by Jessie Leon
This past weekend, I was at a get-together that my boyfriend hosted for a group of people we met at a consciousness hiking event. We were in his backyard, playing music, eating food, and talking about mindfulness, our fears, and how to show up in life as our authentic selves. The topic of honesty in the context of dating came up in a conversation I had with one of the younger men, Andrew, who has such a powerful presence that he can look through you with a gaze that is nearly hypnotic.
“Are you dating anyone?” I asked him.
“You already know that I recently started seeing Jane. She’s going to stop by later. But I don’t want to hurt her. I still have feelings for my ex, and there’s no way Jane could handle hearing that truth. I’m not ready for a relationship, so I just guess I’m just figuring things out.” He sank in his chair and covered his face with one hand, ashamed to admit the truth to even me, someone he just met.
“Why can’t you be honest with her? How do you know she can’t handle it?”
“No one wants to hear the truth when it hurts.” I understood his thinking, as it is a common belief in our current paradigm of dating: that there are things we can share with our partners and things we must keep to ourselves, because somehow, we believe that it will spare them of pain, and that is our job. Still, when we consider the pursuit of living an authentic life, one in which we are self-aware, either through the practice of mediation, or following a path that leads to a deeper understanding of ourselves, that despite all of our inner-work, despite our breakthroughs and emotional clearings, we still have fears of showing up authentically, of saying the ugly truths, the ones we deem as too much for our partner. I believed this for a long time, that if I felt something that might be hurtful to someone I was dating, such as an attraction to another person, or a fearful thought, I should keep it to myself; and that was part of love: filtering the thoughts and emotions I could present to another.
Why do we believe that dishonesty, or a mere omission of the truth, would serve our partner? One reason is that we have a strong fear of loss. We are afraid of losing love, and so rather than working through problems that being 100 percent honest would present, we pretend we’re not there. We tell ourselves that it is our partner’s best interest that we are taking into consideration: I don’t want to hurt him or her. The truth is, we want to protect ourselves from the pain that saying the truth aloud my bring: our partners may think of us differently; their opinions of us could change; the foundation on which we built our love might not stand the test of the truth.
I have a friend who met his wife when he was a teenager in high school. He loves her a tremendous amount, and yet he had strong desires to be with other women because of his limited sexual experience. Rather than communicating this truth, one that certainly would hurt her, and working through it, he chose to keep it to himself. Eventually, he did cheat on her, multiple times, which he then felt guilty about. Their foundation of their relationship is now one of dishonesty and guilt. The one person with whom, theoretically, he should be able to show up authentically and express his true feelings, he can’t. Instead, he is acting out of an unconscious belief that truth is something to hide, particularly when interacting with our significant others.
Do we have to be completely honest? What about in situations that are not as extreme as cheating on our partner? Can we tell our partner that we are attracted to someone else? That we are feeling dissatisfied in one area in our relationship? That we have fears of commitment? That we feel the urge to pull away and resistance is coming up in us, or we have desires they may not be comfortable fulfilling?
Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, two leaders in the area of consciousness and relationships advocate communicating with unabashed honesty in Lasting Love: The 5 Secrets of Growing a Vital, Conscious Relationship, “Relationships flourish in an atmosphere of emotional transparency, especially when both people speak clearly about the deeper emotions such as fear, sadness and longing.” In order to develop an emotionally healthy relationship, one in which we can show up authentically and consciously, we must be radically honest. We must express our loving thoughts, as well as the ones we have that are rooted in fear.
Over the past eleven months of dating my boyfriend, he has expressed desires of being with other women, along with his deep fear of commitment and monogamy; we even needed to separate for a few weeks two work through our fears independent of the relationship. Still, even though I experienced pain hearing his truths, we worked through each one, our relationship deepening, along with our commitment to healing, consciousness, and truth. Each time he expressed a fear and we worked through it, it brought us closer together, allowing me to trust him because I know there’s nothing he feels like he can’t tell me. He has more integrity than anyone I’ve ever known, and as a result, not only do I feel safe and am more willing to be vulnerable, but also, it makes me want to show up authentically honest. His commitment to radical honesty is liberating insofar as it gives me permission to feel, say, or express anything to him.
It is healing to know that we can say anything to our partners: the good, the bad, and what we think will be hurtful. Love allows everything. Love is not just about showing the beautiful parts of ourselves, but also about expressing our fears for the purpose of transmuting them. Being radically honest allows for the cultivation of trust, true union, and it asks us to seek out the tiniest dishonest parts of ourselves that our ego wants to withhold from our partner. Our ex texts us, and we wonder if we have to share that information. We’re dating multiple people, and we respond with a white lie when one them asks us what we’re doing that evening. We find ourselves putting on lipstick when we see our coworker because we want him to find us attractive, even though we’re in a relationship. These are the slippery behaviors and thoughts we keep from others when we are dating unconsciously. They seem trivial, but they drive an energetic wedge between us and our partners; dishonesty is the breeding ground of unconsciousness.
Whereas a conscious relationship-one in which both partners show up committed to radical honesty for the purpose of cultivating authentic power-is a means of healing because it embraces every fear, thought, and every part of ourselves. It requires incredible emotional fortitude and self-awareness, but also, it is the only way to open ourselves up to true healing and union. It’s not enough to share our bodies, we must share our minds, emotions, and spirit. Conscious dating means we show everything, we say everything, and in turn, we receive the whole enchilada – honesty, love, and the ability to cultivate authentic power with a someone committed to conscious love.
About the author:
Jessie Leon is a metaphysical writer and blogger. She shares stories about spirituality and dating on her website www.rebelhippiesoul.com