Secrets & the Double Life:
Deceit and human beings go together.
Some people lie to themselves, others to loved ones, and yet others to both. Secret lives are common. The secret can be relatively harmless. You tell people you’re on a diet, when you’re still delving into the chocolate ice cream tub in the freezer. You spend money on the dress you swore to your husband you weren’t buying.
These are small secrets.
Some people feel unhappy or trapped in their lives. They need to break free somehow to make life interesting again. You act one way around people you love, and activate a different part of yourself secretly. What can be a sweet way to establish a sense of autonomy in childhood; can become a dangerous solution to unhappiness in adulthood.
Bill Clinton was a popular president but he wanted to have sex with his intern, Monica Lewinsky. The secret life called. Bernie Madoff was everyone’s best friend, but lived the secret of a criminal life.
Does Your Partner Have a Secret?
People don’t want to admit their secret lives because it is too shameful. And if you challenge or push them, this will only hurt and scare them off because they’re ashamed of admitting this second life.
Here are some of the characteristics of someone living a double life.
- Changed behavior
- Changed clothing or habits
- Strange smells
- Unexplained expenses
- Too much time on the computer
- Late nights out
- Your own sixth sense
- Daydreaming while he or she is with you
How to Deal With a Secret:
Secrets can go on for years. If you’re lucky, you may stumble upon his double life. Perhaps by finding money missing in a bank account, crazy credit card bills, discovering texts to a secret lover, a second cell phone or even bottles of booze locked away.
- Shame – The shame once the secret is revealed will be profound because a wall has been broken down and there is no more secret. Shame occurs because she must confront her behavior. She no longer can convince herself that it is nothing, or it will all just go away. She is exposed and there is no place to run.
- Risk – It is at this moment when there is risk. Shame can lead to dangerous, self destructive actions. So, if you are onto his secret life, try to move the situation forward into therapy. If you decide to leave him, the shame and the subsequent abandonment, can be overwhelming. He hurt you, and now he will have to deal with the consequences.
- Redemption – If you decide to give the relationship a chance, the secret life will have to go. How will you be able to trust him or her again? Time will tell. You increase your chances for success if he gets involved with a competent therapist and a 12-step program.
The Antidote to a Secret Life: Truth:
This piece may be alarming because it shows secret lives exist and many people appear normal because they put up powerful walls that maintain their secrets. But if you want to keep a marriage or relationship after your secret is discovered, you have to be in therapy, usually augmented by a 12-step program that will breakdown the double life, and keep the behavior under control.
Over the years I have seen countless secret lives. It is a deep part of the human condition. When they are handled well, some of these people become incredibly wise and important members of our society. It takes work. And, I’ve been witness to the good that can be done.
Secrets have power. But, people do as well.
It’s never too late to seek help.