to negative emotions. I never liked feeling sad, mad or scared. I prefer things to be positive and cheerful – some would say rainbows and sunshine. A lot of this has to do with my upbringing; I grew up in a family who focused on being positive, encouraging and optimistic.

            When I was upset, I looked at the bright side. When I was scared, I pushed through it. When I was sad, I got over it. It’s not that I’ve had an easy life, devoid of heartbreak, grief and challenges. I’ve had plenty of those. It’s just that I never decided to focus on that side of things. I thought it was all good. Until it wasn’t.

            Several years ago, I found myself facing anxiety for the first time. And not just a little anxiety. We’re talking paralyzing, full-on panic that I had no control over. At one point, I didn’t want my husband to leave for work in the morning. If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety, you know how hard this can be. As someone who has always been adventurous, rarely felt the full force of fear and wired for positivity, this was NOT me and I had no idea what to do.

            What I learned (that I have always known, but maybe never fully understood) as I worked through that anxiety, was that it was a symptom. A symptom that something wasn’t working in my life. It was nature’s way of telling me I was off track. There was too much on my plate, I wasn’t taking great care of myself and I needed to slow down.

            I may not have slowed down if I wasn’t hit by this spiritual 2×4 of negative emotion. I may have been able to push through many of the ‘negative’ emotions in my life, but some of them were really just pushed down.

            I’ve come to learn that negative emotions are neither good nor bad. They are not actually negative; they just feel that way. They are part of life, of being human.

            We need to provide space to allow that life is going to be difficult, challenging and incredibly hard sometimes, which leads to uncomfortable or negative emotions. We need to learn to acknowledge, embrace and understand what those emotions are trying to tell us. We need to learn the power and value of these emotions.

            Before we dive into this further, I want to make sure you know I am not a therapist or psychologist. These are my experiences of negative emotions for myself, hundreds of people I’ve worked with, and from research and learnings I’ve had over the years. I want to honor and not underestimate the complexity of human emotions. They have been studied by philosophers, psychologists and scientists for thousands of years – each with their own and often competing theories.

            With that said, let’s take a look some negative emotions, why they aren’t so negative after all and how to embrace them to live a more fulfilled life.

            What Are Negative Emotions?

            Negative emotions are any emotions that cause you to feel badly in one way or another. Anger, fear, sadness, despair, frustration, guilt, shame, disgust, disappointment…You name it. We all feel these emotions. Whether you acknowledge them or not, they are there.

            In the 1970’s, psychologist Paul Eckman (best known for studying facial expressions and how they relate to emotions) identified six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise and anger. Interesting that four out of six of these fall into the ‘negative’ category.

            In 1980, Psychologist Robert Plutchik identified eight basic emotions: joy, sadness, trust, disgust, fear, anger, anticipation and surprise. Again, four of these eight might be considered negative.

            They both went on to expand the range of emotions to include many others. Dr. Plutchik expanded his findings through the wheel of emotions (below) to illustrate the spectrum, degrees and relationships among these emotions.

              If you Google it, you could find a list of the top 10, top 20 and more emotions, but for the sake of our sanity, we can start with these.

              Why Negative Emotions Aren’t All That Negative

              While negative emotions may feel bad, they’re not so bad for us after all. Here are seven reasons why negative emotions aren’t all that bad.

                1. They’re normal.

                We are going to start here, because, somewhere along the way, experiencing negative emotions became a bad thing. In a world where we are encouraged to be present, grateful and happy (which I agree with as well), perhaps we are doing ourselves a disservice by not talking about the fact that negative emotions are a natural and unavoidable part of life.

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                This leads us to feel even worse when we do feel them. Experiencing different ‘moods’ is all part of being human.[1]

                It’s time to re-assess the role of bad moods in our lives. We should recognize they are a normal and even useful and adaptive part of being human; they help us cope with many everyday situations and challenges.

                2. They serve a purpose and have a positive intention.

                If you research the underlying purpose behind negative emotions, they all have one thing in common:

                They have served an evolutionary purpose for our survival, health or well-being.

                For example, fear is our signal that something is wrong and protects us from danger and allows us to survive. Sadness enhances feelings of connection and empathy and builds community. Disgust provides an adverse reaction and steers us away from things that could cause harm or be contagious. Shame and guilt urge us to do the right thing and correct our wrongs. Anger is a protection mechanism that inspires action and causes us to do something to change a situation.[2]

                  Surely, without these emotions, we would not be where we are as a species. All these emotions are things we need to feel attuned to help us survive and grow. While they may feel negative, they all have an underlying, positive intention, a reason for being. We need to seek to identify what that positive intention is.

                  In addition, our negative emotions prompt us to grow. To be better partners, better friends. To grow, progress. They make us better people and drive change in our lives.

                  3. They’re a warning signal.

                  They identify something that’s going on — our true self, our inner nature and natural state is one of peace, calm and connection.

                  However, when we’re out of alignment with our natural and best way, we experience negative emotions as signals that we’re off track. They are telling us, “Hey, listen up, somethings not right here, you’re going off track”.

                  ‘Milder’ negative emotions such as frustration, apprehension or annoyance can be early warning signals that something’s not working for you. Leave those alone long enough and they’ll start to get louder. Perhaps you’ll start to feel anger, resentment or fear. Leave those alone too long and they’re out of control – you may experience rage, loathing, anxiety, depression.

                  I always liken this to a toddler who needs your attention. They’ll tug on your leg quietly seeking your attention. If you ignore them or don’t pay attention, they start to whine. Ignore them further, or push their needs to the side, you’ll start to get screaming, crying and eventually a full-on temper tantrum.

                  The fear and anxiety I experienced was a (late) warning signal that the path I was on was unsustainable, even if my conscious mind thought I was all ‘all good’. I was way off track and needed to slow down.

                  Some negative emotions aren’t signs we are off track or out of alignment, but signs we are doing the wrong thing. Think about when you feel shame or guilt. These are signals that you’re doing the ‘wrong thing’ or something out of integrity. A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old daughter came home saying she felt ashamed of something. That was a strong word to use and my first reaction was to comfort her to remove that awful feeling.

                  But then I asked her why. As she explained what happened, I realized that what she was feeling was quite healthy. The guilt was telling her she was doing the wrong thing – in this case, it was a self-correcting mechanism. Our discussion became less about absolving the bad feeling and more about learning from her mistakes and doing the ‘right thing’ next time.

                  4. They inspire action.

                  They are a catalyst for change and movement. What happens when you get really mad? You take action.

                  Maybe you get passed up for the latest promotion. You’re mad. You felt you deserved it and you’re angry you didn’t get it. That anger prompts you to talk to your boss (in a courteous and professional way, of course) about your skills, accomplishments, successes so she can see your point of view and doesn’t pass you by next time.

                  Perhaps you wouldn’t have spoken up so clearly if you weren’t angry?

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                  Anger has been used throughout history as a positive catalyst for change. Many great leaders have harnessed their anger to stand up for what they believe in and to demand justice and change. Martin Luther King Jr. said,

                  “The supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force.”

                  Our anger can be a transforming force for good on a small, person scale (as in the case above) and a much more widespread scale (such as Dr. King). When someone treats you or others unfairly, and you feel angry, you can harness that anger to stand up and correct the situation.

                  Negative emotions create fire in your belly – they motivate you to be productive, solve problems, stand up for what you believe in, gain back your personal power and make changes that propel you – or maybe even society – in a different direction.

                  I love this quote from Arun Gandhi (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi):

                  “Use your anger for good. Anger to people is like gas to the automobile – it fuels you to move forward and get to a better place. Without it, we would not be motivated to rise to a challenge. It is an energy that compels us to define what is just and unjust.”

                  5. They allow you to live wholeheartedly.

                  Many of the world’s ancient wisdom traditions, philosophers and psychologists have valued and been intrigued by the light-dark, negative-positive, shadow aspects of our selves.

                  Think about the concept of yin and yang in Chinese philosophy:[3]

                  “It describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.”

                  You know the movie Inside Out? I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ll share it anyway. When the movie first came out, I didn’t want my kids to see it. Why? Because I didn’t want any emphasis placed on ‘negative’ emotions: fear, anger and sadness. Why couldn’t they just make a movie about JOY? Joy is awesome. Add in happy, grateful and excited and now we have a movie I want to take my kids to see.

                  Then I watched Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe it wasn’t until then that I fully realized how important it is to feel all of our emotions. In her talk, she shares that to live wholeheartedly, we must feel the full range of emotions. The positive: joy, gratitude, happiness. And the not so positive: grief, fear, shame, disappointment.

                  You can’t selectively feel emotion. So, for us to live as wholehearted human beings, we need to feel and express our full range of emotions. After all, how can you really appreciate the joy of happiness if you haven’t suffered the pain of sadness?

                  And as my daughter reminded me, in the movie Inside Out, guess who saves the day? Sadness. Yes, it’s sadness who saves the day.[4]

                    6. They provide release.

                    “What the mind conceals, the body reveals”.

                    When we conceal or try to hide or ignore emotions, they don’t just go away. They go deep within us. They eat at us. They cause ulcers, back pain, sickness. That ‘sudden’ heart attack, ‘unexplained’ high blood pressure or ‘unexpected’ anxiety may not be so inexplicable after all.

                    Feeling our emotions allows us to release the feeling and move forward. My chiropractor, Dr. Ruth Ziemba once said,[5]

                    “Feel them, but don’t let them become you.”

                    This has served me well. I think we have all feared those painful emotions of guilt, anger, grief, hopelessness would mean we would fall into a never-ending pit of despair from which may never emerge.

                    I have worried I would go too far down the rabbit hole and never make it back to see the light of day. But in order to move on, we must feel and release them. Once we ‘expose’ them, they have much less control over us.

                      Rich Roskopf,[6] a bodyworker , trainer, massage and movement specialist, shared something that resonated deeply with me. He was studying the meditation work of Guy Armstrong, author of “Emptiness” and the philosophy that everything needs to arise, persist and pass.

                      The same is true for our emotions. When we allow the feelings to arise and persist, they will pass. Grasping, clinging and pushing them down will always lead to unhappiness.

                      Even a good cry can help. We have three different types of tears and the ones produced when we cry can make you feel better. Tears cried in sadness contain a chemical that is toxic to our body.[7]

                      “Emotional crying is the body’s way of ridding itself of these toxins and waste products.”

                      In Japan, they even have ‘crying rooms’ and ‘crying events’ which serve to help participants ease stress levels and release emotion.

                        7. They build resilience.

                        The more you experience the full range of emotions, the more resilient you become to facing and dealing with them.

                        Jessie Dudley, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Program Manager at the Mental Health Center of Denver, had this to say.

                        “By allowing yourself to feel everything you need to feel, you learn how to cope and build your toolbox of coping strategies. Then, next time you feel that same feeling, you know what to do and what works for you. You realize the feeling won’t kill you. It doesn’t’ make the sensation any less, but it makes you more aware of how to respond to it.

                        If you don’t build coping skills, when you feel those emotions, you want to push them away. Emotional avoidance is effective to an extent. Really, everybody tries to avoid feeling badly. But the more you avoid, the less coping skills you’re developing. The less you are able to cope, the more afraid you become of the emotions, which leads to a vicious cycle of pushing them down. In many cases, people may turn to other unhealthy ways to cope, including addictions and substance abuse.

                        Remember this: we are constantly evolving. Your coping skills will evolve and grow too.”

                        As Jessie shared, When you face negative emotions and learn effective coping skills, you feel stronger and more capable to deal with them in the future.

                        As a mother, this is particularly relevant. I once read that our job as parents is not to protect our kids from disappointment, it’s to be there for them when disappointment happens. If our kids don’t learn healthy ways to cope with negative emotions, they will struggle throughout life to manage them.

                        How to Embrace Negative Emotions and Turn Them into Positive Motivation

                        Here’s a process you can use. Let’s call it the ACDC Method.

                        A – Acknowledge and honor the emotion

                        Feel it but don’t let it become you. Let it arise, persist and pass. Sit with it. Your instinct will be to push it away. (Seriously, who wants to feel like crap?)

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                        But once you acknowledge it, you can move forward. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe feeling what’s coming up, you may want to reach out to a therapist or someone who can create a safe space to experience your emotions.

                          C – Consider the positive intention of the emotion

                          Is it showing up as an early warning signal (or a late one), a catalyst for positive change, a protection or survival mechanism?

                          Identify the positive intention behind the emotion.

                          D – Double check your story

                          Sometimes our negative emotions are warranted, but sometimes they are misplaced. Make sure to check them out.

                          If you’re feeling worried, is there really something to worry about or has worrying become a bad habit? If you’re feeling angry at someone, do you have all the facts? Perhaps it’s a miscommunication or misunderstanding. If you’re feeling sad or defeated, is there a story you keep telling yourself that is not true? Before you dive in, make sure to double check the depth of the water.

                          C – Choose your action

                          Once you acknowledge, understand and double-check the emotion, think about what action you can take.

                          Maybe you thank the fear for keeping you safe. Perhaps you harness your anger and stop putting up with something that is impacting your life or health. Maybe you use your frustration to move forward in a new direction. Or, employ your guilt to right a wrong.

                          In some cases, your action may be to do nothing at all other than feel you’re feeling. That’s okay, too.

                          When Negative Emotions Become Bad…

                          It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the varying levels of negative emotions that can occur.

                          Too much guilt can be paralyzing. Too much sadness is depression. Too much anger can lead to rage. Too much fear can lead to anxiety.

                          Experiencing some level of these negative emotions is normal. Experiencing ongoing and excessive levels of these emotions can be a signal that something much deeper needs to be addressed.

                          If you’re feeling persistent negative emotions or your emotions are significantly interfering with your life, please reach out to your doctor, therapist or specialist for help and support.

                          Conclusion

                          To experience all of these emotions is what makes us human.

                          What if we could take off the label of negative emotions? What if they weren’t bad? What if they were all just emotions? Negative. Positive. Neutral. We have all sorts of different emotions.

                          Let’s just feel them. Listen to them. Acknowledge, honor, accept them. Seek to understand what they are trying to tell us, so we can harness them to live our best lives.

                          Featured photo credit: Riccardo Mion via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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