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How to Tell If You’re in a Low Key Relationship or a Secret Affair

What is the difference between a low key relationship and someone who simply wants to hide the fact that you’re together? Then decide what you want.

Low Key Relationship

We’ve all been there. Out of nowhere, someone tells you that they’re having a great time with you, but they want a low key relationship for now. What does that even mean?

You have a major crush on someone and can’t help but think about them every second of the day. Finally, they notice you and you end up seeing more of them. Things advance a little and you’re spending even more time together.

You’re walking on air at this point. Then, they share this low key relationship desire with you. You can be forgiven for pulling a confused face.

[Read: What is casual dating? How to know for sure if you can handle it]

What is a low key relationship exactly?

There are two ways to look at this.

Firstly, it’s perfectly fine to be in a low key relationship if that’s what you both want. This means that you’re taking things slow, not rushing into anything, casual about it all, and not declaring your love for one another on every social media platform that you’re a member of.

You might be seen out in public together occasionally, but it’s not a regular thing. You might have mutual friends and hang out as a group. But you’re not introducing them to other friends and family just yet.

Some low key relationships are exclusive, others aren’t. That’s something you should decide between yourselves. Of course, the problems begin when that conversation isn’t had and one of you thinks that things are progressing more officially than the other.

[Read: 10 things you must always remember when you’re in a casual relationship]

There is another way to look at the low key relationship idea. If you’re crazy about one another, if you love spending time together and you’re enjoying the ‘can’t keep your hands off one another’ stage, why hide it?

That is where you need to draw the line. Sometimes the line between low key and hidden relationships can be extremely blurry.

Where does one end and the other start?

If the person you’re seeing lies about being with you, panics when people see you together, and completely avoids any admission that there might be something more than friendship going on between you when asked by other people, you’re a secret.

However, if they’re not hiding it per se, and when asked they talk about it quite openly, it’s a low key relationship.

[Read: How to take a relationship slow but not so slow that it ends]

Is a low key relationship ever a good thing?

Sure, it can be. But it has to be what you both want. If you’re someone who wants to shout it from the rooftops and can’t help but burst with excitement and tell your friends about your latest date, you’re going to struggle with the low key relationship idea.

The point here is that you’re both laid back about it. You’re not rushing. You’re not keeping track of how many dates you’ve been on, or what everything means. There is no label on a low key relationship, because you’re seeing how things go. [Read: 15 hurt-free rules to date casually without getting hurt]

If you’re happy to be that relaxed, then maybe you’ll find freedom in a low key relationship. To have a healthy and functioning union with someone you love spending time with, while having another altogether separate part of your life without them too.

It’s personal choice. Some people want to take things slowly. Maybe they’ve been hurt before and they want to take their time. Maybe they have children from a previous relationship and want to keep everything on the down low for now, until they’re sure that the relationship is actually going somewhere.

There are a myriad of reasons why someone may want a low key relationship to begin with, but that’s the point – to begin with. When it’s constantly low key and never really develops into anything else, you should question what’s going on. [Read: Relationship of convenience – What it is and why people get into one]

What if you’re a secret?

If you’re pretty sure that there isn’t a low key deal going on here, but you’re hidden away, it’s time to wave goodbye. Seriously! You deserve better.

Sit down with them first and ask why they feel the need to hide your relationship, or whatever it is. The chances are you’re not going to get a very reasonable answer to your question, because there isn’t one in existence.

If someone wants to spend time with you, wants to sleep with you, wants to share intimate and personal moments with you, this should not be hidden away. Of course, that doesn’t mean oversharing and telling everyone every single detail. But it does mean that it’s not the world’s biggest secret either. [Read: What it could really mean if someone wants a secret relationship]

I mean, come on, how does it make you feel? That they’re ashamed or scared what people will say? How ridiculous a fear is that? I want someone I spent time with to be pretty happy about it, to be more than able to tell people “yeah, she’s my boo.” Or whatever the line is these days. If someone you’re spending time with wants to hide the fact, then, sorry, but they have to go.

Raise your hand and wave it in a goodbye gesture. It’s the only way to go.

[Read: The signs you’re wasting time in a one sided relationship]

When should a low key relationship turn into something more high key?

That’s the million dollar question.

We all move at different speeds when it comes to love. If you’ve had a conversation and identified the reasons for wanting to keep things low, then you’ll be fine with that for a while. However, there will come a time when perhaps one or both of you wants to move things up a gear.

If your partner doesn’t want that to happen and they’re happy with the low key relationship you’ve already got, think carefully about the future. The fact that you want to kick things up a notch means that you’re not happy with the low key thing anymore. Continuing with it isn’t going to answer the problem, is it? Identify the reason why they’re not happy to move things into a higher drive. Then, assess whether you’re happy with their explanation. [Read: How to read the signs when your casual relationship is starting to get serious]

There should be a certain amount of give and take here. At the end of the day you still need to be happy at the speed your relationship is moving and how visible or otherwise it is to others. You don’t have to be one of those couples who constantly posts cute photos on social media or declares their love for one another at every turn.

But you do should have a certain amount of identity as a couple that goes beyond the low key version after a while. If this doesn’t happen, maybe this relationship isn’t the one for you in the end. [Read: Are you two a couple? 14 clear signs it’s going in the right direction]

The only way you can figure this out is to sit down and talk about it. Be honest and open about how you feel and what you want. You can’t be shy here. Be truthful to yourself. Maybe you’re happy with the low key relationship mold and it’s fine. But if you’re not, it’s time to speak up.

[Read: Casual dating vs. serious dating: What’s your dating speed for now?]

A low key relationship is usually a short-lived thing before it develops into something a little more high profile. But there is a very big difference between being low key and being a secret.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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