Hint: they can't love you if they don't truly know you
If you're in a relationship, think back to the first few months together.
And if you're dating, think about what you were like the last time you were getting to know someone (maybe that's happening right now.)
Were you completely honest with your partner?
More specifically, were you upfront about issues from your past ... or did you downplay them (or "forget" to mention them)? I'm talking here about anything from financial trouble to children from previous relationships.
Did you speak up when you disagreed with your partner, or did you just go along with certain things? Maybe your partner wanted to see an action film, and you really can't stand shoot-em up movies. But, you enthusiastically said yes.
When your partner said or did something you didn't like, did you speak up about how uncomfortable you felt?
If you sheepishly had to admit you haven't been completely honest all of the time, you're not alone.
Why We Undermine Parts Of Ourselves To Get Love
I've had couples in therapy—some who have been together for years—ripped apart by confessions. People drop all sorts of bombs after a relationship is "safely" established—everything from jail time, to sexually transmitted diseases, to food preferences.
It all comes down to fear. When things are going well and we really like someone, we're afraid of "rocking the boat" or coming across as high maintenance.
Perhaps we've been burned in a previous relationship by a partner who reacted negatively to our honesty and trust. Or, maybe we think this little thing just won't matter.
But, not being authentic is just a ticking time bomb.
How Dishonesty Backfires
When you aren't straightforward—whether it's covering up something from your past, hiding your true feelings, or downplaying your preferences—you put yourself at a tremendous disadvantage.
By hiding your truth, you prevent the other person from getting to know the real you; thus, you end up spending time with the wrong partners, and you create more problems down the line when the truth does come out.
When couples aren't authentic with each other, they find that they can only play that game for so long.
Sooner or later, they're no longer able to cover up what they're really feeling, and when the truth emerges, they are poorly equipped to cope with it.
The Best Time To Come Clean
The early phase of a relationship is the best time to be completely authentic with your partner.
When a couple is first getting to know each other, positive feelings are abundant, and forgiveness is given generously. There is a high degree of resilience, and it's easier than ever to bounce back from any setbacks.
You might feel that if you're honest, the other person won't like you, but the reality is that the fastest way to find out if the two of you are a good fit is by being exactly who you are.
And the more you disclose about yourself, the more your partner feels safe to do the same. Not only will being authentic ensure that you're each being completely yourselves, but you'll develop those critical conflict resolution skills you'll need later on.
What If You're Already Well Into A Relationship?
It's never too late to practice authenticity with your partner. Make a commitment starting now to be completely transparent about what you're feeling and what you need from each other.
I've witnessed dramatic transformations in couples when they practice "speaking from their truth."
Of course, sensitive areas, such as something traumatic that happened to you as a child, need not be revealed on a first date; these are better off shared once you are comfortable with the person and feel that he will respond with support and caring.
You might feel a little nervous when you start practicing being more authentic, but soon you'll realize that the payoffs—true intimacy, connection, and lasting love—are limitless.
Total, unabashed authenticity is what sets successful couples apart from those that flounder. To learn how to create an unshakeable foundation of honesty in your relationship—whether you're single or you've been with your partner for years—subscribe to Dr. Randi's free e-newsletter. She'll teach you the same techniques and methods she has used with thousands of single and couples so that you, too, can experience the boundless rewards of Heroic Love.