Francois Hollande, the new French president, and the first lady of France, used to date secretly until 2010, when their relationship became public.
They started their affair in 2005, while both were still in another relationship. But even after Hollande was ousted from his relationship in 2007, they didn’t disclose their bond. As a journalist, Valerie Trierweiler probably knew she would be put under scrutiny, especially since she was specialized in french politics. In some countries, journalists are asked to resign if they are involved in a relationship with a politician or a CEO. In my country, it’s not the case. In France, journalists who are married to politicians are often asked to step down. Many TV news presenters were dismissed from their role when their husband were part of the government. But they reclaimed their role when their husband’s party lost the elections, for some of them.
As Trierweiler said, she was proud to raise her three kids with her own financial means. So, she had a lot to lose if her relationship with Francois Hollande was known.
Yet, it’s not easy to keep a relationship secret. Simply because we betray ourselves with our feelings. We just can’t hide when we’re into someone. The first clue is generally how we look at each other, especially in public. That’s how I knew two of my friends were dating. Because he stared at her very kindly when I was speaking to him at a party, while she was busy in another room chatting with another friend of mine. That was obvious he was in love with her. Later, they told me they were dating, but kept it secret because she was still married to a guy I truly hated and who treated her very badly.
The second clue is when you mention your significant other in the conversation, without any particular reason. For instance, once, a friend of mine mentioned in his speech the name of his fiancee, without any particular reason. When he realized that, the whole crowd was laughing.
The third one is when you follow your significant other like a lost puppy, and feel disoriented when he/she’s not next to you. In a recent meeting I attended, I noticed the strange ballet between a lawyer and one of the women of the marketing staff of another company. She was constantly moving in the room to talk to people, and he followed her everywhere. Sometimes, when he was called by some of his contacts, he asked her to come near him and introduced her to everybody. When she had to leave because her boss needed her at the office, he insisted to accompany her outside. And when he came back to the meeting, he looked a bit lost. Ten minutes later, he was gone. I later learned they were together. But not officially.
The fourth clue is when you literally act like a couple when you are together. I was recently invited to a gala dinner where there was just another woman at my table, among all the males. She was accompanying one of the guys, but she insisted she was just there for professional reasons, although he invited her. He left her alone at our table because one of his contacts asked him to join him at the bar, and she started chatting with me, but also with the other men at my table. We were really enjoying ourselves because they were very good company. Suddenly, he came back to us, and started to talk to her exclusively. When the food arrived, she gave him her meat, without telling him anything, and he gave her his vegetables, without asking her. And of course, they left the table together.
Later, I bumped on her in the ladies room. And when I got out of it, and took the stairs to return to my seat, I noticed he was standing near the staircase. He was waiting for her. I learned later they were married, to other people.
So, yes, it’s extremely difficult to keep a relationship secret. Especially since we’re two in this boat, and that there will always be one of the two who will ruin the secrecy, unconsciously.