The Importance of Being Honest

The importance of being honest in relationships doesn’t get the press coverage that it deserves. Honesty is a tricky thing. How honest is too honest? Sometimes, you don’t want to be honest because it will hurt your girlfriend’s feelings. Her makeup seems over-the-top, let’s say. But there is a huge difference between little white lies and humongous lies like cheating, stealing, invading one’s privacy, or covering up your spotty past or financial state. Some lies have huge repercussions. Hence, the importance of being honest.

Let’s get one thing straight: If you feel the need to lie to your partner about big-deal things, then you should not be in a relationship. Moving on…

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On a first date, yes, perhaps you don’t want to bring up the fact that you served time in jail or you are bankrupt, but as the relationship progresses, it is very important to come clean. While you may be ashamed initially, if your partner is invested in the relationship, s/he will value you more for coming forward. The truth will come out eventually and only hurt everyone in the end. It is not just the lie itself that is a problem, but that it can lead to future problems.

If you are hiding something over time, your partner will probably notice something is off. A friend of mine checked her boyfriend’s phone every time he went to the bathroom. Her previous man was cheating on her with two other women, something she found out after snooping. He, in turn, having been the cheater, was highly suspicious of others and was always snooping through her stuff. The habit carried over into her next relationship; she could not trust the good guy she was with, which led to many ugly arguments.

Snooping only has you finding things you are not meant to see and arises more paranoia and suspicion. If you have suspicions in the first place that something is awry, ask. Ask your man or woman. If there really is reason for you to believe he is being dishonest about something in his life, you should be able to figure it out by observing his speech.

Let’s say your woman is repeating your question and adding a “Seriously?” or “Are you crazy?” This means she is buying time before answering. Similarly, your man may evade/ displace blame by turning it around to you: “Oh honey, what’s wrong?” “Are you on your period?” “Did you have a bad day at work?” “It sounds like there’s something you need to tell me.” These are not good signs. Observe his or her body language (averting eyes down to the left and rubbing the nose are telltale signs of lying). If something is off, then you need to head-on address it or move on.

I believe the best relationships are those where parties are honest about most things. I still don’t believe in sharing banking information or computer passwords, or chastising/cutting up your partner when s/he is down. For example, the “Do I look fat?” question: Don’t entertain or add to your partner’s self-negativity. Here is where you counteract with a white lie. Actually, for the sake of all parties involved, don’t ask that question. EVER.

A little bit of dishonesty, or not fully disclosing about little things, is actually healthy and quite sexy in that you should keep a little mystery about yourself. Your partner doesn’t need to know everything. But when it comes to the big things, I’ve learned that to have a deep, real, meaningful relationship, honesty is key.

The challenge is being honest with yourself first. If you are, you can be honest with everyone else. Only then will you start meeting the right people for you.

It is refreshing to be your authentic self and not hold back. If you can accept your shortcomings, quirks, fetishes, flaws, fantasies—what-have-you—someone else can, too, and if you can love someone for who they actually are, and not what you project on them, you will open yourself to a truly honest relationship, and ultimately a strong, loving, lasting one.

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