My Boyfriend Wants To Keep Relationship A Secret (16 Worrying Reasons)

Last updated on June 6, 2022 by April Maccario

It’s always tricky to know when you should take your relationship to the next level and make it public knowledge that you’re together with someone. 

Every couple takes a different amount of time to let their family, friends, and the outside world know they are together, but it could seem concerning if you’ve been with your partner for a while and it seems to the outside world that you’re merely acquaintances or friends

If you are in this situation, or your partner is asking you to keep the relationship secret but not giving any reasoning behind their request, it’s a red flag.

However, you don’t want to panic straight away, because there are so many reasons why your boyfriend might not want to go public right now. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the possible reasons your partner wants to keep your love on the down-low, as well as share advice about how best to deal with this situation.

Why Your Partner Wants To Keep Your Relationship A Secret

1. The Relationship Is New

Could you possibly be overreacting and putting pressure on making the relationship public? If your relationship is still relatively new (perhaps you’ve only been seeing each other for a few weeks or maybe even a couple of months) you might be putting too much pressure on your man to make things public.

Typically people will make their relationships public or official within a month to two months of dating someone exclusively. So, don’t panic if you are still in the early stages.

2. He’s Keeping It Private, Not Secret

There’s a huge difference between a secretive relationship and someone just wanting to keep a relationship private. Is your man a particularly private person? If so, he might not want the world knowing anything about him, never mind knowing who he’s romantically involved with. 

However, if your man is keeping it private and not secret, he will most likely let you know his reasoning behind this and you’ll be understanding about it. Secrecy and privacy are two very different things.

3. He Has Just Come Out Of A Relationship

he has just come out of a relationship

If your boyfriend has just come out of a relationship, he might want to keep the relationship secret because he simply doesn’t want to seem like he’s jumping straight into another relationship. He might be worried that it could hurt his previous partner, or cause people to judge him.

4. He Still Has Feelings For His Ex

If your man isn’t happy to make your relationship known to the world, it could be a sign that he still has feelings for his ex. He might not want to make anything official with you, and even if he does make things official between the two of you, he might still be holding a flame for his ex, so wants to make sure she doesn’t find out. 

If this guy has only recently broken up with his ex, this is certainly could be the reason he’s keeping your relationship private.

5. His Ex Would Cause Problems For You

Unlike the point above, your man might actually not still hold any feelings for his ex, but he might want to keep the relationship between you secret because he’s worried that she might cause problems for you. If his ex is a controlling, unstable, or very jealous person he won’t want her to find out. However, if this is the case, he’ll most likely let you know as soon as you question the secrecy.

6. He’s Cheating On You

Of course, this is one of the possible reasons you definitely don’t want it to be, but it could be the truth so we do have to touch on it. Your man might not want to tell the world about his connection with you because he’s cheating on you, or is at the very minimum flirting with other girls. If this is the case, you’ll notice that your man acts shady and is defensive when you try to communicate with him about this issue.

7. He’s Already In Another Relationship

he's already in another relationship

One of the reasons your man doesn’t want anyone to know about you could be that he’s actually already with someone, and has several relationships in his life - you could just be the new relationship! You could be the person that this guy is actually cheating on his girlfriend with, hence, the reason he will want to make sure no one finds out about your connection together.

8. He’s Worried It Won’t Last

Your boyfriend might have commitment issues when it comes to relationships or might be scared about having his heart broken, and this could be why he doesn’t want to make the relationship public knowledge. He could be terrified about telling the world about you, inviting you into his life, and then having you leave. 

9. He Doesn’t Feel Serious About You

You don’t want to hear this, but this guy might keep you his little secret because that’s all you will ever be to him. He might not see a future with you at all and instead sees you as a quick fling or enjoys just being friends. If this guy doesn’t seem invested in really getting to know you, hasn’t spoken about a future with you, and wants to keep your connection on the down-low, he probably doesn’t see you as a serious love interest.

10. He’s Not Mature Enough For A Relationship

The sad truth is, some men just aren’t mature enough for serious relationships and it has nothing to do with age. If the man you’re seeing is also financially irresponsible, acts like a kid is friends with similar men, and has no real plans for the future, he could be a man child. Hence, an immature man will keep a relationship a secret, because he either doesn’t want to be official with you, doesn’t see a future, or doesn’t want you to take time away from him and his friends.

11. He Wants To Keep His Options Open

he wants to keep his options open

Even if this guy likes you, he might still want to keep his options open and therefore that’s why he isn’t shouting from the rooftops about the love you share. Do you notice the way he looks at other women? Is he a real ladies man? If so, he might be taking a look at the single market before settling down.

12. He Doesn’t Want His Friends To Find Out

A guy might be keeping you a secret because he doesn’t want his friends to find out about you. There might be various reasons why he doesn’t want his friends to find out about you, but he might be worried they won’t like you, be worried that you might not like his friends or he might simply hang around with people he doesn’t want you to meet. If you have mutual friends, this could be even trickier.

13. He’s Worried His Family Won’t Like You

This is similar to the friend’s reason, but he could be hiding what the two of you share because he thinks his family is going to judge you and not like you. This could vary in severity and he could either be slightly worried you won’t get on well with them, or they might be extremely prejudiced and really disapprove of you.

14. You Are In A Relationship Others Would Deem Inappropriate

If anyone found out about your relationship would either of you get negatively affected? Is there anyone you don’t want to find out about the two of you? 

For example, if you’re seeing your colleague you might have to keep it secret so that no one at work finds out and deems your work relationship inappropriate. Even worse, you could be dating your boss - this would certainly have to be kept hush.

15. He Has Children

he has children

If your partner has children, he might have to keep what’s going on with the two of you secret until he is ready to tell them. Most people with children will want to make sure they’re in a stable, committed relationship before bringing this person into their life. This is completely reasonable, but your man will most likely be open and honest if this is the reason.

16. He Doesn’t Realize That You Want To Make It Public

Have you even told your man that you want to make your relationship public knowledge? If you haven’t, he won’t know and therefore won’t strive to make it official and known to outsiders.

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How To Deal With Secret Relationships

1. Don’t Jump To Conclusions

When it comes to secret relationships, you don’t want to jump to any conclusions. Make sure you know the reason why it’s under wraps before stressing out too much. There’s no reason for you to blow up in your partner’s face unless you fully understand why this situation is occurring.

2. Communicate With Your Partner

To deal with any conflict or issues that arise in relationships you need to communicate. Sit down and talk to your partner, telling them your concerns. You will most likely be able to talk things over.

3. Don’t Make The Relationship Public Without Consent

Whatever you do, you don’t want to force your partner into accepting the relationship status or telling others about the two of you. Don’t tell people about the two of you until you’ve spoken to your partner about why they’re keeping it secret.

4. Talk To Friends Or Family You Can Trust

talk to friends or family you can trust

If you are really concerned and can’t seem to properly communicate with your partner, you might want to talk to someone in your life about it. However, before confiding in someone about your problems, make sure you only talk to loyal and trustworthy friends or family.

5. Decide Whether You’re Happy To Work Through It, Or If It’s Time To Walk Away

Finally, you need to decide whether you think things are going to get better, or whether things are flatlining or even getting worse. If the things stopping the relationship from being public are reasonable and your partner is open with you about them, things will probably get better and you should strive to work on the relationship

If you think that your life could be better without your partner in it and you don’t want to wait for them, leave them. You don’t want to be with someone that’s not proud of being with you.


What does it mean when your boyfriend wants to keep your relationship a secret?

There will never be one answer to this question as relationships differ, and not one is the same. You can take a look at the reasons listed above to try and figure out which one resonates with your situation. They might not want their friends to know, they could be scared of being hurt or they could not be serious about you. However, the only way you’re going to know exactly why your partner wants to keep your relationship secret is if you communicate with them. 

Is it OK to keep your relationship a secret?

It is acceptable to keep a relationship a secret if both partners are happy with that. It’s important to say that keeping relationships secret is very difficult and can cause a lot of stress. Unless you’re in an inappropriate relationship such as one with your boss or employee, there shouldn’t be any reason to keep your relationship secret. In addition, if only one partner wants to keep the relationship a secret and the other wants to go public, that’s not OK because decisions made in the relationship are clearly not shared. 

Why do I want to keep my relationship a secret?

You might want to keep your relationship a secret for many reasons that you don’t even understand fully. It might be useful for you to take a look at the list of reasons above and see if any of them resonate with you. For example, you might actually not see longevity with this person, you might be scared of what your friends or family will say or you might deep down want to see other people

What do you call a secret relationship?

You could call a secret relationship a tryst, although this is quite an old fashioned term, coming from the Scottish language. A tryst also more specifically means a meeting between two lovers that are kept secret, so if you’re in a long term secret relationship, you probably don’t want to use this term.

Is it wrong to look at your partner's phone?

Looking at your partner’s phone is definitely an invasion of privacy and is morally wrong - you don’t want to do this! Relationships are difficult and you might get jealous, but always try to communicate before you do any kind of snooping. The bottom line is that if you do have to snoop around and look at your partner’s phone, you’re probably not in a successful relationship.

On A Final Note

This article should have helped you figure out why your partner wants to keep your relationship secret, and helped you understand how you can best deal with this situation. Above all else, just remember that you should be with someone that makes you happy and is proud to be stood by your side.

Did you like this article? If you did, let us know in the comments.

Do you hate it how everything seems to always revolve round him while you just seem to be an afterthought sometimes?
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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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