We often say we wish people would just be honest with us, but can we really handle the truth? Open relationships seem to be a growing trend these days due to the high incidence of divorce, and the fact that we live longer. Committing to one individual for the rest of one’s life, particularly when you are only 20-something years old, is a difficult choice to make. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I don’t think monogamy is natural for any species, but that it is a choice we make. Sadly, our society and religion has conditioned us to believe that it is the only respectable way to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh with another being. That same belief has bred into us a need to possess another human being.
Love somehow has become equivalent with possession – ownership. We somehow think that if we love another human being, we own them, and feel we have the right to control their behaviors. Come on, all you Christians out there, is that what Jesus taught us? Really? We can live with their annoying habits, like channel surfing, leaving their socks between the sheets, or having to iron their underwear, but we can’t allow them the freedom to be who they are sexually. And somehow we think that if they love us, they are not capable of loving another. Yet we love our parents, our children, and our pets. They are all unique relationships with unique beings, but we don’t ever believe that we love one child less because we’ve had another, do we?
I did not set out to write an article on polyamory and I’ll save that for another day as it is a big topic that could probably spur many articles. What I am addressing here is honesty in relationships. But how much honesty do you want? The bottom line is this. If you can’t handle the potential answers to a question, you probably shouldn’t be asking it. But at the same time, sparing someone you love the honesty they deserve because you think you are protecting them is really not fair. I’m not saying you come to the first date with a resume’ outlining your sexual history and skills. But if you have a deep connection with an individual and you have verbally proclaimed your love for one another, you should have enough respect for them to be honest about who you really are. So if they are not the only one you feel this way about, they have a right to know. All parties involved deserve to know what they are dealing with. Once the facts are on the table, they can make an educated choice about how to proceed with the relationship. If you are withholding information because you are selfishly trying to get what you want from someone, it is manipulation, plain and simple. And once the truth comes out, it is not going to make you any more lovable in the eyes of the person who’s been lied to, or kept in the dark.
Look at it this way. When you first get to know someone and you connect or ‘fall’ for them, as we call it, they are automatically seen in a positive light, so they start out with 100 points. Everything is perfect, and it’s kind of like booking a kickass vacation. If what you saw in the brochure is what you really get, then there is a good chance you’ll be satisfied with the vacation from beginning to end. In this analogy, vacation is the early stages of the relationship – I’m not talking about a lifetime. At some point, expectations might be unrealistic and they can’t be met, so there may be a few clouds on any given day, because sometimes it rains in paradise. Still, the vacation’s not ruined. Now let’s say it’s something a little bigger than that. You find out that the accommodations aren’t what you signed up for, or they promised you room service, but the kitchen staff just quit. It’s not earth shattering, but in addition to a little rain, you now have to drive 25 miles to get food. You find some sub-par takeout, but the next thing you know, you find a roach in your bed. Then, part way through your stay, they close the pool for maintenance. You are asked at the end of the week to rate the resort. Your 100 point vacation is now at about a 25. So in regards to a relationship in the early stages, if the image you have and all you know is based on a lie, which can also consist of an omission of facts, when the truth comes out, you may be downgraded from your five star hotel with a view of the ocean rating to a three star rating with a garden view. At that point, you may still be able to salvage things depending on how you handle it. However, depending on the perspective of the person being lied to, or the reasons for the lie, you just might find yourself in a tsunami, with no choice but to end the vacation abruptly and go home.
It is interesting that when I talk to people about why they are not forthcoming with the truth in relationships, they usually say things like – “I didn’t want to hurt her/his feelings”, or “I was just protecting her/him”. But the bottom line is, people usually lie, or omit certain facts in order to manipulate someone so that they can have what they want, which is a purely selfish endeavor. Because when you are withholding information from someone because you think that they can’t handle the truth, you are making an assumption about their intellect and emotional maturity. That alone, can do serious damage. So when you talk about love, be sure that your actions are taken from a place of love, and not from a self-serving desire to control the object of your affections. You are not helping your cause, or protecting anyone from anything. All you are doing is creating a bigger problem, because one way or another, the truth always rises to the surface like a bloated dead body after a tsunami.