Honesty and openness are important in any relationship—to get to know one another, to build trust in the relationship, etc. But are there times when too much honesty can hurt the relationship?
In a recent study, 104 young men and women (mean age = 20) in romantic relationships (average about 1 year) were asked to "list all the topics they avoided in their romantic relationship" (Anderson, Kunkel, & Dennis, 2010). Commonly avoided topics included:
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1) Past relationships—including details about past sexual experiences (38%)
2) Controversial topics—like religion and politics (16%)
3) Relationship norms—like comfort with public displays of affection (13%)
4) Activities outside the relationship—any activity not involving the partner (13%)
5) The state of the relationship—where is this relationship headed? (11%)
Given that past relationships and past sexual experiences were at the top of the list, participants were also asked what reasons they had for avoiding that topic. Reasons were similar for men and women, and included explanations like…
To read the explanations, and find out how discussing difficult subjects can help your relationship, see eHarmony: Relationship Taboos: Are Some Topics Too Personal To Discuss?
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Written by Dr. Erina Lee for eHarmony.