3 Tips for Dealing With a Secret Relationship

You’re secretly involved with the wrong guy: a boss, married man, teacher or coach at school, or your friend’s boyfriend. You know it’s an unhealthy relationship. You can’t talk about him with your friends or family. These tips for dealing with secret unhealthy relationships will help you break free.

Are you thinking about ending this relationship? Read How to End a Toxic Love Affair Before it Ruins You.

I was inspired to offer tips on how to deal with a secret relationship because of a comment from one of my “She Blossoms” readers. “I spent the whole weekend with three of my closest friends,” she said, “and I couldn’t talk about my secret relationship. I’m in love with a man I can’t talk about, and it’s killing me.”

In this article, you’ll learn why secret relationships are unhealthy, how they affect your life, and what the long-term damage is. These insights alone can help you move on! I’ll also share tips for breaking free and write a follow-up article on healing after a secret relationship ends.

Your thoughts about secret relationships are welcome in the comments section below. Writing is one of the best ways to discover what you really think and feel. If you take time to stop and listen to the still small voice, you will start healing and moving forward in your life.

How to Deal With a Secret Unhealthy Relationship

Before you read on, consider how your secret relationship is affecting your life. How is it affecting your health, friendships, lifestyle, school or work responsibilities, self-perspective?

The more you know about the negative effects of this type of unhealthy relationship, the easier it’ll be to deal with it and eventually break free. Not being able to talk about the negative effects of secret relationships makes them worse — so don’t just think about how you feel. Write and talk about it.

Secret relationships are unhealthy because…

You can’t talk about the man you’re involved with. You’re crushing on or emotionally attached to a guy you can’t have, and you can’t tell anyone. This prevents you from working through your thoughts and feelings. Secret relationships are dangerous because there is no light or air, no way to air out your fears, concerns or problems. It’s unhealthy to be unable or unwilling to talk about the man you like or even love.

You’re alone when you’re in a secret relationship because you have no support or external feedback. This sets the stage for unhealthy, unbalanced, and possibly even physically or emotionally abusive relationships.

Finally, you’re dealing with shame and guilt. Secret relationships are kept hidden for a reason: there is something bad, negative or wrong with them. You aren’t supposed to be with this man for an important reason! You’re secretive about this relationship because the truth will affect, harm or even destroy other people. That’s what makes secret relationships so unhealthy to you and others.

The destructive effects of secret unhealthy relationships

Not being able to talk about the man you’re involved with — your boss at work, teacher or coach at school, or a married man you’re involved with — separates you from your family and friends. Secret relationships often feel romantic and exciting at first, but the novelty wears off. We were created to live together in a family, with friends, in cities and communities. Hiding your relationship doesn’t feel good. It’s unnatural, which is why you’re searching the internet for help dealing with a secret relationship.

When you can’t talk to your loved ones about your problems, you are alone. And that is one of the worst, most destructive effects of secret unhealthy relationships: isolation and loneliness.

How to break free

This article isn’t called “3 Easy Tips for Breaking Free From Secret Relationships” because the truth is that it’s hard to let go of someone you love. But still, you can start growing forward and healing.

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3 steps forward:

  1. Write down the 5 worst problems this secret relationship is causing in your life.
  2. Imagine how light, peaceful, easy and healthy your life will be when you are in a healthy relationship. Focus on the freedom and joy of being with a man you don’t have to hide.
  3. Decide what 3 steps you can take to break free from this unhealthy relationship. What do you need to do?

Incorporate these three steps into your day. Remember that dealing with a secret relationship takes strength and courage. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

Make breaking free a daily practice

Every week I focus on a different theme on She Blossoms. This week we’re exploring the power of small, consistent habits. Over time, they make a huge difference in your life!

How to Deal With a Secret Unhealthy Relationship

First, set your phone or watch to go off three times a day. Perhaps morning, noon, and night would work best for you.

Second, when your alarm goes off, look at what you wrote. Remind yourself how destructive your secret relationship is, and how good it will feel after you’re free. Take time to refocus your thoughts. Really reflect on the pain and damage secret relationships cause, and decide that you will choose to move forward in your life.

Third, start taking those steps you decided on. Use your timer as a reminder to take one more small, tangible step forward.

You might also consider talking to someone about this man you can’t talk about. If you don’t want to talk to a family member or friend, contact someone else you trust. It’s important to talk through the pain of losing someone you love. Talking will help your heart heal after a breakup.

How do you feel about dealing with your secret unhealthy relationship, and perhaps even breaking free? Your thoughts – big and little – are welcome below! I read every comment, but don’t worry: I won’t give advice or tell you what to do. It’s your turn to talk.

If your relationship is over, read Healing After a Secret Relationship Ends.

May you find a fresh source of life, peace, hope and joy in your life. May you be blessed with strength, motivation, and purpose. And finally, may you move forward with love, peace and hope.

Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books

growing forward book laurie pawlik she blossoms
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.

letting go book laurie pawlik she blossoms

How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.

miss him book laurie pawlik she blossoms
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.


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3 thoughts on “3 Tips for Dealing With a Secret Relationship

  • Idala

    I am in a relationship that I can’t discuss amongst friends n family.. it’s seems right at first although I was aware of all the facts, I entered in, not expecting to fall in love. I begin to notice the unhealthy feelings after the first year n some months, that did not stop me, I opened up to him about my feelings, but his response was always what I want to hear, after being out of a relationship n having a few miscarriages I wanted to feel what I’m feeling now n yes I said now bc I’m still in it, but I’m here in this site bc I really want to let go, taking baby steps is not good at all. But I have been reading n have been focusing on all the information here.. all I asked is for prays for strength bc I’m in love with a mm.


      I dont know if or when you will get this message but I too am involved with a MM and its not an easy situation to get into and it sure isnt easy to get out of it. I think in order to leave the situation you must be completely honest about what you really want. I believe you have to get to a place where you truly are fed up and ready to move on. I dont think you put forth the real effort until you get to that place. I dont know if you journal but writing helps me to sort my thoughts and it gives me clarity. That may be a helpful tip for you. These forums are really helpful and you should take a look at some of the other forums as well. They may offer some advice.