“I didn’t lie…I just didn’t tell the truth.”
Lies of omission.
Most of us, if we are honest, lie by omission. We just don’t say that we don’t like the meal that is served or the holiday socks that we received from our in-laws.
These, of course, are socially acceptable lies.
But what about in a committed partnership? What lies are okay and what lies are not okay.
It is totally normal that people want their partner to be an open book — what exactly would this look like though?
If your partner really was open about everything that was going on, what would that require of you?
In other words:
What would be required of you in order to have the relationship that you want?
Sure, it is easy to say:
“Well, I want my partner to be honest. I want him to tell me everything!”
What would be required of you in order for him to “tell you everything”?
How do you respond when your partner is honest…about the hard stuff:
* How would you respond if your partner doesn’t like how you kiss?
* If your partner says that he had an erotic dream about a former partner?
* If your partner says that he doesn’t enjoy spending time with your family or that he has a tiny little bit of chemistry with his new boss?
If you can feel your ire rise just thinking about some of these questions, you may just be inviting your partner to lie. I know, I know. No one wants to hear that their partner doesn’t like the way that they kiss or doesn’t enjoy the company of their family or gets butterflies with another person.
And…for good or for bad, how you respond to your partner’s honesty (which is really just their experience of the world — not the Truth) will dictate whether or not they should simply…Not. Bring. It. Up.
Because, who wants to have a fight?
* “It would hurt her feelings too much.”
* “It’s not that big of a deal.”
* “I’m sure that how I feel will just change over time.”
Seems innocuous enough until the Tiny Omission begins to live underground and is nursed by annoyance, frustration, worry or shame. The Tiny Omission can begin to take on a life of it’s own and the thing that you might have been able to say early on becomes harder and harder to bring up…and as time passes there is just never a good time so you keep it hidden where it festers.
We see all kinds of Tiny Omissions that have grown into therapy-worthy issues. These include:
* Affairs and significant emotional/physical relationships outside the primary relationship
* Undisclosed STDs
* Previous marriages / children
* Money moved, 401k’s cashed in, children’s college funds liquidated without disclosure
Early on, any one of these things may have been a tough conversation but not World War III:
- "Honey, I love you and our family and this is really confusing to me but I'm attracted to my new co-worker and I want to talk with you about it because I don't want to keep things from you."
- "This is really uncomfortable for me to bring up because I know that we just started dating -- but I have herpes."
- "I know that your dream has been to marry someone who doesn't have the 'baggage' of a previous marriage...and I know that I indicated when we started to date that I had never been married before but actually, I was married when I was 22 years old but didn't tell you because I didn't know that things would get as serious as they have."
- "Honey, I am really freaking out about money right now -- I know that we decided that we wouldn't touch the kids' college fund but I'm finding myself thinking that that may be a good option for us. Can we sit down and talk about it?"
None of these conversations would be easy -- but much easier than trying to repair the deception later on.
If you find yourself struggling with initiating tough conversation with your partner -- call us. Our licensed therapists have spent years working with people just like you who want to create more authentic, rewarding relationships with less conflict.
Call 720.457.3342 or click one of the red buttons at the top of the page to book an appointment now.
We look forward to meeting you!