If the two of you eventually become an exclusive relationship, to make family and friends a regular part of your social circle, and to begin making future plans, you must both be able to share those experiences that are more vulnerable or might require your partner to understand why you act the way you do.
For instance, you could have been raped in the past and certain words and phrases that your partner may innocently say during love-making remind you of that terrible assault?
Or, your dream job might require a lot of traveling and you don’t know how that would affect a family. Perhaps you have a checkered past but are fearful that your partner would not have approved of what you used to be, but have left behind?
Or, you might have given up your faith in a God and fear that your partner’s deep faith would make her no longer trust you?
You might be harboring terrible guilt for something you have done in the past that still haunts you?
Future Experiences Not Yet Known
All people change as they go through life. Old desires and dreams are replaced with new ones. Great relationships are all about new discoveries that can only come from continuous personal transformation. Transformation creates change and change creates new thoughts and feelings.
If you or your partner begin to feel differently about yourselves or the relationship for whatever reasons and do not share those internal changes as they happen, you may lose the bond that keeps you close without even realizing it is happening. You can, seemingly out of nowhere, feel that you have become more like old friends, but no longer as intimately connected.
Many of my patients have told me that they hesitate to “rock the boat” when they’re not sure that what they are thinking and feeling might upend that balance when they are not ready to face those potential consequences. Perhaps their thoughts and feelings are just of the moment or caused by extraneous circumstances that will pass. They make the decision to postpone sharing it in hopes that will happen.
Every intimate relationship is unique unto itself. What, when, and how internal thoughts and feelings are shared must be decided within each partnership. However, it cannot be denied that the level of true intimacy is directly related to the level of transparency and vulnerability any couple shares.
If you are clear about your own motivations when you make the decision to withhold your inner self from your partner, you can begin by honestly answering the following questions:
Am I making this decision to hold on to something that I might lose were I to be honest for my own comfort?
Am I withholding because I truly believe my partner would be unnecessarily harmed were I to tell him or her what I was feeling?
Am I being private or rationalizing secret behavior that my partner would not be able to tolerate?
Is my holding back going to help or hinder the successful future of my relationship?
Would I want my partner to do the same?
Written by Randi Gunther Ph.D. Originally appeared in Psychology Today
When you are thinking to be honest with your partner, think about this – Is it that big of a deal, or is it something your partner definitely deserves to know? Then take the decision about whether you should be completely honest with your partner or not.