Is Honesty Really Always The Best Policy?

January 6, 2014  |  

I am always fascinated by the dynamics around relationships especially romantic ones. I have had my share of scandals and downright craziness and through it all I tried to make the best decisions and remain true to myself regardless of the consequences. But looking back I am not sure if it really was the best idea to come clean about EVERYTHING, I wonder if maybe it pays to keep certain facts to yourself because in the long run, you have to ask yourself are you trying to make yourself feel better or are you being completely honest in order to benefit your partner?

I have a friend who was stuck in a relationship that was going nowhere. She and her boyfriend had been together for 5 years and it was becoming clear to her and the rest of us that they were not heading down the aisle anytime soon, despite the numerous times they had discussed the prospect. She became restless and indulged in a series of affairs. She knew that her boyfriend loved her more than she loved him and most likely was being faithful and respectful of their relationship. She took advantage of that and in the end; she felt an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame. She turned to her friends for advice, she desperately wanted to come clean and confess her sins but she wasn’t sure if her already fragile relationship could survive the betrayal. The consensus was that she seemed to be unfulfilled and her affairs were demonstrative of that fact, so perhaps coming clean would be her way out. She listened to what we had to say, but we all knew that she had already made up her mind even before she sought our counsel. She did divulge all her wrongdoings and her boyfriend was understandably devastated. He had really loved her and despite their challenges, he would have tried to make things work if she had been willing but she was ready to get on with her life without him.

I am friendly with her ex-boyfriend and it was difficult to see him agonizing over the fact that his ex-girlfriend had cheated on him multiple times. It forced me to really step back and ponder whether or not he would have been better off not knowing all the details. Maybe he would have had easier time just accepting the fact that my friend wanted an amicable break up.

When I broke up with my boyfriend a year and a half ago, I had cheated on him twice but I never told him. We had dated for about two years, and even though it wasn’t love at first sight, I grew to love and respect him. But after about a year, my feelings changed and I became susceptible to guys who were eager to give me what I was missing in my relationship. After the first affair, it was easier to jump into the next one but after that ended, I realized that it was time to stop living a lie and come clean. We both talked and acknowledged that it was time to be honest about the fact that we were not invested and ready to move on.

I felt a huge sense of relief that we were both on the same page, but most importantly I was happy that were able to break up and still be friendly without the ugliness of my affairs hanging over us. I just didn’t see the need to torture someone I cared about with needless information.

Do you think that honest is the best policy? I think that it is if you are trying to save your relationship and you truly want to make it work despite the mistakes that have been made. But if you are not willing to stick it out, what’s the point?



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