We all have skeletons in our closets – the question is, can we trust our partners enough to reveal them all, or do we keep some tucked away in shoe boxes, just out of their reach?
One thing I did differently when I first met my husband was being completely honest from the get go. Maybe that’s why our relationship is what it is today, and why we eventually got married.
After years of unsuccessful relationships, bad dates and bad men, I realized that by not being myself, I wasn’t really getting anywhere. If anything, pretending to be someone I wasn’t was only attracting someone I shouldn’t have been with.
Basically it wasn’t working.
Slowly I started to change my approach to dating. I began being honest on first dates and trying to force honesty out of my date, which was usually, “What would you say is your worst flaw?” Sometimes it impressed, sometimes it didn’t, but the more I tried out this whole honest-from-the-start approach, the more successful I was in weeding out the jerks, because if they couldn’t take me for me, flaws and all, or admit to some of their own, then we shouldn’t be dating anyway.
When I met David, the nice thing was that he had a similar approach: If it’s going to work, we have to lay everything out on the table, and if either person couldn’t handle the other’s skeletons in their closet, then we shouldn’t be wasting each other’s time.
It was a terrifying process for both of us. Is the other going to judge me? Are they going to look at me differently? Will revealing this information ruin what we have?
The answer was no, and the result was amazing.
With nothing hidden from one another from the start, including our true personalities, there’s been nothing to hide ever since. By disclosing our faults, our wrongs and our shame to one another, we become vulnerable, and when that partner accepts you rather than rejects you in that moment of defencelessness, the trust built in that moment is immense, not to mention a relief.
Because of our honesty with each other and openness from day one, that foundation of trust we built feels like it’s 10,000 feet thick, and the best part is, we can only build up from here. It feels like together we’ve built a solid base for our marriage. The risk paid off and now our closets are skeleton free and are, instead, filled with what we wore on our wedding day.
Couples mainly hide things from each other because of fear; the fear of being rejected, the fear of being judged or shunned, being lambasted or, worse, broken up with for something they did wrong, but concealing things instead of revealing them has costs as risky as being honest.
We can hide things hoping they’ll just go away on their own with time, and they might, but in the meantime that can weigh on you heavily, and you just might find your behaviour and stress levels altering under the heaviness of your burdens.
Hiding things from your spouse can also be a slippery slope, as keeping secrets can easily evolve into lying, and if lying becomes easier overtime, when does it stop?
In the end, what’s riskier? Lying or being honest?
None of us are perfect, not a single one of us, so instead of pretending to be, why not accept that we’re not, be honest with ourselves and our loved ones about what our faults are, and run the risk that our partners will accept that too?
And if they don’t? Well, maybe your fears will be validated and they’ll stop calling you, or they’ll ask for a divorce, then maybe that person wasn’t right for you.
Or you can take a deep breath and have some faith in your partner, their love for you and your relationship. Odds are they’ll surprise you and continue to love you, flaws and all.