We know that honesty is the best policy, and that a healthy relationship should be based on trust, openness and acceptance of our significant other. Yet we all have our secrets – some big, some small – even within a marriage. Here, ten women confess to Anna Moore the things they’ve never been able to tell their husbands.
I’m a sneaky spender
The secrets I keep from my husband aren’t harmful or hurtful – they’re just tiny sprinklings of glee that I keep to myself. He’s an economist and is ultra careful with money. We’re comfortably off and I don’t want to moan, but we’ve always been sensible, never splashed out, saved not spent, gone for the budget option. I’ve reaped the benefits of doing things his way: we’ve paid off our mortgage, our children will probably get through university debt free and we’ll both be able to retire by the time we’re 60. But recently, I’ve felt the urge to live now, to treat myself from my earnings and enjoy things while I can. He has no idea that I have monthly facials, manicures or massages. He doesn’t know I spent £500 on microblading my eyebrows and £600 on a course of facial peels. If I buy clothes that look expensive – and were expensive – and he notices, I lie about the price. I’m at the age where I’ve realised no one knows what’s round the corner. Those treats lift me up – and we can afford it. I can’t see why not.
My racy past
In my teens and 20s, I had an adventurous sex life. One-night stands, an affair with a man 50 years older than me, a threesome, certain acts in public places and three STDs. My husband is quite conservative in terms of sex. He had a very religious upbringing and although he’s now an atheist, some of the morality still lingers on. I know he’d be very shocked by some of the stuff I’ve done and he just doesn’t see me like that. When we first met, he was also quite a jealous person so I never told him. He still has no idea.
I’ve got an escape fund
Four years before I met my husband, my aunt died and left me an inheritance of £40,000, which is sitting in its own separate account. I mentioned it to my husband in the early days of our relationship, but I’m sure he has either forgotten about it or assumed I’ve spent it. That fund is my security. I’m now a stay-at-home mum and I might need it one day to retrain, go back to college or set up a business. We’ve been married for 12 years and at times money has been really tight. We’re always juggling our finances, scrimping and putting too much on credit cards. He’d be livid if he knew that all this time I’ve had a nest egg, which also makes it harder ever to tell him. But it’s for our future – and if our relationship ever broke down, it’s also my own personal insurance policy.
Our boy racer
Many years ago, my husband was working abroad and I went to visit him, leaving our two sons, 17 and 14, at home alone. On my return, I discovered that our eldest – usually a very sensible young man – had driven my husband’s BMW with no insurance and no driving licence. He had scraped it against a wall, causing thousands of pounds’ worth of damage, but somehow managed to drive it home. Neither of us could face telling my husband as he has a terrible temper. Instead, I told him that someone had crashed into his car in the car park while I was walking in the forest. Forty years later, he still doesn’t know, and I’m happy to say my son is a successful academic and married father of three. It took him three attempts to pass his driving test, though.
I’m a closet glutton
I’m always unhappy with my weight and have been a yo-yo dieter since I was about 14. My partner is great; loving, supportive and sweet, but he has no idea what I eat. He’s super healthy: he cycles to work, doesn’t snack or eat junk food. I leave the house without having breakfast and on weekday evenings he’ll make something healthy for dinner. What he doesn’t know is that I’ll often eat two croissants on the way to work, my lunch can be twice the size of dinner and when my willpower caves in, I buy chocolate. If he ever rummaged to the bottom of our bin, he would be shocked to find so many wrappers for Flakes, Twirls and Ripples.
My secret fling
My best friend is a man; we met as colleagues in our first jobs and got on brilliantly. He’s funny and generous, and although I didn’t find him physically attractive at first, over a year of spending so much time together that began to change. We finally got together on the night before I was sent on a work trip abroad – where I met my husband. We’ve been married for 17 years and my best friend is also married now. We go on joint holidays, my friend is godfather to our son and our daughter was a bridesmaid at his wedding. Neither of us has told our partner about that night. It might change how they see us – and it’s in the past. Having said that, I do sometimes think if one day in the distant future both of us were single, we might give it another go.
I can’t stand my in-law
For my husband’s sake, I’ve never told him the toxic comments his mother has made to me pretty much since we first met. He adores his mum and is very close to all his family. When he first took me to visit them, his mum waited until it was just me and her in the kitchen, then started talking about my husband’s previous girlfriend, how heartbroken they all were when the relationship ended, and that she thought my husband would always be in love with her. Two years later when we got engaged, she told me he was ‘settling’. I loathe her. I pity her. But I hate confrontation and I’ve never told my husband any of it. He thinks she’s amazing, and that we all get on wonderfully. The fact that we live 100 miles away makes it just about tolerable.
His pet hate
My husband has no idea how much our dog costs us – and he must never know. She’s a large breed and her pet insurance is more than our car insurance and house insurance combined. She also has recurring ear problems that can’t be covered on insurance any more. We have extreme money worries caused by long-term debt problems and I know if he knew he’d say the dog has to go. He’s from a farming background and very unsentimental about animals. But I love her to bits and so do the children, so we’ll all lie through our teeth to protect her.
Her cake on the side
My grandmother had a secret she kept from her husband. She married quite late in life to
the wrong person: my grandfather worked in a bank and was very uptight and never showed his emotions, whereas my granny was warm, fun and gregarious. He once didn’t speak a word to her for six months but divorce wasn’t an option then. However, during this difficult time she met a man she liked and for a few years they went to the cinema together every week. She told my grandfather that she was going to a baking class and this man bought an elaborate cake for her to take home each week, which she pretended she’d made. I don’t think it was ever anything more than friendship; just a chance to be with someone who made her laugh. And she ended up being married to my grandfather for more than 50 years.
My baby-scan scam
When I was pregnant, my husband was adamant that we shouldn’t find out the sex of our child; in fact, even before I got pregnant he’d made his views clear. He thought it was the one secret the baby could keep to itself, and that finding out was ‘like seeing what you were getting for Christmas when it’s still September’. I went along with this at the first scan, but he couldn’t come with me to the 20-week scan and I cracked – I asked the sonographer to tell me the sex. It was a girl! I was elated but felt horribly guilty. For the rest of the pregnancy, I had to keep it to myself. Two years later, he still doesn’t know.