Nov 21, 2006

Do We Really Want To Know The Truth?

Everyone says that they want their partners to always tell them the truth, but is that really the case?

In my opinion, sentiments about always telling the truth in romantic relationships tend to be based more on self-deception than reflective thought.

When it comes to telling the truth in a romantic relationship, the truth cuts both ways. The truth can bring people closer together and it can push people further apart.

Telling the truth is important because it creates understanding, intimacy and closeness.

But, telling the truth has its limits.

To begin with, couples don't always see eye-to-eye on every issues that comes up. And discussing every difference is annoying and it causes unnecessary conflict. Sometimes pretending to get along is the wisest course of action.

Not only does withholding the truth sometimes help couples avoid unnecessary conflict, but the truth can also be quite harsh. Over the course of a long-term relationship, partners are going to have negative thoughts and feelings about each other. This is just a part of life. And sometimes it pays to keep one's negative feelings to oneself. The truth, once spoken, not only hurts, but it can't be taken back. While negative feelings are often fleeting, expressed negativity can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, partners are much more likely to remember a negative comment than a compliment. When it comes to love and romance, isn't it sometimes better to censor one's thoughts before they are spoken?

And if people are so earnest about hearing the truth, why do they punish others for being honest? Most people, when told an unpleasant truth, react poorly - ranging from the silent treatment to a much more aggressive reaction. As a general rule, such punishment is used to teach people the following lesson: Don't do that to me again. As you can see, a paradox quickly emerges. People say they want to know the truth, but their actions suggest just the opposite.

So, when a partner says "I always want to know the truth," that's most likely anything but true.

No comments: