Me: I think honesty is the most important thing in a relationship.
Marvin: No, I think it is Love and Respect. You love someone, you want to forgive them quickly even before they apologize. You love someone, you find it hard to get mad at them. You respect someone, you consider them and their feelings even though you are only responsible for what you do, not how they feel. You love someone, you spend your living days having their back, trying not to hurt them. You love someone, you believe in them until there is a reason to stop believing. I think we lie to ourselves when we say we want honesty. Because we can handle love and respect, but we can never truly handle honesty. We don’t know how. The world we live in is not made for honesty.
Me: I don’t agree with you. I do not kid when I tell you I want honesty. I want to know every grain of truth that there is: about the past, about everything. When I love you, I give you the whole damn truth and I expect the same. I want to know about the girl you kissed, the girl you almost cheated with, the atrocities of your past, everything. When there is honesty, we give ourselves a chance at forgiveness. A chance at new beginnings.
Marvin: Would you really want to know how I kissed that hot girl in my office because you and I were not on talking terms? Would you have the patience to hear about how she kissed me more than I kissed her because the man in me wanted it but the soul in me knew it belonged with you and no other? Would you want to know my loins stirred with lust after I saw some thick set woman walk by? Would you want to know my ex visited and although we didn’t revisit the bed-times, I had wet dreams about her? Would you want to know? Can you handle it?
Me: Yes, I would want to know. And it should not be your business if I can handle it or not. Your responsibility is to be honest, and my responsibility is to make do with that information however best I can process it. If I resolve to forgive you, it will be my prerogative. If I resolve to leave because it is too much for me, then maybe we shouldn’t have been together in the first place. I think people who feel self-righteous about their ability to hide the truth are in fact selfish egoistic bastards. You are not afraid to tell the truth because you are concerned about my well-being, rather you are afraid because you worry about how I will begin to see you and how my feelings for you might change; how you might stop being the guy I love and dote on and start being the one who hurt me, the one who cheated.
Marvin: That is not true… and I am not saying I would not be honest with you, all I am saying is that I think beyond honesty, love and respect are the most important things in a relationship.
Me: All I am saying is if you love me, you will respect me enough to be honest with me; or even better, respect me enough to not do those things you would not have the heart or humor to be honest about.
Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure
Honesty is a double-edged sword, and I think that in all sincerity, there will be times in each person’s life when we will contemplate on the perks of being honest and the perks of keeping our mouths tight shut– because we are humans, and more often than we may wish it happened, we are not always in control of our bodies or the things we do and/or say. We have “wants and desires” and then there is “the way that things should be”, but the path of life is not all rights and lefts, or rights and wrongs, or blacks and whites. Some days don’t come with choices, they impose their will on us and leave us with the torment of whom to tell the story to.
And this is not just about romantic relationships…
Recently, I was honest about something to someone very dear, and (surprisingly or unsurprisingly) I expected to get a certain kind of reaction, which I did not immediately get. I was thinking (quite self-righteously) to myself “I could have lied! I damn well could have lied but I chose to say the truth, so I deserve to be cut some slack” but really? Now, I see that thinking the way I thought then would amount to me trying to rationalize dishonesty, like everyone does it, so why not me?! But of course as we already know, the ubiquitousness of a thing doesn’t redeem it from savagery. It remains what it is!
What do you think? About the role of honesty in romantic relationships, or other relationships for that matter? In light of the abundant ways that people can now cheat (it gets as bad as you cheating and not even knowing that you are), or the fact that, increasingly, it seems as though there is no reward for or gain in being honest. Should we even expect a reward for being honest? Should we spread the dirty linen wide and clear in front of our partner’s eyes, unthinking, uncaring? I think yes, despite the consequences.
But then, it is easier said than done.
© The Short Black Girl, 2017.