Openness and Honesty in Relationships
One of the benefits of being in a committed, long-term relationship is the comfort that comes with being accepted and loved for who you truly are. Having a partner who listens to and tries to understand and empathize with you is key to a successful relationship.
According to eHarmony.com, “intimacy is developed through each person’s ability to be open about how they are feeling and what they want.” Typically, being emotionally open comes more naturally to women, simply because of cultural expectations that women talk more, develop bonds more easily, and are encouraged to show their feelings more frequently than men. It is important for both members of a relationship, however, to feel safe when having conversations that involve sharing feelings, desires, and concerns.
Opening up and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is a scary thing. Partly, this is because you are setting yourself up for potential heartbreak. If you reveal yourself fully to someone, you are giving that person the power to hurt you. Furthermore, a breakup with someone with whom you felt a deep bond, with someone who knew you well, hurts much more than a breakup with someone you didn’t reveal the deepest parts of yourself to. But there’s the rub: in order to have a successful, long-lasting relationship, vulnerability is key. As pointed out by PsychCentral.com, “a willingness to be vulnerable is a significant feature of lasting relationships—ones in which partners are allies, not foes.”
Here are some tips to help encourage honesty and openness in your relationship:
Set Aside Time for Talking
Sometimes, couples fully intend and want to talk about their feelings and open up the lines of communication with one another, but they lead such busy lives that it can be hard to find the time. Choose one night a month to not watch TV, to make a nice dinner, split a bottle of wine, and just give time to one another. Be sure to address any issues you’ve noticed and really talk about how you’re feeling on these mini date nights.
Listening is just as important as sharing. Make it clear to your partner that you want to hear how he or she is feelings. Also, you should be alert for signs of emotional distress so that you’re ready to ask how he or she is feeling, and then really listen to the response.
Explore and Share in the Bedroom
Sex and sexual intimacy are as important as emotional intimacy in relationships. Talking about fantasies, being communicative during and about sex, and being willing to try new things in bed are key features of a healthy sex life. To keep things fresh, why not try role-playing? If not that, how about bringing a toy into the bedroom? In terms of the latter, one reviewer at Adameve.com writes of a couples’ toy, “This was great! My husband and I love this…”. Being open and honest about sex is not only important for the health of your relationship; it’s fun, too!
Though it can be difficult or scary at times, really opening up and being vulnerable with your partner can take your relationship to a whole new level. And if you’ve been together for a long time already, keeping those lines of communication open is key for the maintenance of your already-strong relationship.
Kristin Armstrong is a school teacher and writer who majored in psychology in college. One of her favorite topics to write or talk about is relationships. She has a wonderful husband and a dachshund named Jerry.