“Honesty” in relationships

When we talk about honesty in relationships, it usually refers to what is being said. In this modern age, I think it extends quite a bit further than just that to have a successful relationship. Am I qualified to talk about this? Perhaps. My wife and I had been together since 17 and married for the past 10 years.

Not being honest with each other can result in a constant mental drain in order to maintain appearances. At the very least, it will not be of any benefit to any relationship, if not outright detrimental. In a long term relationship, any deception will eventually break down, hence it is key to bring out the truth sooner or later.

Just an additional note that this will be an article from the perspective of a guy.

Types of Honesty:

[Verbal + Emotional]

Probably the staple of all talk when it comes to honesty. Letting each other know each others’ honest opinions goes a long way. Both positive and negative that is. Knowing what makes the other tick or flip can make a difference between a peaceful day or a tumultuous one, especially when living together.

When it comes down to a conflict of ideas and ideals, go ahead and have a quarrel. Then try to reach a compromise. A quote from “Shrek”…”Better out than in”. Verbal “farts” are better released than left to fester inside. Resentment can build over time if left unchecked. Better the quarrels be small and inconsequential than a big one that causes the end of a relationship. There is also a Chinese saying that goes “Fight at the bed head, make peace at the other end(床头吵架床尾和)”.

[Character]

It is vital that the other half knows exactly what kind of person you are. It might not be something that should be let known in the initial days of dating but it is not something to be hidden either. No one is perfect after all, neither man or woman.

Simply…just be yourself and do not try to be someone you are not. Even if not communicated directly, do not lie. It is fine to let the other person find out slowly about you. I mean that is the whole reason for “dating”. As “Elsa from Frozen” puts it, “You can’t marry someone you just met!” However if a lie is established on day 1, the repercussion of being honest will gradually increase over time. It is far easier to accept a person as is than to correct a misconception later.

Perhaps that is why Hollywood pairings tend not to last long because everyone is used to acting, to be someone they are not. Hardly the best examples for a stable relationship.

The golden question of course is to decide what to do after knowing. For negative traits, I think it basically just comes down to “Can I come to live with that?”. If absolutely not, better to call it quits than have it be something that is a constant fire source (for quarrels) later.

[Olfactory]

Here comes something not often said but yet important. Unless perfume is worn 24/7, it is imperative to like how someone smells. Sweat makes the smell stronger. Sounds gross to like someone’s sweat? Perhaps but nothing new…

Put it this way, a spouse is someone you hug, sleep with, get intimate with. If someone smells repugnant to you, can you even remain physically close? Setting that aside, there is also scientific evidence that smell plays a huge part in selecting a lifelong mate. Plenty of articles out there to support the subject.

Now herein lies the problem. The use of perfumes to mask that smell. One of the many inventions in order to attract a mate. The irony is that it doesn’t help at all to “keep a mate”. Use to have a fling? By all means. Use to find a spouse? Better not.

Case in point, I have a female friend who has an extremely repugnant smell to me. However this did not apply to everyone. She had boyfriends and is now happily married. “One man’s meat is another’s poison” can’t be applied any better. There is no need to tell her this either. Being biologically incompatible doesn’t prevent us from being friends.

[Physical + Genetic]

Probably the #1 criteria to select the other half, be it something conscious or not. Like it or not, that first few seconds will determine a person’s propensity towards the other. As such deception in looks is second nature to any creature.

Look does matter. It is hypocritical to deny this. When we say “looks don’t matter”, it just means that the other person do not have to be the extremely attractive. Being very attractive does have its advantages but looks-wise, all that really matters is that it must be acceptable to the other person in question. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, that’s all. Try not to pay much attention to the “why?” that other people may bring up. Their opinions don’t really matter. What matters is that the people in question have to stare at each others face for a lifetime.

Just as perfumes mask the smell, cosmetics mask the look. That isn’t a big problem actually because cosmetics has to be removed eventually and the real person emerges. Now we don’t really want a nasty surprise when we wake up beside someone whose looks are intolerable. Superficial but human.

Cosmetic surgery masks one’s look permanently. As far as deception goes, that is the ultimate lie about one’s physical appearance. This is a lie that gets unraveled when the children gets born. Then you get this kind of rubbish incident where a man rejects his progeny. Yet who is in the wrong there? South Korea is a hotbed for such incidents given the high rate of surgeries there. As can be inferred, I am not a fan of cosmetic surgery to alter one’s appearance to be more attractive. Constructive surgeries are perfectly fine though in my book.

As an extension, the eventual arrival of genetic editing to achieve an altered appearance will probably raise more than a few eyebrows. With the breakthrough of CRISPR, it now lies on the horizon of possibility. Cosmetic surgery is a lie because the genes never changed and that gets passed on to the next generation. If the genes themselves are altered, technically it is no longer a lie. Is it now acceptable from this perspective? Food for thought…

[Sexual + Kids]

Last but not least, the 3 letter ‘S’ word. I am not going to go into much detail here. Let’s just be honest with our preferences there.

A related note is the ability and willingness to have kids. If this is a big deal to either party, it should be something that is talked over before marriage. Due to widespread pollution, the inability to have kids is getting more common. There is certainly merit for both parties in getting a pre-marital checkup if it might be an issue.


And that is all I have on the subject.

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