Relationship Trust Advice: How Transparent Do You Have To Be?
Is it possible to be completely transparent in your relationship? In other words, how honest do you consistently need to be with your mate in order to enjoy strong and healthy trust? After all, aren’t there times when telling the whole truth is simply unwise?
These questions relate to the heart of an issue that comes up for many couples in love relationships or marriages. Absolutely honesty– or transparency: Is it really all that necessary? We believe that being honest and acting with integrity is vital to establishing or rebuilding trust with your partner. Trust is, after all, a building block upon which your relationship rests.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship with anyone that you didn’t trust, you know probably know this very well.
In summer camps and team-building exercises for adults, people are asked to partner up and then literally allow themselves to fall backwards into the arms of their partner. If you don’t feel trust for that person standing behind you, it is highly likely that you won’t let yourself fall backwards. It feels too uncertain. After all, none of us want to go crashing onto the floor!
When you don’t fully trust your mate, it’s much the same. You probably don’t go around literally falling backwards (hopefully) into his or her waiting arms, but there are countless occasions in which you either trust your partner or you don’t. This might relate to something as simple as your expectations about him or her remembering to pick up bread at the store on the way home. Or it could tie in with your beliefs that your partner will not cheat when he or she is on a business trip alone.
If trust is lacking, damaged, or seems nonexistent, you probably can feel it and it will show in the ways you two interact with one another.
Can you be too transparent?
But when people talk about having total transparency in a relationship, you could wonder if this is just going too far. You might encounter particular situations in which it seems like the absolute truth would hurt your mate or cause further problems between the two of you. In these situations, you might grapple with whether or not telling a lie would be a better course to take.
For example, maybe your ex-boyfriend from college recently contacted you over the internet. At first, all seemed quite innocent and you enjoyed catching up with him via e-mail. But after a few online correspondences, the tone of your ex-boyfriend’s messages changed. He is now wanting to talk about his feelings for you that, according to him, have not changed and even proposes that the two of you set up a face-to-face meeting to talk about reuniting.
If you are currently in a relationship in which you value trust and want to keep moving closer to your partner, a scenario like this might be difficult to handle. You can certainly make it clear to your ex-boyfriend that you are not interested in reuniting with him and end the online communications. But do you share all of this with your present mate?
Would being completely transparent with your love about what’s happened just cause needless worry or even disconnection and suspicion?
Consider your motives.
If there is a question for you about how honest or transparent to be with your mate, we first suggest that you look inside yourself and consider your motives. Is your desire to keep a secret or lie coming from a place of fear or worry? If so, delve deeper into your emotions.
It could be that you don’t want to share with your mate that you’ve been e-mailing with your ex because he or she tends to be jealous. You believe that this kind of information would just set your partner off which is the last thing you want. Or your motives for keeping a secret might be because a part of you wants to know that you could get your ex back if you ever wanted to– you discover that you aren’t as over this past relationship as you thought.
Get a closer look at your motives and the emotions driving them and decide how you want to proceed. Ultimately, the question becomes: If my partner were to find out this information– and that I was not honest about it– would it help us to move closer together or drive us further apart?
Be honest in conscious and connecting ways.
The flip side of this scenario is that you might choose to share information in ways that drive a wedge between you and your partner. If you want more attention in your current relationship and this e-mail invitation from your ex seems to you a good way to make your partner jealous, then back up and examine those motives!
As you choose honesty, communicate with your mate in ways that will help you two connect. You might preface the information with a phrase such as: I am choosing to share with you something that’s been going on for me because our relationship is so important to me…
Make it clear to your love that your intention in sharing this possibly difficult information is so that he or she knows you can be trusted and that you want to stay close and keep trust between you strong.
Stay tuned in to yourself, how you feel about your relationship and what you want right now letting go of any need for games or manipulations of your reality. From that clear perspective, choose to be as transparent as you can be. You can then clearly communicate to your mate with love in ways that are honest and connecting.