Honesty is always the best policy to employ in all relationships. If you desire for your relationship to have staying power, then you need to be completely truthful with your partner. It’s vital for you to inform your partner about past and present phenomena that are important for him or her to know. You have to place enough trust in the power of your relationship to handle frank discourses. Your partner should be happy that you’re willing to disclose with him or her things that you could have kept secret.
One couple I know has some secrets that would certainly shatter the relationship if they surfaced. The woman has slept with her partner’s “good friend.” The “good friend,” who is a secretive person himself, refuses to inform the guy that he has had sex with his girlfriend. A relationship like this one is doomed to fail.
Unfortunately, some people are so desperate to be in and/or stay in relationships that they’re willing to live with lies.
It’s always best to inform your partner as early as possible about things you believe may potentially cause problems or challenges in your relationship. By addressing phenomena that can be problematic for the relationship early on, this can build strength in the relationship. It can also determine if those are things that will permit the relationship to continue, which is essential to resolve before the relationship gets too serious.
While I’m not advocating for you to become a private investigator, I do contend that it’s crucial for you to do your own research on those you wish to involve yourself with and those you’re involved with. Yes, people can change. You may not, however, be able to stand being in a relationship with a person if you know some of the things he or she has done in the past. While we should not hold everything in a person’s past against him or her, one does need to make the most informed decision about entering into a relationship with an individual. The most informed decision can only emerge when the proper research has been done on your potential or current partner. For example, I know someone who is in a relationship with a woman who has slept with at least one guy who is highly sexually active and who engages frequently in risky sexual behavior, but she has not told her current partner about this. She’s unfairly exposing her current partner to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
If you know the secrets that a family member’s partner or friend’s partner aren’t divulging, then I do want to prepare you for the possibility that he or she will not believe you. He or she may attack you by saying, “You just want me,” “You’re just envious,” “You’re just a liar,” “You just want him,” “You just want her,” or etc. If you feel the need to tell your family member or friend, just know that you’re doing the right thing.
Just remember, secrets always have a way of coming out.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison