Chris Harris realizes that in refusing to discuss his feelings, he is lying to his partner and damaging their relationship. Now he’s ready to tell the truth.
It’s no secret that beginning of any relationship—or the “honeymoon stage” as it’s affectionately known—is a whirl of sex and dates and fun. No one would be surprised that most people really love the honeymoon stage but I also love the next step, after the rose colored haze of new romance lifts and two people open themselves up to one another. Not to say that people are particularly closed off during the honeymoon stage just that they are usually preoccupied with how new and exciting everything feels. What follows is so incredible and intimate, two people sharing themselves, taking a risk and showing another person the parts of themselves that they keep hidden away, it’s all so sensual. Unfortunately, as beautiful and profound as letting someone else in is, it also introduces a unique set of potential pitfalls to the relationship.
Looking back on my previous relationships I can confidently say that I have made a few seemingly innocuous mistakes. While the circumstances vary, each time, in every instance, it all boils down to lying. At a time when what was needed was complete and utter honesty I choose to lie.
The lie I told was always in response to the question, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” was always my reply. I told this lie not just to my partner but to myself. Whatever it is, I’d tell myself, I can figure it out on my own. Occasionally I would be so certain that if I told my partner what it was that was bothering me they would be hurt or offended or disgusted. I told myself if I was honest they’d leave. I would tell myself that I should focus on my partner’s problems because they were bigger and more significant and that I would just be adding undue worry to an already difficult situation.
Sometimes I did manage to work it out on my own, but that didn’t change the fact that when I said nothing was wrong I was lying. It certainly didn’t change the fact that early on in these relationships I decided it was okay to lie to my partner for the right reasons and not only that, but that I had the power to decide what the right reasons were.
Worse yet, I knew that each lie was a step in the wrong direction, a step towards a place where I was okay lying to someone I claimed to love. Even armed with this knowledge and a desire to move in the right direction I still felt powerless, all my awareness did was give me new tools with which to torture myself.
I’ve been on the other side of this same situation as well, in some cases I would be lying to her while she was lying to me. That’s why I understood that my partner was just trying to protect my feelings and her own. In the moment if I ever found myself doubting my partner I’d remind myself that trust is required in a relationship, and that if I expected her to trust me I had to trust her as well—and I did for the most part.
If something stayed on my mind for long enough though, I would make a point of finding a quiet moment together to talk about it. Those moments, where I stopped pretending everything was fine or that I could fix it all myself, were some of the most precious of my relationships. I felt closer to her and myself than before without exception.
That is why I truly believe that there are no white lies when it comes to relationships, you are either lying or you aren’t and that’s it. Lies don’t just do damage in the present. When a relationship ends and you discover that your partner had lied to you, it takes what happy memories you may have had from your time with your ex and it taints them.
Lies leave you wondering if you could really trust anything they said, even those beautiful and powerfully intimate moments where you were honest and felt so connected to your ex become blighted by uncertainty.
Thankfully it’s not all gloom and doom because there is an easy solution to the problem of lying: stop. Come clean. Open up and admit to your partner that when they asked what was wrong and you said nothing that you were lying. Even if you can’t remember what was wrong, or if you’ve already worked through it yourself.
Open up, let them in, bridge the gap between your lies and your loved one. Have an honest and intimate conversation over a nice dinner or on a nighttime stroll. Make a date of it. And if you happen to find yourself on the receiving end of one of these confessions, then remember that honesty isn’t always easy. If your partner is coming clean to you it means that they’ve decided you are worth the potentially disastrous consequences.
People certainly deserve second chances and if they are confessing to you then they have already made a serious effort towards moving in the right direction. We are all just people, doing the best we can with what we’re given and a little forgiveness can go a long way.
Photo: Flickr/Katie Tegtmeyer