Handling The Truth About Relationships
Is All About Handling The Truth About Human Beings
By Frank Kermit
When someone asks to learn the single most important thing that I can think of that would ensure they have the best chance of making long term relationships succeed, time and again, when going through the practice of relationship coaching, that single most important element that keeps coming up is A Persons Ability To Handle Truth.
The willingness to listen to the truth about your relationship situation and handling the truth in a mature and reasonable manner can be the key difference between a long term marriage-‘til-death-do-you-part or a quickie-divorce. It is that key.
Kermit's Rule of Honesty is that people will only tend to be as honest with you as much as you give the image of what you can handle. If you present yourself as someone that will not be able to handle the truth, or you have a reputation of freaking out when you hear a truth that you do not like, it is pretty well guaranteed that you have taught the people around you that it is in their best interest, and yours, for them to lie to you when they can.
During my own personal development, something that I learned when I wanted to encourage honesty from others is that I taught myself how to handle truth. Meaning, that regardless of how bad the news, I would hold off acting on any emotion until I could be alone later. So when I get told really shocking news, I do withdraw, but I do not act out and explode. This has been KEY in getting people to talk to me with their truths. I don't promise not to get mad, I just promise not to act on that anger right away. I control the behavior, not the emotion. It has strengthened my connections with others.
Succeeding at making long term relationships work can depend greatly on being the kind of person that people felt they could be completely honest about regarding their secrets, their vulnerabilities and their sexual histories. If you can make people feel that safe with you, then you will always be in a position to know the truth of your relationship situation, and that is what puts you in control of being able to manage your relationships, and the potential threats to it.
You can never allow yourself to be in the position to fear truth. When it comes to the truth about your relationship, you simply must learn to handle things that you likely would rather not want to hear.
For example, a truth in relationships that most people would rather not acknowledge is that even if you are happily involved with someone in a serious and exclusive relationship, you are STILL going to be attracted to other people. It has NOTHING to do with how much the partners love each other. It has nothing to do with how the partners treat one another. It only has to do with basic sexual orientation. If a person had the capacity to feel attracted to and/or fall in love with a human being once, they will likely do so again and again, no matter what they have committed too. To be clear, we are talking about how you do not control how you feel (attraction for another person that is not your partner) which is a completely separate issue from acting on that attraction if you have made a commitment not to act on them.
Now, let’s take that example and see what is the real dangerous.
Some people feel that expressing to your partner that you are attracted to another person is a direct threat to that relationship. Actually, it is not. It is just a truth about your relationship. The FEAR of expressing yourself to your partner, or the fear of your partner expressing a truth to you, is the real threat to your relationship. It is those couples that understand that knowing the truth, no matter how much it can ding the ego, is always the best means of helping to preserve the relationship, that have the best chance of lasting through the rough times together.
Relationship Skills Mastery, at its core, is the embracement of the full truth about your partner and yourself. Relationships based on intellectual constructs and ideals, which prevent couples from being completely honest with each other about how they are feeling, is the real danger. It is in those omissions of truth that the cracks in the foundations of the trust that is the basis of a relationship may start the tower of love to crumble.
Although many people claim they want a partner who will be honest, a number of those same people simply cannot handle a partner being honest. (How often do you actually tell a partner if that outfit makes them look fat?). Don't ask for the truth if you cannot handle it. If you really want honesty, be strong enough to take it. This is the real world. There is no having it both ways. If you ask for honesty but you react out of control, like you cannot handle honesty well, you are going to train everyone to start lying to you. Sorry, but you need to keep things in perspective. If you are losing yourself in your rage, you will destroy everything you love.