I used to be a huge liar in all my relationships. It wasn't intentional, but I just didn't want to seem like a burden or high maintenance to someone I loved and wanted to love me back. What do you want to eat tonight? Whatever you'd like, babe! What movie do you want to see? Whatever! I don't care!
When all my relationships ended, I wondered why. But I quickly learned not being emotionally authentic is one of the signs your relationship is falling apart. It turned out, being a doormat and people pleasing were causing my relationships' demise. Hiding my true feelings, while having good intentions, just boiled down to me lying to both myself and my partner in our relationship.
But the good news is, if you can identify the behaviors that are derailing the success of your relationship, like subtle lies you may not realize, for example, then maybe you can salvage your relationship before they become huge problems.
1. You Lie About Your Needs, Wants, and Desires
In the words of the Spice Girls, when it comes to your relationship, you gotta "tell me what you want, what you really really want."
"If you truly desire children or marriage (or one or both or neither!) or if you truly desire for your partner to rub your feet after a long day, and you don't share these desires, your relationship cannot sustain over the long term," says Strang. "Why? A relationship thrives when both partners are connected into their true desires and they have then co-created a sacred container in the relationship to share and experience these desires."
If you need something out of your partner, tell them. And they should do the same for you. However, this obviously means you need to be in touch with your own needs first, having the courage and self-awareness to express them out loud. "This requires that each individual is engaged in their own emotional and spiritual development so as to be able to identify what their true desires are, and then, they have worked to be able to easily communicate these desires to their partner, without expectation that they will immediately become fulfilled," she explains.
But, like me, some people can fall into the doormat and people-pleasing zone or expect their partner to be a mindreader.
Strang says, "Unfortunately many people stuff their own desires, even from themselves or worse they expect their partners to just somehow 'magically' know what it is that they desire — whether it's sex or cuddling ... to what they want for dinner. This is a recipe for resentment and lack of fulfillment in any relationship."
2. You Lie About Your Feelings
When we're dating, it's important that we don't hide our faults or diminish our successes to appease someone else. The only way a relationship will ever work is if we present ourselves honestly.
"We could probably sum this up by saying hiding any aspect of who you really are is the biggest killer for any relationship," says Strang. "When we hide who we truly are, we are not allowing for an authentic and deeply enriching relationship experience to occur. What's important here is knowing the balance."
Does that mean being an emotional roller coaster and constantly expressing every feeling that comes to the surface or telling your whole life story on the first date? No. But it is important to find a happy medium where you are sharing the important feelings with your partner.
"Hiding our true feelings is detrimental to our own bodies ... and it's also detrimental to our relationships. However, projectile vomiting our emotions as reactions all over our partner and relationship is also deeply damaging," she continues. "Again, we must be willing to do our emotional and spiritual development work so as to be able to identify our emotions, feel them in a healthy manner and ... clearly communicate this to our partner ... without [projecting or] being in a reactive and hurtful state."
This also includes when you're angry. Safran adds, "Too many women say 'I'm fine' when they really mean that they are upset. If you don't explain your feelings (without being defensive) you run the risk of the relationship not going very far."
I am definitely guilty of the "it's fine" method. And surprisingly, I'm still single. It's fine!
3. You Lie About Emotional Infidelity
Think physical cheating is bad? Well, emotionally cheating is, too.
"More than anything, I see emotional infidelity as the first step toward crumbling a relationship. When we begin ... to give our emotional energy and time to someone we are attracted to outside of our partnership, we are immediately in a state of betrayal of our current partnership," says Strang. "It's important to remember Newton's Third Law of Motion here: For every action we take, there is a corresponding reaction that occurs. Essentially, ... karma is real."
She continues that even if it starts out "innocent," emotional cheating may not always stay just emotional, as this kind of infidelity can make room for future sexual chemistry and potential physical cheating later on.
So if you find yourself hanging out a little too much with your work spouse, think about how your actual IRL partner might feel.
4. You Lie About Your Exes
When it comes to your past, honesty is the best policy. Safran explains that you may be risking your relationship if "you dated someone that they know but you don't disclose it — or any other situation that shows that you are not being truthful about how serious (a past engagement, etc.) a relationship is."
On a first date with a guy I was really connecting with, it came up that he was good friends with one of my exes. I had a moment to either disclose that I had dated his BFF or say nothing until the secret came to the surface — probably awkwardly at a party or drunken night out.
Instead I just decided to say it, and he totally didn't care. Guys don't really care. They just appreciate honesty. Everyone does.
5. You Lie About Whether Or Not You Want To Have Kids
I have a friend who absolutely does not want kids, and she brings it up on the very first date. It's a deal breaker for her, so she wants the people she dates to know, so they don't waste their time.
Safran says this is a good idea. "Maybe you are really on the fence about kids, [or] maybe you only want one kid. If you are not 100 percent in this area, you need to be upfront," she says.
This same idea can go for any kind of relationship deal breakers, whether it be marriage, monogamy, or children.
So when it comes to dating, what you don't know will hurt you in the long run. Remember, honesty is the best policy, and people pleasing never helped anyone, especially your relationship.
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