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8 secrets that are OK to keep from your spouse

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, is a clinical therapist, and the author of three books, among them, Love Lessons from Bad Breakups and The Complete Marriage Counsler. She gives love advice on programs including Today and HuffPost Live, conduct...

Yes, there can and should be secrets in a happy marriage

If keeping a secret creates emotional distance between you and your partner, it should be spilled. These types of secrets can impact your spouse and your life together — a medical condition, financial or legal troubles, an addiction to drugs or alcohol, serious discontent in the relationship, goals that no longer correspond to those of your spouse (i.e., you’ve decided you’d rather devote energy to your career rather than having another child).

That said, there are some secrets we really should beat ourselves up about.

1. “He’s not the best lover I’ve ever had”

Marcy (names changed), 35, admits that while her husband of five years knows she had her share of lovers before they met, he also believes none compare to him. Marcy says, “While I love sex with Rich because I love him and I don’t want to be with anyone else, sometimes when we have sex I fantasize about an ex of mine, David, who was — well, totally, mind-blowingly skilled in bed!”

2. “Sometimes I sneak junk food”

“My husband is a health freak and I believe in eating healthy as well… but sometimes, well, I crave junk,” Says Elaine. Laughing, the 28-year-old, married for four years, admits, “Once a month I hide Oreos in the car and sneak out and eat them. Then I pop some Listerine strips and go back into the house.”

3. “My mother thinks he’s not good enough for me”

“Bill and I only visit my family a few times a year since they live out of state,” explains 30-year-old Lorraine. She adds, “The truth is, Brad Pitt, Mark Zuckerberg, any titan — no one would have been deserving of her precious child.” Since Lorraine’s husband of eight years is “extremely sensitive” she sees no reason to hurt his feelings when “there is nothing he can do to change his mother-in-law’s mind.”

4. “I keep my friend’s confidences to myself”

“A lot of women feel that when their friends say, ‘Please don’t tell this secret to anyone,’ it doesn’t apply to their mates. I’m not like that,” says Joanne. Married 15 years, the 48-year-old says, “Years back I felt betrayed when my former college roommate told her husband all about a fight I’d had with my husband Jeff. She and I patched up the friendship but I didn’t feel I could trust her anymore. I don’t want to be that kind of friend, and Jeff is fine with my policy and won’t press me.”

5. “I check my ex-boyfriend’s status updates on Facebook”

Confides Sheila, happily married for six years: “I’m not Facebook friends with my ex but his status updates aren’t privacy-protected, and sometimes, well, if I’m bored or curious, I check to see what he’s up to.”  The 33-year-old says, “I won’t ever contact my ex so there is nothing for my husband to be threatened by, so why upset him to know once in a while I still wonder how Tom is doing.”

6. “I spent $200 on a handbag”

Glenda swears she would confide in her husband of 12 years if she had shopaholic tendencies but a once-in-a-long-while splurge is no one’s business but her own. Says the 41-year-old, “We have separate checking accounts and if I use my own money for something I can well afford that makes me happy, I feel fine about keeping that secret.”

7. “I don’t always tell him when I do something stupid”

Jeannine is a self-described “space cadet.” The 54-year-old, married 26 years, laughs, “I’m always losing my glasses, keys, forgetting where I parked the car…” Since Jeannine is “tired” of her husband’s attempts to get her to focus and be less careless, she only selectively confides her latest misadventures. “I am who I am and I’m not always in the mood for a lecture.”

8. “I’ve noticed he’s grown a spare tire”

“Mark and I met when we were 20,” explains 35-year-old Lisa. She adds, “I’m sure I don’t look as good as I used to but I appreciate that Mark still says I’m beautiful and I perform the same courtesy for him. Would I mind if he dropped 10 pounds? Nah — but sex is still great so why make the love of my life self-conscious?”

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