When to tell the truth, no matter what
THERE are times in your relationship when you are required to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, no matter the consequences. And while the outcome may not always be pleasant, the truth cannot and should not be avoided in circumstances like the ones below.
Tesha Walker-Brown, counselling psychologist, said the truth is necessary to maintain integrity and character, to avoid a guilty conscience, to enable trust, and to avoid being placed in an uncomfortable position.
"Nothing undermines trust as when those you love discover that you have been dishonest with them," she said,
So tell the truth:
1. When the issue concerns health.
In this instance, the truth must be told, as withholding the truth may cause the other person's health to deteriorate, for example in the case of sexually transmitted infections when the other person may need to be treated too. In the case of one partner's long-term illness, telling the truth allows the other person to support the sick partner, and also prepare for the issues that can come with sickness. Many persons think they are protecting their partners by withholding critical health information, but this does nothing but create tension, pain and problems in the long term.
2. When your affair led to children.
If your affair resulted in the birth of a child, your partner needs to know the truth so they can decide how to deal with it. If you have children and are entering a new relationship, the new partner needs to know also so they can decide whether it's a partnership they want. This is not a conversation that should be left for five years down the road when your partner is already invested in the relationship.
3. About how you really feel.
Don't lead someone on just because they may fill a void in your life. Tell the truth about the extent of your love for the person, and risk the consequences. If she is just a fling, let her know, even subtly, that you don't see yourself with her in the long term. If you're just using him for rent money, don't tell him that yes, you'll marry him and have his children. Lying only creates hurt when the other person realises that the relationship was a sham.
4. About the true state of your finances.
If you have credit card debt and student loan debt, it's something your partner should know about before you enter a long-term relationship like marriage. Remember, with marriage, the other person inherits your debt, and it should be up to them to decide whether this is something they want to take on.
5. About past abuse that you got no counselling for.
The effects of past abuse could impact how you deal with life situations you will encounter in your relationship. Your partner needs to know if you were abused as a child, or if you were abused in a past relationship, because the way you react to issues in the relationship may be a direct result of what you endured. Your partner needs to know so they can offer support as well as offer understanding towards your actions.
6. About using contraception.
Even married women are guilty of this one when their spouses aren't ready for children — lying about using contraception. If your spouse says he doesn't want children yet, respect his decision though your biological clock may be ticking. Children aren't pawns, so lying about being on the pill and then fabricating a story about your antibiotics causing the pill to fail, resulting in your pregnancy, is pure dishonesty. If he says he is not ready for a child, you could have problems with him bonding with the child you present to him under false pretences.
7. About a criminal record and other skeletons in the closet.
If you were convicted on a serious charge your spouse needs to know so they can make a decision about your future together. Even if it was a minor offence, the person needs to decide whether it is something they want to deal with. Don't let the issue of your indecent assault conviction come up only when he's filing for you. That's dishonest. Discuss it before you get serious.
8. About your child's paternity.
Local records have shown a high percentage of men who find out, too late, that the children they have been supporting for years aren't theirs. If there is doubt about your child's paternity, you need to let all the parties know. Lying doesn't help the named father, the could-be father, or the child. There could be disastrous emotional consequences for a child who grows up thinking one father is his/hers, then finding out later that he/she was indeed another man's spawn.