Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: I’m Hiding the Truth about My Illness from My Partner

September 10, 2022

Dear Stavroula,

I am 28 years old and suffer from a disease that doesn’t affect me on a daily basis, nor can anyone tell if they don’t know, but when it comes back things are difficult and I need isolation and treatment. In my daily life, of course, I am completely functional and very successful in my work.

My problem is that as many times as I have so far told the truth about my situation to potential partners at the beginning of the relationship, most of them freaked out and ended the relationship with flimsy excuses. But a few months ago I started a relationship with someone and I am very much in love with him. I didn’t tell him anything about my illness and now I’m afraid that when he finds out he will lose his faith in me and leave because I hid the truth from him. This thought brings me despair and ruins my entire state of mind. On the other hand, I hope that, before he finds out, the relationship will have progressed, that we have bonded even more, so that feelings prevail and overcome the fear that even hearing about my illness may cause.



Dear Matina,

A necessary condition for a relationship to last and be healthy is trust. Trust is cultivated from the first moment of the relationship and depends on the experiences and the character of each one. The person who does not trust is most likely to have experienced emotional insecurity in childhood or to have not formed trusting relationships as an adult. Many times experiences of abandonment or betrayal from previous relationships are transferred to the next, resulting in mistrust and suspicion.

Perhaps something similar is happening in your case. It seems that you do not feel the confidence to talk to your partner about your illness honestly and for this as a first step, it would be good to search for the reasons. Is it something to do with his own behavior that makes you feel insecure about confiding in him what is happening to you? Then it might be best to reevaluate your relationship and the reasons you want to be with this person.

But if it is purely due to your own fears or insecurities from past experiences, then you should work on it and overcome it, before it becomes a question of trust from your partner towards you. How would you feel if, after a while, you found out that your partner was hiding something important about him from you?

Trust is also based on effective communication, on meaningful contact with the partner. The honest presentation of oneself to the other, the mood for emotional openness, the sense of acceptance, strengthen the essential contact and strengthen the relationship. That is, when one can show what one really is to one’s partner without fear of rejection, when one feels that the other person loves and accepts not only their ‘beautiful’ or ‘easy’ sides but also their difficulties and this goes both ways.

Of course, in order for there to be acceptance of the other, self-acceptance, love and acceptance of what each one is has to already exist. After all, how can one accept his partner, when he does not accept himself, when some parts of him are hidden, because they make it difficult for him or make him feel vulnerable.

So the second topic of conversation that would help you to open up with yourself is if you accept all sides of you, if you love all of them even the ones that cause you difficulties. You could also ask for the help of an expert who will accompany you on the journey of self-acceptance until you reach your destination.

You have managed to live and be functional with something difficult that you did not choose. You have succeeded in your work despite difficulties. You are to be admired for all this, for your strength and courage. For what reasons should you hide what could be a source of inspiration and hope for others?

The partner who deserves to be by your side will not reject you for your illness, but will help you live better with it. After all, diseases can occur at any time and to anyone. True love is not hindered by difficulties but grows stronger through them.


That something is not right at all in the world today is, I believe, clear.

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