Monday, July 2, 2007

When the Truth Comes Out

What do you do when you find out part way into a serious committed relationships that your partner has been holding back some crucial information that you really should have known before you made the commitment (the commitment being getting married, or living together, or what ever signifies commitment to you)?

Perhaps they've revealed that they are bisexual. Or maybe they've told you that they are a cross-dresser. Or perhaps they've just confessed that porn is a major part of their life and they've been watching it all this time behind your back.

There are really only several choices:

  1. Cut your losses and get out
  2. Take the time to really listen to them and find out what this means for your relationship
  3. Jump in with arms wide open and do everything you can to share this with them

Now, of course, not all of these are cut and dry. If there are children involved there will be even more questions to ask but for simplicity's sake, let's pretend that it is just the two of you.

Your first option is cutting your losses. This may be your first reaction, depending on what your partner has just confessed. But don't say anything yet. If you're really, really shocked just tell them you need to take some time to think about it. Then do just that. Think about it. Think about whether or not that changes this person you love. Does it change how they treat you? Does it change the way you see them? Does it make them a different person? Think about how hard it must have been to come to you, how much it must have hurt them to hide it from you, and how desperately they must want to be loved for who they are. Making this decision would mean major changes for both of you. It's not always the best one.

The second option - taking some time to talk it out with them - means hearing their side of the story with as little bias as possible. Listen to how they came to be who they are, why they hid it from you in the first place, why they decided to finally tell you. Ask questions and don't judge. If you judge them without actually listening, you've already left.

The last choice - jumping in, arms open - is not always easier said than done. You may not know everything you think you know about the situation. Keep talking. Talk every single day. Learn more, share more, and find out what is really involved in this little secret. You may not even have to get involved but simply may only need to accept that this is part of who they are.

Everyone has secrets but some are more shocking than others.

There are a few things that will be invaluable to you on your journey no matter which choice you make:

  1. Education - find out as much as you possibly can. Not just from them, but look things up on the Internet, read blogs, read educational material, read research.
  2. Support - find a group of people, whether in real life or on the net, who have gone through a similar situation. Talk to them and be honest with how you feel.
  3. Communication - you need to talk to your partner. Yes, you need to find out how they feel, but share with them how you feel as well. Let them know what questions are going through your head and what you do or don't understand. They'll often be able to answer your questions or point you to a resource that can answer them.
  4. Remembering - remember why you fell in love with them in the first place. Remember all the qualities that make you love them. Remember that you can get through anything - you just have to choose to and you both have to be on the same page.

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