They are the couples that best exemplify modern day forbidden love. Couples who must date in secret to prevent those that would try to oppose their togetherness. If those opposed do find out, they likely may take some kind of action to make the couple being together impossible.
Yes, there are times when dating in secret is absolutely necessary. In fact, depending on where you live in the world, public information about your private dating life could be a death sentence.
Sadly there are still parts of the world where people can be persecuted and even murdered because of who they happen to spend time loving. In some cases, it is because the nature of the relationship may be non-heterosexual or non-monogamous. In other cases, it is because a person may not have the freedom to love who they want, and thus could be executed by members of their own families for choosing to have relations with someone that was not chosen or approved by the family power (these are sometimes called honour killings).
In less dangerous circumstances, dating in secret may exist, not because of some life threatening reasons, but more as a matter of personal privacy. A social circle does not need to know the details of which members hook up. Within circles of friends, people will date, and sometimes it is best that their friends simply not know. Couples may engage as casually or as seriously as they like, and end their involvement without the tentacles of their peers meddling good intentions. As long as the couple in question is consenting to the rules they set about dating in secret, it really is the business of no one else.
However, there are some risks to dating in secret.
The first is that dating does not always remain as secret as people would like. Sometimes, secrets are found out and can mean even more attention brought to the couple than if it had never been a secret at all. It is important to keep in mind that, at the very least, your secret identity will become known to the people who get into serious relationships with your ex secret partners, just as, you will likely have to let your own future serious partner know about you past secret lovers.
The second is when the motivation for secret dating is because there is something underhanded going on. Individuals may not always know the real reason that their partner insists on dating in secret. It could be because of overbearing friends and families, or it could be because your partner is carrying on a cheating affair with you, without your knowledge.
Lastly, secret relationships are a little more difficult to prove after the fact, if ever evidence is needed to demonstrate that there was consensual involvement. For example, an ex secret partner who is also a co-worker, could falsely accuse an ex-partner of harassment on the job after a secret break up. A HR director once told me that as much as 50% of harassment cases were ex-secret lovers trying to get revenge after a relationship ended. If it wasn’t for evidence such as saved secret emails, messages, photos and home made videos that proved a secret relationship existed, more people would be at the mercy of such liars.
It is a peculiar irony, that successful dating in secret requires a partner that is skilled enough in deception to keep intimate relations a secret, but not so deceitful that they would turn their skills against their partners.
Frank Kermit, MA, CH, is a dating-and-relationship coach, certified trauma counsellor and certified hypnotherapist. He is an author, speaker, matchmaker and relationship columnist for TheSuburban.com who appears regularly on Dr. Laurie Betito’s Passion on CJAD 800 AM, and other programs. Learn more at www.franktalks.com or call 514-680-3278.