I know we all have the best intentions of forever when we finally settle down with “The One,” but nothing is guaranteed to be permanent. Unfortunately, we don’t all have a wise Nana to advise us in life. I’m here to give you a heads up on how to stay smart even when you want to throw caution to the wind in love. Here are 9 things to keep out of sight and/or take to the grave with you even when you think you’re securely coupled up.
- A spare set of car keys People are unpredictable by nature, especially the ones who you swear on everything you know “would never” do something. With the men who regularly display their little fits of rage and throw adult tantrums when they don’t get their way, you basically know what to expect from them and are prepared. But what happens with your usually calm and collected partner suddenly snaps with no warning? I’ve dated both types, and trust me, you can’t put anything past anyone. Sometimes you need to make a quick break and let your guy cool off or getaway to permanently leave that dude alone. Don’t get trapped because you blindly trusted him.
- A money stash Every adult should have an emergency fund, single or not. Even if you’re coupled up and share a joint nest egg, you still need your own personal financial protection. Don’t wake up one day to find out your accounts were wiped clean by this dude and you’re out in the cold with nothing. Or end up staying in an unhappy relationship for too long because you can’t afford to get out on your own.
- Your whole past I get wanting to be fully known by your partner. The sentiment is great and all, but when you meet someone as an adult, some of your history is irrelevant. What’s most important is where you are in this current stage of life and where you see yourself going. He wasn’t in your past for a reason, so focus on the present and evaluate if you see him in your future. It’s OK to keep some things to yourself.
- Hiding places This goes back to the keys and money. You should have a place or places where you can keep things that belong to just you. This may even include old photos and memorabilia. Just because you’ve moved on past a former relationship doesn’t mean you always want to trash the memories. New partners, especially serious ones, may not be fond of this and can tamper with these sentimental souvenirs as a form of jealousy. For practical purposes, you also want to be able to keep presents for your guy hidden somewhere until it’s time to give to him. Human beings are curious, and I wouldn’t expect him to stay out of your stuff just because you asked.
- Isolated incidents of cheating Not saying it’s right or wrong to do, but sometimes cheating happens. Not even full-on sexual encounters, but sometimes just small emotional affairs or not setting an appropriate boundary with someone. If it was a careless slip-up or something you truly regret and know won’t ever happen again, it honestly could be best to just deal with the healing process on your own. Your partner does deserve to know, but at the same time, it could blow up into such a bigger issue if he does and may not be worth it in the long run.
- Any friends you hooked up with This relates to the last point. If you’re still hooking up with this person, then it’s a totally separate topic. I’m referring to someone you may have had a season with in the past, decided you two were better off as friends, and temptation left the building long ago. Telling your guy now is only going to create suspicion and a territory rivalry. If the romantic part of your involvement with someone is completely extinguished, it could be best for everyone if that one kiss in middle school during an innocent game of spin-the-bottle stays there.
- Every moment you’ve been out of character Life is about growth and evolution. People from your past who have negative things to say about you are judging you based on a version of you who no longer exists. So, what’s the point of sharing a non-existent person with the guy you’re involved with now? He doesn’t need to know about every time the immature-you did something dumb or childish. Why give him a chance to judge you on behavior you dropped years ago? It’s a waste to plant unnecessary fears in your guy. Commend yourself on the self-work you accomplished and enjoy the fruits of your labor by being happy today with someone who sees you for who you are now. Focus on moving forward.
- Your deepest fears and insecurities It’s great to bond with your partner and share thoughts and feelings, but I would proceed with caution to be fully vulnerable and disclose all. The information you reveal now to get closer to him includes the same facts he could use against you later on, should things go sour between you two. Sharing everything also isn’t going to make a difference in whether or not you two last.
- All your former illegal activity People can get really spiteful and vengeful. Don’t give someone too much ammo to use against you when they’re looking for something to fire with. What if you have children together and wind up in a nasty custody battle? Knowing where you hid the bodies (haha, JK) can really make things difficult for you. Seriously, though, don’t frame yourself just for love. Keep some of your dirty laundry between you and your pillow, especially if it can still be used against you.