Topic #22 How much should we say to our partners? Should we tell them EVERYTHING??
Is there a fine line between sensitivity and betrayal? After working with many patients all over the country, there is a common question that tends to come up when talking about relationships. It’s the age-old question of ,“How much do I really need to reveal [to him/her]? If the truth is hurtful, why should I say it?”
An author and psychologist, Judith Sills, has a great quote (click here for the full article):
“Each petty lie in a marriage nicks intimacy and frays trust. As psychiatrist Frank Pittman famously stated, infidelity is not “whom you lie with. It’s whom you lie to.” However trivial the distortion, every time you mask yourself to avoid conflict, you take a small step away from your partner. Emotional distance does not foster great love.”
Like most things in life, balance is key. Trusting relationships, which foster strength and intimacy, generally lead to feelings of satisfaction. To get here, you are required to engage in a certain degree of openness coupled with a heightened sensitivity towards the other person’s feelings. Every personality is unique, which makes every couple’s dynamic special. There is no “one size fits all” relationship, but you know when you are truly happy and satisfied versus when you feel things are off.
We often times try to deny it’s “really that bad” or cover up hurt with distractions. It’s important to not only pay attention to your gut instincts, but also communicate them in a sensitive way to your partner – remembering to always taking responsibility for what you feel. For example, “I’ve been feeling disconnected lately and want to talk about what we can do to get back on track. I’m curious to know how you’ve been feeling, too.” It’s always best to build a relationship based on trust. But, if there is a break in trust either by omission or lie, you have to work hard to own your actions (don’t do the blame game), accept what has occurred, and find solutions together. Problems inside of a relationship are always 50-50 (or some say 100-100)… no matter who “started” it.
Most relationships take a good deal of attention and nurturance. If you and your partner have trouble finding this balance and don’t feel a sense of happiness/calm/peace in your relationship, you may need help from a trusted professional to get the conversations started in a healthier manner and find new and improved ways to relate and love one another.