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Honesty In Relationships: How Honest Is Honest?

Honesty seems to be a big topic floating around now. This comes up in many sessions with clients and especially with couples as well as seems to interest the media.

Here are some of the questions that have been floating around in my mind.

What does honesty in a relationship mean to you?

To me, it means being authentic and transparent about daily realities of life. It does not mean one has to share every thought and feeling with their partner. People are entitled to privacy. It also doesn’t mean that if a friend tells you a secret, you have to or even should tell your partner. But the daily events or facts about life in a relationship should be disclosed without any omissions and ambiguities. Things like whereabouts, money, plans, etc.

Is there a difference between honesty and full disclosure? A client asked me recently.  I don’t think so. I don’t see the difference between the two in an intimate relationship. That being said, I do not believe it’s a good idea to tell your partner that you have sexual fantasies about someone else unless it’s an accepted conversation between you.

How important is it for people to be on the same page when it comes to honesty?

I think it is extremely important to be on the same page, so there is no ambiguity. If you are not on the same page, there will sooner or later be an issue.

So all relationships have to be an open book?

This may sound like a contradiction, but my thought is not necessarily. We are entitled to some privacy especially when it comes to our thoughts and feelings. It also is not the worst thing to have a little mystery about your partner. It can spice things up. There is also room for surprises which can be really wonderful for a relationship.

The main issue is that your partner deserves to know who you are, your history and what your reality is on day to day basis.

If you are considering therapy for couples, get in touch with Irina Firstein, LCSW. Call (212) 953-1388 or schedule a consultation online.