What kind of secret could this be?
August 25, 2007 12:03 AM   Subscribe

What is something that you would feel comfortable telling your spouse/partner... but wouldn't want them to know, is not a good or bad thing, and won't change your relationship?

My girlfriend and I have been dating for about 6 months now and everything is perfect. The only things that's been bugging me is she told me there is "something" about me that she's "comfortable telling me but doesn't want me to know." Also it "won't change our relationship and is not a good or bad thing." She's talked to only her cousin and sister about it.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The kind you should ignore because it's a gambit for something else.
posted by 517 at 12:12 AM on August 25, 2007 [2 favorites]

Wow, people are bad at reading questions around here. The OP has said his girlfriend's secret is " 'something' about me", so MTF, gyno problems, plastic surgery etc are out.

meta.mark, my guess is that you bear a close physical resemblance to somebody in your girlfriend's past, most likely a previous boyfriend. As for "comfortable telling you but not wanting you to know," well, that just sounds like somebody doesn't understand what it means to be comfortable telling someone something.
posted by contraption at 12:41 AM on August 25, 2007

Contraption, I think you're the closest one because that does sound more like it. There's this guy that used to like her but she never liked him. Everyone reassures me that she would rather choose me than him because of all the things I do for her and etc. But still sometimes it feels weird. Like just recently he invited her to hang out and go around town doing nothing basically. It was just going to be the two of them and her best friend (or so she said) but it still felt weird. She pushed it back one day and hung out with me instead and it eventually became canceled. She just doesn't seem like the type to cheat on me though.
posted by meta.mark at 12:47 AM on August 25, 2007

I can't make any sense of how she could be comfortable telling you something that she doesn't want you to know. Unless it's that she's not sane. She's comfortable telling you that she's insane because, well, she's insane, but she doesn't want you to know that she's insane because you might tell the fairy gophers that tunnel through her brain every night, and then they'd stop coming around and that would throw her mental ecosystem out of whack and the blondork nargack population would just run wild.

You should ask the cousin if it has anything to do with fairy gophers. That'll tell you a lot.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:49 AM on August 25, 2007 [2 favorites]

I would do that but I don't know the cousin. I just asked her about it tonight and after a while she just didn't want to talk about it and told me to stop asking. As for the sister I rarely see her and I doubt she would tell me. I'm just trying to think if I should be worried or not and why won't she tell me if she's comfortable telling me.
posted by meta.mark at 12:51 AM on August 25, 2007

Maybe you smell?
posted by thelongcon at 12:56 AM on August 25, 2007

Doubt it, take a shower twice a day and if I did... I think someone would have told me by now.
posted by meta.mark at 12:58 AM on August 25, 2007

These seem like mindgames. If she's mentioned "something," ask her "what it is."
posted by asuprenant at 1:23 AM on August 25, 2007

meta.mark: what a peculiar question! You've got to pry it out of her.

I happen to be contraption's girlfriend, and he bears a resemblance to my ex and to my avowed ideal. Both are sort of weird for him to know. An "I was looking for you" sort of weirdness.

Or maybe more specific: could she have had a thing for you?... and it was obsessive and you never knew? Like, blown up yearbook photos and driving by your house and deliberately crossing your path kind of thing?

Did she hook up with a friend of yours in a crummy, meaningless way?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:24 AM on August 25, 2007

Whatever it is, she wants you to know what it is. Further, she wants you to hound her until she relents and tells you. This is because she really, really wants to say something, but she doesn't want to be the bad guy by brining it up. So she's put the ball in your court.

It's really quite brilliant.

If you want to know that badly, hound her until she tells you. In the end, she will. (But you'll look like an ass.) Then decide how petty/passive-aggressive she really is, and whether it's worth it.

By the way, I'm a girl, so this isn't misogynistic.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:29 AM on August 25, 2007 [4 favorites]

mudpuppie is right - you don't tell someone you want to tell them something and then don't - but tell other people.

This is a manipulative way of torturing you. It's not something I would put up with myself. Sorry - but she sounds like she is a bit of a drama queen.
posted by gomichild at 1:46 AM on August 25, 2007

Well maybe, but sometimes it's the best you can do. Not everyone processes their feelings instantaneously or is capable of expressing the deep sources of vague weirdness just off the cuff, now are they?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:52 AM on August 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Limited options here.
1) Hound here until she tells you
2) Ask once more, say you would like to know and that if she isn't willing to tell you then ask her to never bring it up again unless she is willing to tell you, THEN NEVER MENTION IT AGAIN, and move on.
3) have a hissy cow about it.

yeah, it's likely the resemblance thing
posted by edgeways at 2:06 AM on August 25, 2007

Both of you are talking/thinking about x (the thing she's comfortable telling you but doesn't want to tell you). What's much more interesting is the fact that she wants you to know x exists but doesn't want to tell you what x is. Chances are, she's probably right about x being trivial -- the real and interesting thing is the cat-and-mouse game.

One possible interpretation: she feels embarrassed about x, knows that you won't judge her for it, but the embarrassment is so strong that she can't bring herself to tell you about it.
posted by treepour at 2:40 AM on August 25, 2007

posted by poppo at 3:13 AM on August 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

You call out her cousin and sisters name at night.
posted by jeremias at 4:34 AM on August 25, 2007

Everything is "perfect" but she's so weird and flaky about this mystery ailment/characteristic that its driven you to post this askmefi?

You seriously can't just ask her? Alarms are ringing somewhere in paradise, perhaps?
posted by wfrgms at 5:45 AM on August 25, 2007

You snore. She had a weird dream about you. When she was a little girl she decided she would marry someone with your name. When she first met you, she thought, "This is the man I'm going to marry" or something else oddly prophetic that she doesn't want to jinx. You remind her of an ex or of her father.
posted by redfoxtail at 5:47 AM on August 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm just trying to think if I should be worried or not and why won't she tell me if she's comfortable telling me.

You sound like you're already worried - you are concerned that the girlfriend wanted to spend time with her ex, but then reassure yourself that you don't think she'd cheat on you.

You might consider saying something like, "GF, I'm really glad you want to be open with me, and that you've let me know that there's something you aren't sharing with me. Whether or not it's good or bad, it makes me uncomfortable to know that you hold some knowledge or opinion about me that you'd share with others, but not with me."

Then let her react - at this point, if she understands the meaninglessly dramatic situation she's put you in, she will answer the "why won't she tell me" or will just, you know, tell you.
posted by pants at 5:49 AM on August 25, 2007

how old is she? that sounds like a very passive-aggressive, immature thing to say.

women who are insecure about themselves often manipulate a situation so the men in their lives worry about them. the women confuse worry for love, and therefore feel more secure in the relationship. the "it" that's bothering her? could be anything, or nothing. maybe she still has feelings for that boy. maybe she's experimented sexually or has sexual regrets that she is not secure enough to tell you. maybe she's had some trauma in the past. maybe she doesn't feel as strongly for you as you feel for her, but she's too immature to say so.

obviously, it's not the sort of thing that can ever end well, that's why it's a sign of immaturity. these girls eventually figure out that it doesn't work.

if you want to diffuse the situation, the next time she drops the hint, say, "i'm sorry you don't feel comfortable discussing this. let's not bring it up again until you're ready to talk to me."
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:23 AM on August 25, 2007 [2 favorites]

The way she described it, it sounds like something that she knows is nothing more than a pet peeve. Like you fart in your sleep, or you use the word irregardless.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:25 AM on August 25, 2007

Dude, the response to this is "Okay." Then never mention it, hint about it, or refer to it, ever, ever again. If she brings it up again (and she will!) just nod and say, "Okay."

She's trying to manipulate you into dragging it out of her. If she really wants you to know, she'll go crazy that you're not curious. Eventually, she'll break and just tell you.
posted by headspace at 6:33 AM on August 25, 2007 [5 favorites]

Is your girlfriend a mathematician or philosopher, or maybe a fan of Martin Gardner or Marilyn vos Savant? This sounds like one of those logic trick questions: "There's something I'm comfortable telling you but don't want you to know." If so, just take headspace's advice.
posted by Robert Angelo at 10:13 AM on August 25, 2007

I think that the secret is that she believes that you're easy to manipulate and play mind games on.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 10:19 AM on August 25, 2007 [3 favorites]

In my case, it was the exact same scenario. My girlfriend (now my wife) was a neighbor of mine in the same building in Seattle. We met because it was a cool building with a grassy courtyard area/lanai above street level, and we all used it as an extension of our living rooms, reading books, eating dinner, beers, etc. It was fun.

The secret turned out to be that (and I still find this incredible, ten years later) several of the single women in the building had a crush on me, and it was kind of becoming a competition drama between them to see who would "win". I was oblivious, I guess.

She wouldn't tell me that until after we had moved out, because she didn't want to embarrass them or make it weird for me. Still, I would have preferred that she not even bring it up in the first place, if it was a "secret". Why make me go through all the same thoughts as on here (do I smell? etc.)
posted by ctmf at 10:51 AM on August 25, 2007

If you think about it there are only a handful of personal issues that one can notice but be afraid to mention:

1. Body issues. Hygiene, size, smell, breath, etc

2. Bathroom habits.

3. Eating habits.

4. Sexual issues. Technique, time, size, etc.

5. Something random you can never guess.

You should just ask her. You dont have enough information to figure it out. If this "ive got a secret" nonsense bothers you, you should say something too.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:39 AM on August 25, 2007

I suggest the indirect approach. Tell her you know you fart in your sleep and that you are going to a doctor for it. Then never bring it up again. She will eventually bring it up. Start taking some time off from her too. Seems like a good time to do it.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:44 PM on August 25, 2007

Seriously, if she can't tell you, and you're six months into this thing...what does that say about the situation. I wouldn't characterize this situation as perfect. Perfection (if its even achievable) requires open communication. While its quite fun for us to speculate about the secret, it will slowly drive you crazy unless she tells you.

PS: I'm a girl and I fucking hate it when girls do this shit.
posted by Asherah at 5:30 PM on August 25, 2007

Any chance she was a victim of sexual violence in her past? It meets all the criteria. It's about her and she is willing to tell you. However, you would be devastated to know that happened to her.

(I spent several years working with adult and child victims, so my brain goes there.)
posted by 26.2 at 6:09 PM on August 25, 2007

Well, if it's "not a good or bad thing", that would seem to rule out quite a lot. The only way I can really reconcile "comfortable telling [you] but doesn't want [you] to know," is by thinking maybe it's something she doesn't want you to know yet, but will tell you in the future. But then why mention it now at all? It's all very weird... I vote for headspace's approach.
posted by Many bubbles at 6:54 PM on August 25, 2007

    I. Under charitable assumptions.
      A. Your grilf has got a serious non-comprehension problem. B. At least one of two ideas is involved:
        1. 'comfortable'—contrast 'do not want' 2. 'telling'—compare 'you know'
      C. Communication and consequently your relationship are ending.
    II. Under less-charitable assumptions.
      A. Your grilf has got a serious wanting-to-bug-the-crap-outta-you problem. B. Various motives may underlie this:
        1. Believes unnecessary drama is cute. 2. Wants it to end but wants to blame you for it. 3. Sociopathy.
      C. In any case, communication and consequently your relationship are ending.
    III. Groundless speculation: You are her cousin.

posted by eritain at 1:16 PM on September 12, 2007

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