Honesty In Relationships

How honesty shapes relationships

Healthy relationships have a lot of honest self-disclosure. The topic of honesty comes up enough in our clinical settings that it is worth exploring deeper. This post offers a sort of primer on things that relationship experts would encourage you to consider around honesty and self-disclosure. This is the kind of relationship advice a professional relationship counselor would give to you.

How should someone be honest in a relationship?

The short answer is that relationships are definitely more fulfilling when you and your partner are able to be almost completely honest. There are huge, priceless benefits of being more honest in relationships. One could say that honesty is at the foundation of any healthy relationship. A goal in your relationships could be to honestly self-disclose your true self to your partner.

Do you know all the benefits to being honest in a relationship?

  • It allows you to be loved for you, not someone you are pretending to be. It is painful to watch from afar someone loving you for something you are not.
  • Research shows that when you are honest you psychologically value your partner more. When you are dishonest, it makes you psychologically devalue your partner. You end up thinking less of them each time you lie to them. It is an insidious problem that will eat apart a relationship.
  • Being fully honest allows you to learn more from your journey of life. Being dishonest prevents you from being able to get feedback from someone who cares about you. If you lie about what is actually going on, then you are not benefiting from your partner the way that healthy relationships benefit each other. In the healthiest relationships, partners utilize each other to navigate the trials and tribulations – both big and small aspects of life.
  • Being honest takes less energy. There is no lie to remember or versions of reality to keep track of.
  • Being honest avoids risking the entire relationship. Trust and Love are both necessary for a healthy relationship. Trust is not risked when you are able to self-disclose everything to your partner.

Those in the healthiest relationships take the risk to honestly self-disclosure. For them, it is the reason they are in the relationship. Healthy partners share their most intimate thoughts and behaviors with their partner in order to get the benefits of love.

The greater your level of self-disclosure, the closer you get to the full benefits of love.

How many lies in a relationship are caught?

About twenty percent of lies in a relationship end up being discovered. If you are telling a lie then you lose either way: You lose your partner’s trust if you are caught or lose your own love for your partner if you aren’t caught.

Instead of taking the risk to lie, take the risk of having a deeper and more meaningful relationship. It’s the braver path with the greater reward.

How do I be more honest in my relationship?

  • Make a private list of all the things you are dishonest about.
  • Run some honesty experiments to see how it goes.
  • Journal for a while about your thoughts about some of the ways you are dishonest.
  • Remind yourself of the benefits of a relationship.
  • Instead of taking the risk to lie, take the risk of discovering a deeper and more meaningful relationship. It may be the braver path, but it has the reward we are all seeking. A deep and meaningful connection.
  • Learn to trust that you can handle however your partner is going to react.
  • Do You Have an Honest Relationship?: Dr. Firestone’s excellent online summary of key tools that will help you to be more honest.


4 Replies to “Honesty In Relationships”

  1. I think some people just feel more relaxed when they are being honest even if it’s otherwise small disclosures. It helps some to be open, even about things that aren’t important to their partner. It’s interesting to be in a relationship and notice the different honesty levels that each person can have. I think accepting that you are with someone who isnt so apt to be open, is helpful if that’s the case. In other words, people define honesty in a marriage/relationship in their way. Some may think its ok to not disclose their total spent…while others don’t feel right about keeping it to themselves. Accepting your partner’s level of honesty and not expecting them to equal your level is helpful. With major honesty topics its understandable to expect to receive genuine openness from your partner. Its again important, I think, to accept you may not get the honesty level you give even with big issues. I think seeing we are seperate people from our partner, no matter how we define our union/marriage is helpful so we can relax and accept the only honesty we have any control over is our own. Wish them well with their honesty stuff. I think one’s honesty is a part of one’s journey. Its not for the partner to try to control.

    1. You are on point, ‘today’.

      If someone is willing to be vulnerable to their truth, they seem to encounter less torential relationship storms. Ultimately, one can find calmness in being courageously truthful.

      Thank you for bringing up the importance of being compassionate towards a less honest partner. Dishonest responses are sometimes motivated by a persons fear of being hurt. It’s hard to be honest.

      A willingness to be honest, as you say, is something one learns on their journey of discovery. Correct, the partner doesn’t control it.

      Thus, compassionately discuss with your partner what type of treatment you are interested in. Give them space to grow into being more vulnerable.

      Your thoughtful input has reminded me again of the importance of compassionately setting limits about what you want and need.

      Thanks ‘today’.

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