If you were to ask someone, “what are the most important things to you in a relationship”, ‘trust’ and ‘honesty’ would probably be right up there in the Top 10 along with ‘sense of humour’, ‘a Jamie Oliver-like whiz in the kitchen’, and ‘a penchant for reality TV’. But can there be too much honesty in a relationship and are there some things that are worth withholding?
All of us have a past and, to a certain extent, the experiences that we’ve had define who we are and where we are currently in our lives. We’ve probably all had meaningless flings, fancy our best mates or work colleagues, or thought that our partner’s dress sense could be immensely improved, but how much of this knowledge sharing is sensible and how much of it could be detrimental to the happiness of two people in a relationship?
Let me propose a few hypothetical situations:
- If you found your partner’s sibling really sexy and had fantasised about them on occasion, would you tell your partner about your attraction?
- If you previously had a fling with a colleague or a good mate and you are still friends with them, would you tell your partner about the past?
- If you knew that your partner has had a relatively small number of sexual partners compared to your impressive count, would you honestly tell them your number?
- If your partner had stacked on a few kilos recently and you no longer found them physically attractive, would you tell them to hit the treadmill or to forgo that extra helping of dessert?
Would you be frank and tell your partner the truth in any (or all) of these situations? Or would you keep your thoughts to yourself?
In reality, it is important to think about why you would want to be open and honest in these situations. What benefit is there in telling your partner that their brother has a gorgeous smile like Matthew McConaughey, or that your one night stands number in triple digits? I daresay that there is absolutely no benefit to your partner in telling them any of these details, and the only benefit that you would gain is just the warm, fuzzy feeling you get inside because you simply love the idea of having an open and honest relationship. Even then, any benefit that you would gain from your honesty would probably be offset by the paranoia your partner would feel every time there was a family function, or the self-consciousness they would feel about their own bodies or the number of notches on their bedpost.
There are some people that want complete and open honesty in their relationships, and others that are comfortable with being blissfully ignorant about aspects of their partner’s sordid past or their thoughts and inclinations. Whichever you are, it is worthwhile thinking about your own motivations when it comes to revealing your own truths or fishing for those of your partner’s. Some things are probably better off left unknown.
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