Tell them. Whatever it is, tell them.
I have this theory.
It's not revolutionary or anything like that, but it's always done me right in my relationships and I'm sure that it will do you right in your relationships, too.
It's fairly simple in theory - hard in practice.
Here it is:
Whatever skeletons you've got in your closet, whatever childhood trauma you're processing, whatever physical or mental ailments you're suffering from, whatever insecurities hold you back or drag you down and spit you out, whatever family dynamic makes you feel crazy, whatever enrages you or makes you cry or shuts you down, whatever keeps you up at night, whatever hurts you in any way...
It's not so easy though, is it? Sometimes the words get stuck or lost. Sometimes the moment seems to disappear and you're not really sure how to bring it up. Like, how do you tell someone that you feel jealous about that girl at work? Or how do you tell them you're on anti-depressants? How do you tell them you had a traumatic childhood? How do you tell them that you've got OCD tendencies and you feel like you're going out of your mind in their apartment? How do you tell them that you spend too much money on stupid things? How do you tell them your job makes you feel stifled?
Relationships are about being vulnerable, though. You're wasting your time if you don't feel just a bit raw and exposed in your relationship. This is your person and you should be able to tell them all the dark parts of yourself and know that they'll still accept you for who you are - even when you can't accept yourself. They should be a part of your support system - your teammate, your partner in crime.
Now, I'm not saying tell the next guy/girl you go on a first date with your entire life history. What I'm saying is that when you're in a committed relationship - you should be able to be open with your partner.
This helps your relationship in 3 big ways.
1. You feel better about it.
Honestly, when you've got a big bad secret, it feels exhausting. It takes up your thoughts, it affects your mood, it seems to take over. When you talk about it with someone (especially someone you trust) it gives that secret less power over you. Suddenly, it's out there and it doesn't "belong" to you anymore.
2. It helps you solve the issue together.
Guess what? Your partner can't read your mind. Shocking, I know! But if you've got pent up issues and secrets....your partner can't help you unless you tell them about them. This goes for both personal problems and also relationship problems. This goes for everything. Got a weird fetish? Yup, tell them. Having an existential crisis (or is that just me.....)? Tell them. Two heads are better than one and if you're really teammates in the game of life, it's in both of your best interests to deal with it. Fetish? Maybe you guys spice things up. Existential crisis? Get a dog. You get the drift. At the very least, you both can bounce solutions off one another.
3. It helps you know if they're "The One."
Listen, you're flawed and you've got issues. Don't worry, we all do. If you're keeping a ton of secrets because you're sure your partner is going to judge you, use your insecurities or issues as collateral during a fight, or just ignore them and pretend they don't exist.....then I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you should probably reconsider your relationship. This person isn't a great match for you. I'm not saying that your partner needs to react perfectly to every single thing you tell them - but you should usually feel safe confiding in your partner. It pretty much comes down to that. If you don't - why are you with this person? Things won't work out if you're both living fake lives with fake emotions. Seriously.
So, tell them.