Honesty and Responsibility

Honesty is an extremely important quality, and it gets expressed in different ways. First, there is telling the truth about our actions and preferences.

  • When Sam says he is committed to a monogamous relationship, Tammy wants to know he is being truthful and intentional about that.
  • When Sara says she is working late, Joe wants to have confidence that she is doing just that.

We certainly can’t trust if we experience a person lying to us.

Another aspect of honesty is telling the truth about what our wants and needs are. Sometimes people learn to hide these under the cover of trying to please others or being more attractive to them. Eventually this catches up with the relationship because the truth comes out but is sown through with seeds of resentment or betrayal.

For instance, Kate made it clear early on that she really wanted children. This was not something Todd cared much about, but he said that kids were a goal for him as well because he was interested in Kate. His ambivalence about children later became evident when Kate wanted to start a family, and he began resisting giving up their independence. She ended up feeling betrayed, resentful, and like she was expected to give up something very important to her.

Over time we learn things about others we are close to, such as their preferences and goals. Paying attention to what we know by considering these things demonstrates our love and caring (see my blog on Expressions of Love).

Since we never know everything about another person, it is important to be open and direct about what we want. This increases the integrity of relationships. We never get 100% of what we want, but when we don’t put it out there, the chances of dissatisfaction grow exponentially. Allowing your partner to know you keeps your relationship growing.

Unfortunately, a common myth is “if he loves me, he should know what will make me happy.” None of us are mind readers. We shouldn’t have to guess at what others want. My idea of what you want may be completely different from your reality just because I’m a different person.

Another viewpoint I consider self-defeating espouses that when you ask for what you want, that makes getting it somehow not as satisfactory. Instead, I see this as beautiful evidence that you are truly important enough for that person to want to please you. Hurray!

Next: Limit Setting





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