Honesty in relationships
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Julie Crowley
26th April, 20140 Comments
Being honest and real in a relationship is essential, and yet, some people don’t realise this or don’t understand why it’s so important.
People generally want to know where they stand so they can make a choice and decisions that meet their needs. You do it, I do it, we all do it. So when it comes to sharing your life with someone else – partners, children, siblings and parents as well as friends and colleagues – then we need to know where each of us stands in that relationship. Issues of trust, rapport, security, reflection of our own self are just some of the important aspects of any relationship.
So if one person – a partner for example in couples who come to counselling – isn’t being totally honest with their partner (and often themselves) it is likely to break down at some point. Sometimes, the lack of honesty is lack of realistic awareness and understanding of themselves, so they are not intentionally being ‘dishonest’; it might also be difficult to admit something about themselves and their attitude because they are judging themselves – and that is uncomfortable, so they avoid it.
However, honesty – being genuine, real and including the bad with the good (and that is often a matter of judgement for the individual, very subjective) – means yes, we can decide if that person or relationship really is right for us.
If someone has ‘negative’ characteristics - which is subjective and unlikely to be a problem if it is openly shared - and the partner has seen it and accepts it, then that should be fine. But if these characteristics are hidden away, pretence in it’s place. The other person will know deep down because our instincts tell us, but can override those instincts to see what is on the surface and perhaps, see what we want to see.
You are good enough - we all are. You just need to learn how to see that and accept things might need tweaking. Confidence and self-esteem may get in the way, but you will continue to learn, grow and adapt into a relationship. The truth, though, will always come out.
By truth I mean sometimes it is what you or your partner is feeling; how you see the world/your world, and your needs and expectations. Counselling helps you to see this and learn what you really need and want. When this comes up it can be difficult to see what is true if you are judging yourself (maybe on societies ‘norms’ rather than realistic norms i.e. you, your partner, your colleague).
If you prefer to be alone and have space, why not say that and explain it to your partner and they can adjust? If you want to be ‘looked after’ then look for someone who would be happy to do that, and who doesn’t want to be taken care of as well, or problems might arise.
If you find things that are uncomfortable for you, exploring them helps you understand them and change them. Be honest - it is far more relaxing and pleasant than acting a part -and it will allow you to find the right fit with someone. Honesty is key to building a happy, reliable and trusting relationship.
Often the problem is we can’t see what is happening or who we are. It’s important to know yourself so you can go into any relationship realistically and honestly. If your relationship isn't right for you, move on.
Accepting this when you are in a relationship can be seen as ‘failure’ – judgement that you are ‘not good enough’ to make it work, or 'not good enough' for your partner. But you are - you just need to be honest about who you are, what you want and what you can give.
Related articles from our experts
- Relationship addiction and narcissism: Are you trapped in the cycle of codependency?
Amanda Perl MSc Psychotherapist Counsellor MBPsS BACP (Accred) CBT Practitioner19th October, 2017
- How to listen better in your relationships
Dr Alexander Fox (MBACP, PgDip Counselling, Masters in Counselling, PhD)19th October, 2017
- Young people and unhealthy relationships
Balwinder Hunjan BSc (Hon) Dip Counselling Psychology Registered MBACP17th October, 2017
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.