At the start of a relationship we all want to present ourselves in the best possible light. And sometimes in order to do this we tell little white lies. One of my favourite bloggers; Natalie Liu recenly wrote on her website Baggage Reclaim, a post titled “Why telling ‘little lies’ can end up mattering in a big way“. In it she explains that these lies are both a judgement against ourselves and and a judgement against the recipient. We judge that the real us is not worthy of being loved and that the person we are telling the lie to does not either deserve the truth or be able to handle it. And often we do it in a moment of panic and generally that lie or lies will come back and bite us in the behind at some point in time. According to Natalie, we justify these lies by consoling ourselves that we will tell them the truth when they come to know the real us…..
So I wanted to find out what happens when you both agree right from the start that you will tell tell each other “the truth and nothing but the whole truth”. This was important to me from the point of view of being my authentic self and the hard won belief that “I was enough”. I had tried this in the past and found the level of honesty required from the other person was too overwhelming an ask and couldn’t be sustained. Most people hide behind a mask and feel uncomfortably exposed without it. They could take the mask off for short periods of time, but anymore than a few weeks was a bridge too far to cross.
Someone came into my life recently. Someone with a past; which is an inevitable fact of life when you are dating in your forties. We all come with various forms of baggage and for two such people to successfully form a long lasting bond, you have to know, understand and assimilate all of the other person’s baggage. If you come across any dark scary parts in their history and decide to leave it untouched, at some point or the other it will come back to haunt you.
Right from the start we agreed that honesty and openness was important to us both and that we would deconstruct the dating process in such a way to make it work for us. I personally hate all the head games people play at the start of a relationship; the waiting x days to call or a y number of minutes before answering a text, the agony of not knowing how the other person feels and trying to guess by dissecting each of the other person’s actions in the hope that they will somehow hold the clue to their feelings. So just being able to make such a proposal and have it received positively meant that we were starting off on the right footing.
This level of extreme honesty takes a lot of courage on both our parts. Each of us has to be entirely comfortable with who we were in the past and who we are today. We each have to allow the other party to make their own judgements about what has been revealed. Nothing is perfect in its entirety and truth telling does have its dark moments. Each of these have to be worked out and we are slowly getting to know the other just that bit more. On the plus side there are also more moments of bliss and contentment and happiness than either of us has ever known before, because there is no drama. There is no tension or stress. Instead calmness and serenity reign.
We both realise and accept that we are imperfect beings. However there is hope in the realisation that maybe just maybe, we are perfect for each other and that all the dramas of our collective pasts were lessons we needed to learn to get to this point in our lives……….