A mutual respect for each other’s privacy is essential in maintaining a happy healthy relationship. But being involved romantically with a partner also means sharing and revealing personal and private information about ourselves. So we reached out to Identity’s Relationships Expert Marwa Rakha, to help us understand more about the issue.

How can we differentiate between privacy and keeping secrets in a relationship? Where does privacy end and secrecy begin?

Privacy and trust grow, or decline, with the growth or decline of the relationship itself. It is common knowledge that trust is earned not given. In the beginning of a relationship, it is natural to assume that your partner is a good decent person, but that does not mean trusting that person automatically.


• Do not talk about your ex/exes.

• Do not talk about your horrible relationship with your parents/siblings/ boss/colleagues.

• Do not share your income.

• Do not talk about being dumped or cheated on.

• Do not talk about dumping or cheating on others.

• Do not talk about the assets you have – or do not have.

• Do not say “I love you”.

• Do not offer to give, or ask for, email and social media passwords.

• Do not lie about your relationship status.

• Do not play with words. Do not say, for example, that you are separated, if you still live in the same house and are not in the actual process of getting a divorce.

• Do not lie about what you do for a living.

• Do not pretend to be someone else.

• Be positive, take it slow, get to know the person, have no expectations, and go with the flow – for the first couple of months.


If you feel secure, comfortable, and confident:

• Share information about your past relationships, but always be respectful.

• Talk about your childhood, but do not overwhelm your partner with negative traumatizing information.

• Do not share your income.

• Talk openly about how your previous relationships ended and the lessons you have learned.

• If the conversation allowed, talk about your assets. You are not bragging; you are simply sharing conversation-relevant information.

• Do not say “I love you”.

• Do not offer to give, or ask for, email and social media passwords.

• Do not pretend to be someone else.

• Be positive and sincere and continue to get to know the person.

• If you are beginning to have expectations, curb yourself. Slow down. You are still getting to know one another.


If the relationship is going steady, no sudden disappearances, nothing suspicious, and no red flags:

• Open up about your fears and insecurities, and their reasons, if you know them.

• Share intimate information about yourself, childhood.

• Do not share private information about your family.

• It is okay to share your income.

• Say “I love you”, if you feel it.

• Do not offer to give, or ask for, email and social media passwords.

• Do not pretend to be someone else.

• Make sure that your partner is as open and sharing just as much as you are.

• If you are beginning to have expectations, talk about them.

• Make sure your partner is on the same page; you are officially dating, you are both exclusive, you are both comfortable, both your families and friends know, and you are making plans slowly but surely.


If the relationship is still going steady and no red flags, whether you are engaged to be married, or not:

• You can both speak your minds without self-censorship.

• You can both argue and still be civil and decent.

• You can both disagree and manage to find compromises.

• You are not judging one another.

• You can confidently share private information about your family.

• You give and receive affection – and feel satisfied.

• Do not offer to give, or ask for, email and social media passwords.

• Do not pretend to be someone else.

•Both of you are sharing, and discussing, your expectations of one another, and of the relationship.

Whether you are married or not, it is inappropriate to:

• Give, or ask for, email and social media passwords.

• Hack your partner’s accounts.

• Check your partner’s calls.

• Follow/stalk your partner.

•Track your partner’s income (in a healthy relationship, you should both be open about your incomes)

Is it okay to invade that privacy in case one of the partners is suspecting that the other one is cheating, but don’t have physical proof?

If you suspect that your partner is cheating, pay closer attention to his/her attitude until you find proof, but do not invade another person’s privacy to find out. If you have to check his/her phone, ask first, and talk about your doubts and the reasons for having such doubts. If your partner agrees, check the phone in front of him/her, and then talk further until the issue is resolved either way.

How to overcome a situation where one partner craves openness while the other feels suffocated and needs boundaries? Can too much sharing damage a good relationship?

The level of privacy in a relationship is determined by the level of intimacy and trust. If you are too open in the beginning, then this openness would damage a sprouting relationship. If you are “withholding” information in a relationship that should be mature, then this relationship is not as solid as it seems.

If you start keeping secrets because you feel that your partner would be upset, would use that information against you, or would leave you, then you are simply being dishonest in a relationship that is wrong for you.

If you feel that your partner is not as open, or is not sharing, as you are, talk about it. People are different in setting and protecting their boundaries. Usually, by time and positive experience, even the most protective ones, would feel comfortable opening up and sharing.

Remember, always, that you cannot force a person to let you into their lives. You cannot force anyone to open up and share. It is always up to you to decide how you feel about a person’s level of openness. If you feel that you are doing all the talking and sharing, stop.

Just like anything in a relationship, the sense of privacy is something to explore together until you both find a comfortable middle ground.