My husband says that my father told him that his wife (that's wife #3)told him that one of our nieces has a boyfriend. I asked my brother (our befriended -- I don't dare say boyfriended -- niece's father). He said, "That's the first I've heard about it. How did you find out?"
My husband's friend from high school days wrote us that he heard from an undisclosed third party that his older daughter is now living with "a gentleman," her boyfriend of 3 years. At least he didn't say, "a cad."
When my husband and I moved in together, it was still the dark ages, there was a practical reason for our secrecy. It would have brought shame on our families if word got out. But today, when 40% of babies are born to unmarried parents, this secrecy must have some other purpose.
Both my daughters lived with their husbands before they got married. They even bought houses together. My mother didn't hesitate to let me know when her boyfriend was spending the night. These romances are also ancient history.
This modern romantic secrecy is something new. Since we all find out anyway, family grapevines being what they are, the only thing that changes is the chit-chat. I can't say to my niece, "Please bring your boyfriend next time you visit," because officially I don't know she has a boyfriend. And if she does bring him, do they want separate bedrooms?