How honest are you with your partner?

I don’ t mean whether or not you cheat or lie. (If you do, stop it!)

I mean about your insecurities. Do you you hide behind thinly disguised claims of personal preference?

For example, if you are socially awkward, do you tell your partner you prefer books to being at a social event? If you are unhappy with your body do you claim to hate the beach or being out in the sun just to avoid wearing a swimsuit in public? If you’ve never played sports, do you claim to hate physical exertion?

And if you have or still do make these claims, does your partner try to draw you out and get you to admit and face your insecurities?

How about those of you who have a partner that avoids things… do you try to get them to admit and face their insecurities?

Has it worked? Has it blown up in your face? Is it ever a good idea to try to do?

Married 20 years, and I don’t think it’s possible to hide some of the things you bring up here if you’ve lived with someone that long.

I’d advise that you know your partner better, then try and figure if you should or shouldn’t start challenging them on their insecurities.

What does “knowing them better” mean? Can you be more specific?


If I were dating someone who claimed any of the preferences mentioned in the OP my immediate first question would be “why” (hates the beach? hates physical exertion??), but I wouldn’t press any issues – I work on the assumption that people are being honest with me. Bites me in the ass sometimes, but I can’t imagine approaching a relationship any other way. I also don’t see myself as anyone’s shrink: if his insecurities affect the relationship I’ll have a choice to make, but otherwise it’s not my place to make him confront or face up to anything. I sort of resent that role, actually.

I never lie about what I like and don’t like, but I do hide most of my insecurities. I think everyone does that. My first boyfriend mentally messed with me so I have a lot of issues about relationships, but this one seems to be going well. He knows he’s got a damaged product and he likes it anyway. :slight_smile:


But what if it’s clear they are not being honest with your (or themselves to some degree)?

I hear you on the shrink part and I loath the idea of it as well. But isn’t it important, at a certain point into a relationship, to sort of begin to admit a few key insecurities to each other and see how that goes? Particularly when one partner has already revealed some key things about themselves which should absolutely resonate with the other.

What if you already had come to blows over the same issues and the person has come back into your life because there are many other things you both really love and respect about eachother, but you continue to come to a crossroads about this handful of insecurity issues? Ones you absolutely have intimte knowledge of from personal experience and have overcome yourself and can help if they’d just drop the fake veneer and be open with you.

I’m not sure I understand the difference here. If you’re socially awkward, wouldn’t you *actually * prefer a book to a social event? Likewise with the other issues.

Not everything needs fixing, and as a rule, wanting to change your partner isn’t a good thing. I kind of see what you’re getting at about admitting to insecurities, by why do *you * need your parter to do that? If it doesn’t actually make him/her feel better, then was the aha! moment worth it?

That’s a good question. I’m hoping to figure out the answer to that as well.

I’ve got this idea that if I see something is broken, I want to fix it. Not because I’m such a perfectionist but mostly because I’m a fixer. And if I can’t fix something, I at least want to openly admit that it’s imperfect and lets examine it closely and laugh (or commissirate …sp?.. about it) and at least lets not leave it become this taboo thing we talk around or not mention while it crusher the furniture in the room.

I used to play these kinds of games a lot. And IMO, games is what they are. Playing coy, or pretending you don’t like something when you’re just embarrassed or whatever.

Now we’ve become almost completely honest with each other. I say almost because I don’t believe two people ever can or should be 100% knowing of each other, but I’ll come right out and say what I feel, and so will he.

It’s been enough years by now I should think. And he’s always been uber laid-back which helps. I mean he may find something silly or stupid and it’s not that he doesn’t tell me but you can tell he doesn’t mean anything personal by it. He has the attitude of “it may be silly to me but if it’s important to you…”

I don’t know if I’m rambling really, so I’ll shut up now. I’m not sure how clear this was.

You’ve touched on the behaviour Anaamika. It’s a coyness and wryness that expresses the emotion in such an oblique way that it smacks of emotional and intellectual dishonesty. I don’t think it’s deliberate in the sense that it’s meant to deceive but it’s dishonest in the way that it’s all but said (in less than as many words), but when you offer to discuss it, defenses are immediately raised.

For example, if one person suggest a bike ride. Not a race but a leisurely bike ride down a boardwalk or around the neighbourhood. The other person, says no, it’s too hot or that they don’t look good in a helmet. Once it’s funny. The second time it’s puzzling. The third, fouth and fifth time with a different excuse, it’s just strange. In the end, it comes out that the person refusing to ride has never learner how to ride a bike. (!)

Really?! Is that all it is? That’s so totally NOT a big deal! I’ll teach you, if you want to learn. We’ll go out and get a cool cruiser with flames painted on the side and white wall tires and I’ll teach you how to ride in the back of a parking lot ad dusk where no-one will see. It’ll be our secret and something we share for years to come. All you had to do was tell me from the start instead of making me guess and wonder if you were traumatized as a child.

The thing is, what happens if you were traumatized as a child? :slight_smile: I say it off-handedly, but I know the reason I was passive-aggressive is because I was made that way by my parents.

Answering my own question:

Well, then you do what you suggested, Quickie - get out the cruiser with the flames. And patiently teach them. I don’t have any qualms in admitting that for a long time my SO was a father figure, too, since mine was so severely lacking in skills like these. I like to think I’ve grown out of it now, and am no longer PA, and he agrees I’ve rather matured.

Now sometimes it’s because of past events. Like, every time you tried something new, your parents ripped you to shreds. But sometimes it does stem from dishonesty, where you don’t want to do [whatever] so you go out of your way to prevent the other from doing it, too. The first one can, and should be, healed. The second one? Should be but probably won’t be.

See my response (below) to your bike-riding example…

The insecurities I have wouldn’t come up until “a certain point” in the first place. And there’s a difference between sharing an insecurity and no longer lying about it – the lying should never happen.

It’s still not my problem. If the other person isn’t willing to admit/tackle their insecurities, it’s not my job to make them.

Let’s take the example you provide:

In this example, I’d keep proposing solutions to the person’s “problem” – we’ll bike in the shade, I bet you look sexy in a helmet, etc. Soon it will become clear that they’re objecting for some other reason entirely, and it will be annoying but I won’t see it as my job to get to the truth or make them deal with their issue. If it happens repeatedly, however, it will make me re-evaluate the relationship and whether I can be with someone so insecure.

My mother pulls this shit all the time: I ask her about going up to NJ to visit family at Christmas, and she says no because she doesn’t want to drive in the dark. I tell her that either my cousins or I will drive her wherever she needs to go, and she comes up with another excuse. After three excuses it’s pretty clear she just doesn’t want to go but thinks it’ll sound bad if she says so. It pisses me off (just be HONEST, dammit, and don’t waste my time!), but I don’t call her on it or press the issue or anything. It’s her neurosis. Unfortunately, I can’t break up with her. :wink:

I’ll agree with you on the book thing, but not the others: I’m unhappy with my body but I love the beach and being in the sun, and would never claim otherwise. I’d still try to avoid wearing the bathing suit, but I’d be honest about my reason why. Same with the sports thing – I’m inexperienced and uncoordinated, so a game of, say, touch football might not be my first choice for a weekend activity, but I won’t make up some cover story about why. (And only the world’s laziest person would claim to hate physical exertion!)

Thanks for you take on it Anaamika, but it doesn’t really feel like a P/A thing. I think there is a genuine desire to be accepted, insecurities and all. Which is not a bad thing to want. On the other hand, maybe I’m not the right person to coddle some insecurities in the manner that would be right for her. Like I said, I’m a see it/fix it sort of guy. Or at least talk about it and get at the source of the insecurity. Hell, an outright admission would even be nice at this point.

On the other hand, I am beating myself up about it as well. Feeling pretty terrible about myself that I have this need (?) to pick a scab to see what’s underneath. I do this in my own life to myself all the time. Of course, that’s me and that’s fine. But not all people work that way. I just can’t seem to keep that limitation in mind or know if that is something I can reconcile myself to/with.

In my head it’s a constant tug of war. On the one hand, people ought not be required to do what they don’t want to do. On the other… <anecdotal - not you specifically, lol>: I know you don’t think your legs are long or shapely enough to wear shorts but they really are not as bad as you think and all you’d have to do is let me suggest a training program and I promise you will feel a million times better about your legs and yourself in no time. And then you will let me take you out and show you off because I’m proud of you and I think you’re beautiful and so will everyone else. But not if you just gripe how there are no long pants in the store this season and how it all sucks and how you like to live in doors all summer… and anyway, only teenage girls should wear shorts and skirts.

Oh, sorry, Quickie. I didn’t mean yours was P/A, just musing on other types.

I’m brutally honest about my insecurities. But then, I don’t much care what my current partner thinks of me–I am who and what I am. And I’ve long since given up trying to “help her to help herself” because she guards her insecurities like a rotweiler would guard a roast. The best approach to date has been to just leave her alone with ehr insecurities and pay attention to what interests me.

Yeah…my relationship is broken, but I would still adopt the same approach for someone I cared about. You say you don’t like the beach? I guess you don’t like the beach. And if there are enough differences between us that we end up not hanging out together very much then it’s time for some re-evaluating.

My dad used to tell me: “You can’t make someone be you. They are who they are and if you don’t like who they are, be around someone you like.”

Marry me, you handsome devil! :smiley:

No, I know you didn’t. But it was worth considering as a possible issue. So, thanks.

Same here, but the thing is, if at some point the discomfort with the bathing suit actually overshadows the love of the beach, then is the person really lying?

Really, why not just let it go? What *is * this desire to be completely honest and open about things that don’t really matter, even at the expense of your partner’s comfort? Honesty is a lovely thought and a noble ideal, but let’s pick our battles, shall we? Obviously, we should be honest about the big things, the things that affect our partners. But IMO there’s no need to do the “let’s expose our damaged souls” crap if someone isn’t comfortable with it.

There’s a fine line between wanting to get to know me, and disrespecting my boundaries. Some things are mine.

Things that *don’t really matter * to whom?

If we’re talking about irrational fears of spiders and paper clips, then I agree. I’ll stomp the spider and buy a stapler. We don’t need to enter therapy about things like that.

But if you’re afraid of water and I’ve told you I’m an avid sailor, don’t start telling me you hate being damp or don’t like wind when you’re real fear is the water itself.

Who cares *why * she doesn’t want to go into the water? It would be nice if she told you, but knowing why doesn’t actually change anything. She doesn’t want to go in the water. You simply have to decide whether or not you can live with that.