I’ve Got a Secret- Melissa Martin

Secrecy, lies, and confidentiality. These all seem to go hand in hand, but they’re actually quite different. Confidentiality is keeping something private in order to protect oneself or someone else. Lies, on the other hand, are used to guard secrets. The difference usually lies behind the reason for keeping something private. We’ve all told lies and kept secrets from others, but what was the reason for those lies and secrets? Was it to protect ourselves, a friend, or the person we were keeping it from.


Not too long ago I kept a secret from one of my closest friends. It ate at me for days, but at the time I thought the damage from disclosing the secret would be more harmful than keeping it confidential. My friend had been married to her husband for years. I’m actually just as close with the husband as I am with my friend. I’ve known them for the same amount of time. The husband cheated on my friend years ago and they were on and off since then. He’d promise her he wouldn’t cheat again, and then he did. They’d fight, separate and get back together. It was a never-ending cycle. I’d get involved a few times, but after a while I realized it wasn’t my place.

One day I found out that the husband impregnated the other woman. I confronted him about it the next day and he told me that he would tell my friend himself. I agreed to keep it confidential until he did. While I didn’t want to lie to my friend, I knew that disclosing this information would kill her. Part of me didn’t even know how to tell her. Days went by and my friend still hadn’t mentioned anything about the pregnancy. I contemplated telling her myself so many times, but couldn’t do it. I kept imagining how hurt she would be when she found out.

A few more days passed and I asked the husband why he hadn’t told his wife about the baby yet. He said he decided he was going to keep it a secret because he didn’t want it to ruin his marriage. I couldn’t believe what I had heard. He explained that he would give the other woman money under the table to support the child, but that he wanted to stay with my friend. I didn’t even know how to respond. Was he delusional? Did he really think this was all going to work out? I still didn’t know what to do? Do ANSWER YOUR OWN QUESTIONS. I ruin my friend’s life by telling her about her husband’s secret or do I let this secret eat at me forever? At this point, I knew it wasn’t about privacy or confidentiality. This was a lie and the truth had to be told. I finally told my friend about the baby. It felt like a weight had been lifted because I knew I had done the right thing. It was a difficult thing to go through, but after she left him, she was finally at peace.

For me, the difference between privacy and secrecy came when my morals kicked in. When I was keeping this secret for the wrong reason and realized there would be more harm from the lie than the truth, I knew I had to come clean.




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