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13 Feb

Why You Should Tell the Truth Even When It Hurts & Why It Matters

I know lying can be easier, but it is important to know why you should tell the truth even when it hurts. So when and what secrets should you be sharing?

We’ve probably all wondered why you should tell the truth even when it hurts. But it does matter… well, that depends on what it is.

It’s no secret that everyone keeps secrets. Maybe you told your girlfriend that someone dinged your bumper in the parking lot when in reality you backed into a garbage bin, or you nodded when your partner asked if you did the dishes. But the pots and pans have been growing grime for a week.

We’re all a little guilty of the occasional white lie, fib, and yes, even a secret or two. Usually, we keep something to ourselves to prevent a fight, tension, or because it’s just not worth the trouble.

But, what about the bigger secrets? The ones that give you trouble sleeping. The ones that keep you on edge around your partner. And the ones that have a way of coming out sooner or later. Those are the secrets that lead to a lose-lose situation in any relationship.

Honesty is the best policy

I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. “Honesty is the best policy,” something about a guilty conscience, and, oh yeah, “liar liar pants on fire.” You might roll your eyes at people who say these sorts of things, but these sayings have passed the test of time for a reason. They’re true.

First, there’s the risk that whatever secret or lie you are avoiding will eventually find its way to your partner. You may think you have the tightest tied secret in history. Unless the secret is that you do something sketchy alone in an empty internet-less room with no windows, it is guaranteed to find its way out in the open.

When a partner discovers a secret, no matter how severe, it is almost always worse if they hear it from an outside source.

Not only is it a further betrayal that someone outside of your relationship knows something personal about you that they don’t, but now they know you didn’t trust them with it. You have been lying every day which only further separates the two of you.

When a secret is revealed after a long period, it can blow a relationship apart. The person keeping the secret is forever changed in the eyes of the partner just finding out. The relationship is shot to pieces because of one lie.

For some people, there’s no coming back from that betrayal of trust, however hard they try. But that is the risk of a secret.

It will come out one way or the other. If it’s revealed through honesty rather than uncovered through sneaking or a third party, there’s a better chance for a reconciliation. The only way to prevent this end is to tell the truth as soon as possible.

Why you should tell the truth

We all encounter unfortunate circumstances that we’d rather not deal with, especially in relation to our partner. Perhaps your ex got a job in your office or maybe you got demoted.

These are things that suck to tell someone. We know it’s not going to lead to a happy conversation. But secrets not only create tension and distance in a relationship that often leads to heartbreak, but the act of keeping a secret can do more harm to you than it avoids.

Yes, perhaps admitting a wrongdoing will start a fight, rattle your partner’s faith in you and the relationship. It may even risk it all together, but the disadvantages of not confessing can be much worse. People who conceal information, especially from loved ones, are more likely to suffer from headaches, nausea, and back pain.

Clearly, secrets aren’t just poison to a relationship, but to the deceiver as well. So, next time you think about denying a mistake to avoid a fight, take a second to remember that the longer you keep a secret, the more powerful and destructive it becomes.

Many people are already aware of the chance they’re taking when deciding to keep a secret. Even with that knowledge, they come up with excuses. For example, the favored, “I’m protecting them.” But keeping that secret, no matter the reason, tears any remaining trust or respect the relationship still has.

Another common excuse is, “I can’t find the right moment.” Unfortunately, when revealing something potentially life-altering that you’ve been hiding, there is no “right moment.” 

Whether they were having a bad day and you didn’t want to make it worse or they were having a great day and you didn’t want to ruin it, you’re only procrastinating. It only strengthens your guilt and their future anger by holding back.

Not to mention, someone who keeps a secret or straight up lies is more likely to become suspicious and paranoid themselves. When you are the one lying, you naturally assume others are as well which causes even bigger breaks in trust.

Why you should tell the truth, even when it hurts

Even with this, fessing up to a wrongdoing isn’t easy. From a young age, we find it difficult to admit defeat whether in school, with friends, or at work. When the person that you love and care for could potentially see your flaws, you feel vulnerable.

But if you flip that fear on its head and see it from your partner’s perspective, perhaps you could grasp the fact that they too are being vulnerable by trusting you. Prove to them that they can, by coming clean.

If someone still struggles to admit mistakes, there are a few reasons why. Often, people who worry that they cannot change get stressed by admitting their mistakes. They believe that those mistakes say something fundamental about who they are as a person.

This lack of honesty may be a deeper struggle to be worked on, perhaps separately from your relationship. Additionally, sometimes keeping secrets regarding an ongoing behavior such as an affair or gambling are what allows it to continue.

To someone hiding those secrets, the fear of admission is they must change that behavior.

Secrets themselves, whether infidelity or anything else, can cause problems and potentially end a relationship. Many people say that if their partner came forward and admitted guilt immediately, it would give them an incentive to hear them out and possibly forgive.

That courage helps to diminish the cowardliness of keeping a secret. In fact, it proves a willingness to move forward. Not only does admission and requesting forgiveness enhance the chance of an optimistic outcome, but a confession can help both people move on.

By letting out a secret or difficult news as soon as possible, you’ll move past it with honesty and consideration. Just as venting about a bad day helps you release some frustration, exposing your own mistakes can help you recover from them within yourself and work towards trust.

How to tell the truth when it hurts

When it comes to the actual confession, the delivery is just as important as the act itself. You’re offering this information to save your relationship, to prove that you trust your partner with anything, and to reinforce your faith in that partnership.

You’re also asking for forgiveness and a willingness to move forward together, not just to remove your own guilt. Also, by offering space, time, explanation, and even couples therapy, you can make the difference between a reaction of anger or a response of forgiveness.

Make it clear that you have faith that honesty is a chance that benefits your relationship. You’re willing to take that risk because you honor your relationship so highly. And remember, if your relationship is strong, and you’re prepared to work at it, confessing can guide you to a new level of respect and intimacy.

Admitting, confessing, and telling the truth are not always easy things to do. Learning why you should tell the truth even when it hurts can make a world of difference.

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