October 25, 2015

Half-truths in Relationships & How to Move Past Them.


Oh, You Forgot that Part of the Story.

Someone I love didn’t lie to me. Someone I love told me the truth, they just didn’t tell me all of it.

Not until now, that is.

It is safe to say, we all run into situations that look like this, or at least feel like this. How they end, though, is something we have a say in. Let’s backtrack to last night…

There are many things in this instance that go-kart around my head. The fumes fall down into my stomach, making me feel exceptionally sick, and at the same time leave me gasping for air and voice.

Go-karting turns into bumper cars and my head is beginning to hurt. And every time the cars collide they explode with questions as to how and why. This pain breaks through the threshold and tears being to form in my eyes and pour out in waves of self-doubt.

Is it me? Why did you hold this from me? Why haven’t you told me until now? Why do you feel the need, when I am here? Because I am, I am here.

My head is thrashing between the irrational and rational—the emotional victim and the rational warrior. How could you do this to me?

The person and the half-truth at hand will go unnamed, because the aim of sharing is not to air out dirty laundry. Instead, it’s a portal of communication and a widening of the gap between misunderstandings. This person didn’t do it to hurt me.

Now I sit here as our hearts gush open and our eyes maintain their deep gaze. I feel the emotional and the rational battling each other in my thoughts. How do I respond to this unfolding of events?

Lashing out with hateful words will not do. My father always told me that “two wrongs do not make a right,” and that I hold to be true. In most instances, words of hate and blame are just reflections of the immediate hurt we feel in instances such as these. But negative words tend to make things worse, and situations that could have been saved become damaged beyond repair.

Instead, I start with deep breaths and a few short words: “I am not angry, but I am hurt.” After the next deep breath I follow up with, “I just need a few seconds to gather my thoughts.”

We all know that communication is key to any lasting relationship, and no matter how hurt, angry or grief-stricken we become this rule still applies. Yes, it’s not always comfortable or deserved, but as the cliché goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and this situation is a case in point.

I gather my thoughts and I begin to speak. I wear my vulnerability and broken heart on my snotted sleeve, “Is it something I did, is there a reason you felt you couldn’t tell me?”

Honesty goes both ways, and at this point I am hoping they respond honestly. The worst thing we can do is blame ourselves. In most cases, we like to believe that we are the sun, and that the earth revolves around us—but in 99 percent of the cases this is not true. However, these thoughts cross all of our minds: “Was it something I did, something I said or didn’t say?” It is best to get these thoughts out of the way immediately. Once a response is given, believe it. If later it is found to be a lie, then maybe there are problems bigger than a half-truth. In the meantime, give them the benefit of the doubt, regardless of the situation.

I wait patiently for a response. I keep calm, and give this person a hug. I want them to know it’s okay, I want them to know that we are all human, and that we all make mistakes. After receiving an answer, I question further—I wanted details.

Details can be a slippery slope. In this instance, details are what help me put the missing puzzle pieces in place. But beware, these things can leave an awful taste in your mouth and a rock in your stomach. Ask yourself how much the details mean in the situation—will they do more harm than good?

As the details spill out, my sobbing becomes a little less controlled. I am letting out my pain, I am letting out my hurt.

Don’t be afraid to cry, don’t be afraid to say that you are angry. It is important to let all of those feelings go, because they need to go somewhere. Anything left inside inevitably begins to rot, and that in the end only hurts us more. Let your emotions free, just do it respectfully.

My tears are subsiding and I am beginning to feel better. It feels good to talk about it, to air out our stinky socks. It feels good to say thank you for this talk, to say it’s okay and I forgive you.

It is important to switch the point of view in any argument, disagreement or uncomfortable conversation. How does the other person feel? Why do we think he/she kept this from us? I truly believe that all human beings are doing their best in their current state of mind, and that in almost all cases, we don’t intend to be antagonistic demons.

Behind every face is a reason, a glimmer of consequences and scars left behind by the past. In such events, empathy is crucial in dissolving misunderstanding.

Our conversation is finished and we agree to put it behind us. We hug a final time and then we let it go.

We start from scratch, but we start it a couple steps ahead. Our trust in each other was strengthened, and our future in this world brighter. A lie, a half-truth, does not have to end miserably—it can be a platform from which honesty can shine and growth can occur.

We breathe deep and let out a sigh.Our love grew whole lot deeper today.


Author: Megan Stubbe Teglbjærg

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Hernan Pinera/Flickr

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