Why honesty is the best policy
Lies aren’t always big, show-stopping porkies, sometimes we lie to protect our partner, to avoid conflict or simply to have an easy life. But relationship experts Anna and Andrew Wallas argue in their new book Call Off The Search that we should be more honest with ourselves, and therefore with our partners. “We believe that by having the courage to speak your truth to your partner, even if it creates ructions, you will achieve greater levels of connectedness, partnership and intimacy,” they write. “Speaking your truth from your heart – which is different from being verbally abusive – will open up channels of communication and create more passion between you.”
So, in their own words, here are the things Anna and Andrew recommend we stop lying about…
1. Being hurt
Often we are hurt by something our partner has said or done, which our mind tells us is small and petty and we shouldn’t admit to it. Instead we attack our partner, directly or passively in reaction to how hurt we feel. Have the courage to say. ‘I was really hurt by that’. You can either say this at the time or later but it will diffuse burgeoning resentment.
2. Your partner’s appearance
If your partner asks if you like what they are wearing, don’t lie. If you always say what you think they want to hear, then they never truly know if you like something or not. At least if they tell you that you do look fat or dowdy in a certain outfit, when, on another occasion they tell you how great you look, it has real resonance.
3. Communicating with an ex
Social media facilitates contact with exes. Often it is tempting not to refer to or mention a casual email or Twitter exchange from an ex-lover because you don’t want to upset your partner. Always be honest about any communication because if it comes out later and it was hidden, it is so much worse.
4. Hating your partner’s friends/family
If you have strong negative feelings towards your partner’s friends or family, don’t deny these and pretend everything is rosy. It leads to a build up of resentment and bitterness for which your partner will eventually pay the price. Instead, be honest about your feelings and make a commitment to extend yourself, taking small steps forwards in the friendship.
If you’ve spent an extravagant amount of money on a treat for yourself, don’t downplay the amount or the nature of the purchase, eg. saying you bought children’s clothes rather than a handbag. Always confess because, again, it will come out when the credit card bill arrives and each time you tell a lie around money, it encourages you to lie more. This fosters lack of trust.
If your partner consistently does something which you don’t enjoy, don’t lie there and suffer it thinking that you have to please them. Be honest about what gives you pleasure and what does not. Open communication about sex leads to genuine intimacy.
Most of us need to learn to apologise far more in our relationships. But don’t say sorry if you don’t mean it. Wait until you do. Insincerity breeds contempt and lack of trust.
We often delude ourselves that we have forgiven our partner when we have not. Do not lie to yourself in this way but truly enquire, ‘have I forgiven my partner?’ i.e let go of simmering resentment. When you do then forgive, it will have meaning.
We all blame our partner for a variety of things on a consistent basis. Blaming another for how we feel is always a lie. No one can make us feel diminished without our permission. No one can make us angry or sad. It is always up to us to take responsibility for any thought or feeling that arises, as opposing to projecting it on to our partner.
10. Being fine
How many times does our partner ask us, ‘Are you alright?’ or ‘Is there anything wrong?’ and we shrug back, ‘I’m fine’? Both parties know that this is a lie and it keeps you stuck. Have the courage to say what is bothering you and even if emotions flare, you will burn through any blocks within your relationship much quicker.
:: Call Off The Search by Anna and Andrew Wallas is published by Cadogan Publishing Ltd, priced £16.99