There was a day where I met my boyfriend at the rock climbing gym, like many days before. This day was slightly different, though. He was acting strange and made mention he had something to tell me. Whatever it was, clearly it was upsetting to him. He didn’t want to speak until we left and we could be alone. After an hour or so of climbing,we were walking alone to our cars. It was then he laid the big secret on me.
He had Googled his ex-girlfriend.
This is my blog, not his, so I don’t feel it’s my place to say much about his ex. it is sufficient to say they had a long, close relationship, the ending of which hurt my boyfriend deeply. Head hanging low in shame, he admitted he may have gotten a little bit drunk the night before and given in to his curiosity.
I didn’t laugh, but a part of me wanted to. What was the big deal about Googling his ex? What did it matter. She was years in his past and I had no doubt of his love for me. It was cute, in a way, that he felt obligated to tell me this, though.
I’ve pondered this interaction multiple times and only recently have realized its significance. Sure, when he told me about this search is was a trivial thing. However, had he hid this search from me and I found out later, it could have been a very big deal. Why would he be looking in on his ex – and without telling me? Perhaps a rift would have been created. At the very least, a little bit of trust would have been lost. This is because that small interaction was about far more than a Google search.
Had he made a point to hide the search from me, it would have been akin to deception. Why should he have the need to deliberately hide something like that? The only answers I can come up with are that he is too afraid of my reaction to be honest with me (not a good sign for a relationship) or that he isn’t fully committed to the relationship (definitely not a good sign for a relationship). Keeping something simple like that hidden is a sign of our trust. Either he can’t trust me or I can’t trust him. That is the big deal that would have risen to the surface had I discovered he had Googled his ex and keeping it from me.
Just as there was a lot that could have been said if he deliberately keep this search from me, the was a lot said in that he went out of his way to tell me. Through his short speech, it was obvious he wasn’t sure of my reaction. Would I get angry? Would this be a last straw that resulted in us going our separate ways? Reflecting back on that moment, what stands out more than anything else is the respect he had for me in that moment. Maybe what he had to say would hurt me. Maybe he would lose me. Still, he respected me and believed I deserved to know. If that knowledge ended our relationship, then that’s what needed to happen. He didn’t want to hide anything from me.
Our world is full issues that set emotions on fire more because of the deception than the issue itself. Much of the time, what happened takes a back seat to the meaning behind hiding the event. Take Bill Clinton‘s infidelity. Sure, no one would have been happy that he cheated on his wife, but the fact he did took a back seat to the much bigger offense. He lied. The same can be said for the Catholic Church. If they had been honest about the abuse going on and reported it to the authorities, less pain would have been spread and the church may not have the reputation it does today.
Both Bill and the Church lost a lot of the public’s trust through their deception. While no one would have been happy had they been honest, that honesty could have actually bonded them to the public. Honesty from the start may have helped people trust their words when they said they were sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again.
Whether it’s a personal relationship or a larger one with the public, being honest from the start could be a deceptive strategy to get people to believe you when you lie about not doing what ever you did again, but that rarely happens. The only place I have ever heard that being common is abusive relationships, where one person abuses the other, admits their offense and promises never to do it again, only to do it again a short time later.
Why is that the only case I can think of? Maybe I’m being too hard. Admitting you Googled your ex to your current partner is pretty small compared to any other issue I’ve mentioned. Still, it seems like immediate honesty would be the best solution. It seems to me, when people come out and admit their wrong before anyone else finds out about it have an easier time overcoming their offense. So why do so few people in the public eye take that course of action? Is there something in our society, or maybe our biology, that makes us want to hide?
Has your partner ever admitted something to you they were ashamed of, but felt you needed to know? How did their confession effect your relationship? Why does it appear people are more likely to hide their offenses than admit them? Is that a façade of the media, or do most people really hide like that?
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