Honesty IS the best policy.
Sometimes being yourself is EXHAUSTING.
You get sick of your own voice, the way you dress, your every-day fears and anxieties. That’s why, when we start new relationships, it’s not unusual for people to occasionally want to hide parts of themselves or take on new personality traits to please their new partners.
This can manifest in several different ways in couples when you’re dating. Some are small (you pretend to enjoy sports, you change your look) and some aren’t (you lie about your core values, you copy their opinions about everything).
Yes, being authentic 100% of the time can be a hard thing to accomplish, but our desire to be liked (and loved) by other people can sometimes cause us to reject the most important aspects of our true selves, which, more often than not, is a self-defeating strategy.
Because, believe it or not, authenticity can pay off in BIG ways when it comes to love.
How important is authenticity in romance? Senior VP of YourTango Experts Melanie Gorman sat down with a panel of relationship experts to get their take on the subject. In the above video, Experts Melanie McGrath Knuts, Deni Abbie, Lewis Brown Griggs, and Helen Fisher debate the long-term benefits of “keeping it real” with the people you love.
Here are FIVE of their biggest takeaways:
1. Being authentic should help, not hurt.
Being honest in front of your partner should make your relationship stronger, BUT ask yourself in the moment if being authentic will help or hurt the situation at hand. If letting your significant other know that you’re uber-annoyed will only make things worse, consider whether or not if you need to disclose that. However, if letting your partner know how you’re feeling will help them understand you (and the situation) better, you have to keep it real.
2. Allowing your partner time to be authentic is EVERYTHING.
This is something simple that can have such a major impact on relationships. It’s so important to realize when your partner needs to be given space — to just feel what they’re feeling in the moment. You don’t have to say anything, you don’t need to respond. You just have to grant them the time and the bandwidth to express what they’re feeling. It could be an hour, it could be five minutes. But just giving them that moment to “be real” (and honoring that moment) can exponentially increase the trust and intimacy in your relationship.
3. Not being authentic takes too much energy.
Have you ever had to pretend that you’re interested in a subject you’re not really interested in? Football, ballet, politics — whatever. It’s exhausting, right? The same thing applies to relationships. If you’re spending all of your energy trying to be “perfect” for your partner, rather than just being yourself, eventually, you’re going to burn yourself out. It’s way better to start the relationship from a place of honesty, so you can get a real idea of how much energy your partnership is going to take when you’re not faking it.
4. Being authentic lets you know who you’re taking to.
Ultimately, the goal in any romantic relationship is to connect with the other person as intimately as possible on as many levels as possible. But how can you form a real bond with a person if you’re not showing them the real you? (Or if you don’t get to see their real side either?) When you put yourself out there and allow your significant other to see you, warts and all, you’re opening the door to greater intimacy. Anything else is artificial and it will feel artificial too.
5. The most important person to be authentic with is YOURSELF.
This might sound like an inspirational cat poster slogan, but it’s really true. The only person that you have a responsibility to be 100% real with 100% of the time is yourself. If you’re not honest with yourself first and foremost, you will never be able to successfully communicate your wants, goals, and desires to someone you love. You have to start from a place of honesty with yourself first and go from there.
These are just a few of the insights that YourTango’s Experts break down in the above video. Take a look and see what they have to say about all of the benefits that authenticity can bring to a healthy, loving relationship. They know what they’re talking about.
Keeping it real isn’t always easy, but, when love starts from an honest place, it can last so much longer than you’d ever expect.
If you’re not sure how to be “be yourself” on a relationship (without scaring your partner away), please visit the websites of our panel members and contact Melanie, Deni, Lewis, or Helen directly. They’re here to help.