Do you share others' secrets with your SO?

I’m in a bit of a quandry folks and I’m looking advice. My SO is upset with me because I didn’t share with her something confidential that my cousin told me. My cousin was feeling a little confused about a particularly wild weekend she had and didn’t want anyone to know. She asked that I tell no one about it because she didn’t want anyone to judge her and was still digesting the events.
So, of course, like a good friend/relative, I kept my mouth shut. Then on Thanksgiving, my cousin, who by this time is no longer feeling bad over going “girls gone wild” confides in my SO about what happened.
My SO was pissed that I didn’t tell her about it. My defense was that when someone tells me not to tell anyone about {secret} I don’t tell anyone. She claims that we should share everything and that I should trust her not to tell anyone if I told her a {secret.}
I feel, for the sake of my relationship, that I should bend a little and at least tell my partner whatever {secret} I may know. She tells me everything about everyone else I know but of course, everyone knows telling me something confidential is like telling a corpse.
I still feel a little uncomfortable about it and that’s partly because I’m not a gossip and partly because my partner sometimes accidently lets secrets slip. She doesn’t do it intentionally but occasionaly she is stricken with speaking before engaging her brain. I’ve told her of these reasons but she still thinks we shouldn’t have secrets.
Now here’s someting ironic. My cousin completely sided with me about not telling SO when she asked me to keep mum. However, when she was engaged, she told her fiance all the secrets that were told to her under the premise that they didn’t keep secrets from eachother.
So, I’m going to go for it and start trusting my partner with these things. She is, afterall, my partner and not some girl I’ve just been dating for a few months.

What do you folks think? How do you handle this in your relationships?

FWIW, we’ve been together for 3.5 years.

Well, it reads to me as if you are a person who understands the importance of respecting confidences.

Sounds like that’s who you are. Now, re-read your Dr. Seuss sig. Is your SO demanding you be something/someone that you are not?

I’m not married or in a relationship, but it seems that the “we have no secrets” thing pertains to things that affect the relationship. Your cousin sharing things with you in confidence affects your relationship how?

IME it’s customary to assume that spouses are fair game in most circumstances. If you don’t want Mr. X to know your secret, don’t tell Mrs. X. YMMV.

You did the right thing. If you cousin had felt comfortable with your SO knowing, she wouldn’t have requested that you not tell her.

I never share a confidence that is told to me with my spouse. I assume that if the person wanted him to know, they would tell him as well or say “Well, you can tell your husband, but no one else.” Otherwise, I keep things completely confidential. That’s probably from years of working in healthcare where confidential means entirely confidential, even from people you like a real real lot.

Hopefully, by now my friends know that I tell Mr. K pretty much everything. That way, they know not to tell me unless they expect that it will get to him. I much prefer to not know stuff that has to go in a sealed vault. For reasons non-gossipy, I sometimes have a hard time keeping secrets.

I wouldn’t share others’ secrets with Mr. Neville, and I wouldn’t expect (or want) him to share others’ secrets with me. The only possible exception would be if someone told me something in confidence that affected him and that he really needed to know about. Something like my cousin doing some things she later regretted wouldn’t even come close to qualifying.

Hubby and I had to come to an understanding about this. Due to the nature of his job, he has access to a lot of records which must be kept confidential, and participates in investigations which have aspects he not allowed to disclose. Would your SO be angry at you if you were legally barred from sharing the information as mu Hubby is? How is a vow of secrecy much different?

I occasionally have friends who tell me things they want me to keep secret. If, for some reason, it has to be addressed in a conversation between Hubby and I, I say: “Mindy is having some issues right now. She’d rather I not share the details yet.”

I think it boils down to trust. I trust that my Hubby will never keep anything from me that I need to know, and I know that if he can keep his promises of secr4ecy to another person, he’ll keep my secrets safe as well.

I’m a terrible gossip, let’s get that out of the way.

But the keeping of secrets, to me, really depends on a) How “secret” they really are and b) if parties are known to one another.

If your SO knows your cousin, and has cause to be in touch not only with her both others in her social/family circle then I’d be a bit hesitant to tell her the secret. That’s not to say that I think she’d go out and blab to cousin’s mum or anything, but if she really does engage mouth before brain as you say then it’s something that you really should be careful of.

However if the parties are not known to each other or in the same social circles, I don’t have a problem with sharing things with your SO. I’ll do it sometimes - a girl at work recently had a one night stand on a boozy night out (though she’s not in another relationship at the moment, she’s still pretty embarrassed by it). I’ve told hubby, because it’s kinda cute how she’s proud but ashamed of herself at the same time because of it. But hubby doesn’t know her, or any of the people I work with, and isn’t about to speak to any of them and thus share the secret around (Not that I think hubby would share a secret if I told him not to, but anyway).

For myself and my own secret sharing, I do agree with Autumn Almanac - If I tell person A something in confidence, I don’t hold an expectation that they will conceal it from their SO, unless it’s something I’ve specifically asked them to (plans for a surprise b/day or something like that). Partners are a unit, and it’s not unreasonable that they’ll share things that they wouldn’t ordinarily share with others.

It depends. I share most things with my SO, for instance certain things in my family that are not known to anyone outside the immediate family. But if someone told me something in confidence and expressed that they didn’t want anyone to know about it, then I would keep it to myself.

Either way, its a judgement call. The situation described in the OP would fall (for me) under the tell no one, including my SO, what they shared with me.

I generally share things like that with my husband, but I make it clear to the person before they tell me.

“Can I tell you something in confidence?”
“Sure, except from my husband. If I can’t tell him, I’d rather you not tell me. It’s just a thing, I’m sure you understand.”

He’s my best friend, and it just burns me up inside to know something he can’t. I hate it, and I’m not willing to do it. But I also won’t break my word. So it’s up to the person with a secret.

Ugh - forgot something important.

If a friend of hubby’s told him a secret and asked him to keep it confidential from everyone including me, I wouldn’t be offended if he did. Depending on the secret and my relationship with the other party, I may be offended with the teller for thinking so little of me that they’d keep it from me in the first place, but I wouldn’t blame hubby for keeping their confidence (In the example given by the OP, as the SO I wouldn’t be blaming him for keeping the secret from me, but if I was good friends with the cousin I’d be a bit upset that she’d think so badly of me to assume that I’d judge her negatively for a bit of a party weekend where she went outside her boundaries for a while.)

It really pisses me off when someone says, “Blah, blah, blah, blah…and by the way, don’t tell anyone.” I want to AGREE to keeping a secret…not find out first and get the stipulation afterward. That’s why I’m glad most everyone knows I tell Mr. K most stuff.

I’m totally with you on that one. I don’t consider myself bound to secrecy if I didn’t agree to it.

Wow, quick responses! Thanks for all the input. I’m really enjoying all of the points of view. Problem is, I agree with all of you. :smack:

I still think I did the right thing. But, I think I may give my SO a chance to prove that she’s more careful about what she says and to whom. She’s been notorious for her slips but she has been getting better so I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I want to be able to share everything with her.
The thing is, my cousin and my partner get along very well but the reason my cousind didn’t want me to tell her was that she feared another “slip” and that it would occur in front of the family. When my cousin did finally tell her, she was able to keep mum. I have to admit, not telling my partner did made me just as uneasy as the thought of telling her after saying I’d keep quiet. sigh

There are some things I don’t tell because I know he either wouldn’t give a shit or it’s none of his business. For instance, I happen to know that his best friend’s daughter is cheating on her boyfriend. The kid’s mom knows, not sure if the best friend knows, but my husband doesn’t particularly like the daughter or her boyfriend, and we KNOW the best friend hates the boyfriend. I wasn’t sworn to secrecy on this one, but I probably wouldn’t mention it because really…who cares?

Ditto. However, Chao Goes Mu, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not having told your SO this particular secret (since presumably it didn’t really affect her in any way). And hey, look at it this way - if you’d told your SO the secret, and THEN your cousin told her the same secret later, she’d have had to go through the whole bit about acting surprised by your cousin’s news (since she wasn’t supposed to know, right?). So you saved your SO some on-the-spot acting. :wink:

This is one of the thorny relationship issues. In my case, I don’t like secrets, and I don’t like lying, so I’m not likely to accept any conditions for a secret to start with, much less one that I can’t tell my husband. I put him above everyone else; like others have said, if you don’t want him to know, don’t tell me. Your secret is not as important to me as my relationship with my husband. Period.

My husband is also a vault; I’m much more likely to blab something than he is, just from forgetting who knows what (which is one of the reasons I don’t like secrets and lying - waaaaay too much effort).

I don’t think you did anything wrong, Chao, but this is probably something about which you should lay some ground rules for the future with your SO.

This is basically what it comes down to for me. Other people’s secrets are those other people’s business, which they have chosen to share with me. I would consider it disrespectful to those other people to disclose their confidences to someone who does not have active reason to need to know.

That someone is my partner is not an active reason for them to need to know such things. That someone is not me, we are not some sort of two-bodied creature from Joinedathehippistan that pools all knowledge.

I will, occasionally, ask if I can discuss confidences with specific other people, if I feel that I will have good reason to, but if someone says “No, I’d rather you didn’t” or “No, not to your husband” or whatever other, I’ll respect that. I’ll also pass on information if specifically requested, but the specific request has to be made for me to do so with something flagged confidential.

I wouldn’t share a friend’s secret with my husband. The exception would be if the secret could possibly affect him or someone in our family.

It’s an easy choice for me though, because hubby’s a bit of a gossip, and he knows that about himself, so he understands.

But even if he wasn’t a talker, if someone says “You can’t tell anybody”, I wouldn’t. If you think you have to share everything with your SO, then you shouldn’t agree to keep something in confidence.