Mum’s the Word: What You Can’t Tell Your Family

Some industries deal with very sensitive information and can require their staff to sign an NDA. These types of jobs include things related to technology, celebrities, medical practices, law and so on. Many times, these types of jobs come with added stress, depending on the level of security and how serious the industry is. Because of that stress, it is only natural to want to vent and disclose things to someone close to you, like a partner. 

The question is, if you signed an NDA does that mean you can’t even tell your spouse or partner? The obvious answer would be “no”, but we know that some people skirt around the limitations, or their partner may not understand the severity of the NDA and could become frustrated for the lack of sharing. 

So why is it important to honor the NDA, even if it means keeping things from your spouse? And further than that, how do you handle explaining to a sensitive spouse that you are exercising moral obligations and not hiding things from them? 

An NDA – Non-Disclosure Agreement – is a legally binding contract that establishes a confidential agreement. Unless the confidentiality provision specifically provides for disclosure to a spouse (some do such as settlement agreements) then a person bound by an NDA may not disclose to a spouse or their dog or their best buddy. 

Keeping the information that you are protecting a secret can be tricky, but most times a spouse or partner can understand the severity of the situation. As for reasons why you cannot even disclose information to your partner, there are many reasons. 

Divorce or Separation

These situations happen, and when they do it is generally unexpected and sudden. With a separation or divorce, emotions are heightened and those emotions could endanger confidential information. For the sake of protecting your job in a worst-case scenario, aside from simply following the conditions of the agreement, you should keep the information private. 

Stress or Pressure

Certain NDAs come with an additional pressure. If you are dealing with celebrities, for example, there could be added pressure and stress on yourself – let alone your partner – to keep your lips sealed. Let’s face it, we’re all human and sometimes when you know something that others don’t, it can be difficult to keep it to yourself – but keep it to yourself you must. It’s hard enough for you, so don’t make it difficult for your spouse. 


Sometimes situations are, “the less you know, the better”. Whether for the reason that it could cause stress, or even possible it could pertain to something serious that could endanger your partner if they knew. Think about certain cases in law. If your spouse were called to testify under oath, could they say they have no inside knowledge? Protecting your partner sometimes means keeping harmful information from them. 


We’re not saying that all partners are prone to gossip, but sometimes the ones we love can have a little bit of a talking habit – if you know what we mean. It can happen after getting a little too excited about a conversation, or even after a night out with friends and a little bit to drink. People don’t always mean to spill the gossip, but to be safe, don’t put anyone in a place where they could accidentally let the details slide and put you in a difficult place at work.

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer