dating · honesty · relationships

Why relationships can’t work without Honest . . . Part 2


Go read part 1 first. 

Here’s what I’ve learned does and does not work.
1) First try not to tell outright lies. An outright lie would be this: “I’m really into you and want to date you” when you know in your heart you never ever would want to date that person. Here we see that the first part could actually be true. I might really enjoy a good candy bar but would never want it as a main dish. However, the first part was deceptive because it was further defined by the second part, a direct lie.
Another example: “I just want to be friends. I don’t have any feelings for you.” When you know you’re falling in love. Breaking this one down a bit, the first part is actually ok; you can be in love with someone but have the wisdom to understand that currently just friends in the best scenario for you both.
Outright lies often come from insecurity. We think that being honest could push the other person away. Maybe we think they are insecure. Maybe we’re just reflecting our own insecurities on the other person. Maybe we think that if they see us talking to another girl or guy that they will think we are a player and not want us any more (the opposite is true FYI in most cases). If this is you, try to realize that in reality your world isn’t going to fall apart if he doesn’t like you or if she gets the wrong impression about your lifestyle. Live by your conscience and be secure in that.
Outright lies can also come from our desire to manipulate and play people. We want the power. This is a dangerous un-Christ like way to live. If you find this to be you don’t lose hope but seek help – there is much to be said of you if you can admit your flaws and seek to rectify them.
Another thing that does not work is intentional deception. Here’s an example. “I have a lot of work to do around the house!” Translation. I do have a lot of work to do around the house. That is completely honest. However, I think you will get jealous if I am hanging out with some other girls without you so I’m going to make it sound like I’m at home cleaning when in reality I am out and about.
Notice I never lied here. However, I intentionally set it up to (1) make the other person think I was doing something I was not and (2) put them in a place where asking prodding questions could make them look controlling.
This is very common place in relationships. I observe this type of action in both guys and girls quite often. Maybe this works well for you. But it can prove deadly. If someone is intuitive and observant this type of deception can be detected. Sure you can always say “I never lied to you” and you didn’t. However, the other party’s trust will diminish if they are able to detect holes in your story and discover the truth.
Once trust is diminished it is hard to increase. Psychologists tell us (from fairly well documented studies) that for every one negative you must say five positive things about a person to maintain a healthy relationship. Trust building takes work but is easy to break.
Closely related is unintentional deception. This is often subconscious. You might not intentionally think “I want him to think I am athletic when in reality I hate exercise, but I want him to like me”. You might just think “I really want him to like me”. And subconsciously your brain realizes that he’s athletic so you start giving every possible impression that you are athletic as well without intentionally thinking to deceive.
Another thing that doesn’t work well from my limited observation and experience: creating an “everything is fine” approach to avoid conflict. When something really bothers us it effects how we relate. All levels of relationships are effected, bosses, friends, lovers, children. We can put on the fake smile and ignore the issue but if we are truly bothered our demeanor changes around that person in ways that are nearly impossible to completely mask.
We live in an “I’m fine” culture. We don’t seem to like expressing that we’re not fine as if that makes us less of a person to admit we have a problem or a hurt. However, in a relationship this can be deadly. Communication can be so altered by unaddressed grievances as to totally change the dynamics of a good relationship.
Certainly a close friend, a significant other, or spouse should work to use therapeutic conversation to try and understand what is hurting the other party. However, there comes a point where saying “I’m fine” can be directly dishonest.
I think for most of us its insecurity. We’ve all been hurt. We’ve got baggage. We don’t always feel adequate. Admitting we were hurt or angered by someone else’s actions makes us vulnerable. Without vulnerability a relationship might as well be a business transaction. It’s the beauty of closeness. You have to be honest but you know that your honesty allows the other person to in turn be honest with you. And that’s how trust is build.
Trust is one of the foundation pillars of a healthy long term relationship.

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