I was having an interesting conversation with a friend of mine recently and we both agreed to disagree on how much we should share ourselves when pursuing a new relationship.
She shared with me about how she felt the need to give all of herself when it came to relationships and not omitting information to satisfy the ego. It was important to be authentic and communicate openness, even it meant hearing things that may make her feel uncomfortable.
As I listened to her reasoning, it absolutely made sense.
Yes, in some ways we should be an open book. When it comes to a potential partner we plan on spending the rest of our lives with, the last thing we should expect is to experience any unpleasant surprises about something they may fail to share with you or vice versa. Would they feel you betrayed them? Would this break some sort of trust because you failed to share something with them you may feel embarrassed or shame over.
The fact is, everyone has a past and not everyone will have had the experience of having the best relationships of their lives. Shit, I can probably write a book…oh wait I’m doing that already.
Let’s look at the operative word here, “potential” life partner.
With this knowledge on hand, does it mean a potential life partner has to be in the know of every single detail of your life, the good, the bad and the ugly. Do we fear if we don’t disclose certain aspects of our lives, a friend may mention it in passing thinking you may have shared this information, let alone, do you want to tell your friend, “don’t tell them this info because they don’t know.”
Now it becomes some sort of a secret...right?
How much of ourselves should we share without hurting our partner, especially if it’s someone we want to build a life with.
Is leaving information out only driving our self-ego?
In my own personal opinion, no, but, it also depends on the situation. In health situations, yes a partner should know of any health issues that may or may not affect your relationship, especially in this day and age where STD’s can be prevalent. How do we share with our partner we have something they can easily get if safety measures aren’t taken to prevent any spread.
Also, there’s an ignorant aspect to this. From what I have listen to from friends and family, there are many people who quickly judge a person because of an STD and assume the worst about a person. It’s behaviors such as this, that will keep a person from disclosing anything and thinking if they are extra cautious nothing won’t happen. Is this fair to the person you are with? Should the person have the opportunity to know and understand what is going on and give them a choice?
Of course we don’t want to lose a person because of underlying health issues, but as human beings, we must consider the respect for the person and also the relationship you may be in with this person. Never assume or underestimate what a person may think about your situation and this is something not to be taken lightly.
And then there are other types of situations where maybe things should not be shared for the well being of your relationship.
This is the part where I had to disagree with my friend. While I understood the honesty and authenticity of one self, how far one must go in being completely honest and maybe sharing things that have nothing to do with that partner and driving them away from past histories or mistakes made that can shut down another person.
We must be responsible human beings, all the time, but not at the expense of hurting someone else just to be an open book. It doesn’t work that way.
Of course, people will have differences of opinions. My statements in no way say, it’s okay to lie to your partner. Lying is a form of saying something that isn’t true.
If someone asked you, have you cheated in a past relationship, and your reply was no but in fact you did, that’s a lie.
But if you’re sharing in context of getting to know someone, so they can get to know you better, perhaps, in that moment, it isn’t a good time to disclose your cheating ways. There is a time and a place to share these moments with someone as you get to know them better, but most times, it’s not good to be so forthcoming in the beginning, especially when a person does not know you.
There’s nothing wrong with being an open book, for as long as you understand the context you are sharing in.
My last “relationship” and as I’ve stated before, I use the relationship term very loosely because for me, it was not a viable relationship. As I had gotten to know him, I learned this man had the mentality of a selfish child and if I did share certain aspects, it would only be thrown in my face as a means to be mean. I found it was best that he didn’t know certain aspects of my life and thankfully, he will never know.
If there was one thing my friend and I agreed upon, relationships are hard. There are different aspects to endure (within reason of course) and learn about your partner. Their likes and dislikes, the compromises to be made and without a doubt, there has to be a level of respect and integrity. Without these, there is nothing but two people coexisting.
One of the biggest hurdles for me is letting go, in the sense of just letting someone into my life. I think because of my own personal experiences, I’m finding relationships to be a waste of time, but yet I don’t want to be alone.
I found myself the other day, perusing through pictures from years gone by, so many dates and so many guys I have gotten to know over the years, has been amazing, but at the same time, it makes me sad. I feel so different now and reserved. Part of me wishes I can be like my friend and be that free spirited person I once was. And I’m sure that time will come.
Until then. Take care of you.