Radical honesty to me is kind of a complicated thing.
It means being open and honest 100% about anything that may impact your relationship. It does not mean that one has to volunteer information that is unasked for but also it does not allow for withholding information that may be germane to your relationship.
Let us go through some situations that have come up in my life and others I have known:
You have a mild interest in someone outside of your relationship. There is zero chance that you would act on these feelings and you know in your heart you would not accept advances from this person. Now we have an attraction outside the relationship and that could be very detrimental. Yet the interest is passing and of no consequence. Personally I would withhold said information. There is no need to unnecessarily worry a spouse with such a trivial matter. Unless of course: your spouse asks you outright if you have interest in said person. This is a brilliant opportunity to provide honesty. Just because you think that your BFF’s brother is hot as tamale this is no cause for alarm for your spouse. So what? It is what it is. Everyone has interests outside the relationship. That is natural human curiosity
You have a moderate interest in another person outside your relationship. You have no intention to move on this attraction but you might cave if they made a pass at you. This case it is time to come clean. You have an interest in someone that could potentially consummate. Your spouse needs to know this and as gently as possible. This is not an emergency that needs to be blown out of proportion. This calls for a calm and civil discussion of why there is an interest and how to deal with it maturely.
Any other situations involving interest in another person in a potentially romantic way should obviously be discussed.
Is it ok to lie about diner? No it is not. This small moment is an opportunity to display honesty in the relationship. Besides if you lie and say the lasagna is good when it is not you will be served the same dish sometime in the future.
Is it ok to lie if she asks if her dress makes her ass look fat? This depends on the woman. (he he got to have exceptions to every rule!)
Is it ok to lie about your mate’s friends and family? No, but, be wise and temper your statements with some tact and social grace. You do not want to start a fight and this is delicate territory. Maybe you do not need to bring up that the uncle who shows up every holiday is an ass. But say there is a friend that lives next door you simply cannot stand…Time to fess up, you need space and time away from this person.
Living in a relationship that practices radical honesty requires an agreement between parties to always approach a truth you do not like with dignity and respect. Be honest to a fault as a general rule. But do not go around making a point to talk about every thought or feeling. If there is no chance that something can impact your relationship, then just do not bring it up. If it might have an impact or it will you must communicate truthfully. But keep in mind a poorly spoken truth can get you into almost as much hot water as a devious lie.
I think the key to this is not asking each other questions we do not really want answered.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Radical honesty to me is kind of a complicated thing.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
There's something we practice in this house...and that is radical honesty. Let me first define what that means to me. It's never ever intended in any kind of malice or harmful intent. Radical honesty helps us to truly know and trust that what is said, is what is meant. It is a tool we use to get over rough spots or bumps in the road.
That's not to say it's a tool that should just be jumped into dear friends!!! Oh my no. Trust, real REAL trust must first be established between partners. You must KNOW without a doubt that your mate would not say what he/she/ze is saying if it were not meant and true.
Cyndi and I would have had a much rougher time getting through the initial pain of each other's transition without this level of honesty.
As a spouse of someone who is trans there are worries about other things that might be hiding in the closet. Trust is broken to some degree. Worries about what transition will look like, feel like, what changes will come first? Where will it stop? What about family, work? Ect. ect. ect. The "what-ifs" add up QUICKLY for the spouse of a trans person.
These are often not questions that the trans spouse can answer right off the bat. Often...they don't know either! Practicing radical honesty meant that I could trust Cyndi when she said "I don't know" and mean it. Not worry that there was something behind the words, not worry that she was hiding something from me.
Now..."I don't know" isn't that hard to get out. Some of the things that *I* had to say to *her* were far more painful. They were things I had to get out though. I NEEDED her to hear how much of a struggle this was at first, how much I REALLY don't like change. (yea...go figure) I can't think of any specifics to share with you here; but I do remember about a month into Cyndi's transition there were tears, near break ups, fears, hugs and ALOT of pain.
Yep. All that happened even though *I* am trans as well. Yep. All that happened even though I knew she was trans from the get go. I honestly can not imagine what non trans spouses (who never knew until well into their relationship) go through. I can however, understand that it must be very very difficult.
Radical honesty saved us and repaired trust. Yes, sometimes it really hurts to hear the truth. However...knowing that your mate is speaking their heart in hopes to connect with you further and repair any pains...it's worth it.
Which hurts worse? Ripping a band aid of quickly....or slowly? What does it feel like to wonder if your mate is telling you the truth vs. KNOWING that they're telling the truth, that they mean it and that they're saying what they're saying from a place of love and honesty.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Anyone that's known me for more than five mins knows I'm a bit of a control freak. Like..."Hi...my name is Sevan...and I'm a control freak" kinda thing. It's like that. Or at least...it was.
I don't know if it's transition related, Saturn return related, or just plain growing up. (perhaps a mix of all three?) I just really feel like I'm settling into my stride.
Last weekend was my birthday. I turned 28. I don't feel 28. Heck, sometimes I feel down right in my 70's. Due to only being five months into testosterone I also often feel like a fumbling bumbling teenager. Awkward and unsure.
It's amazing what will happen when you let your true self shine. We keep it in, bottle it up, just sure that no one will accept us. Refuse to come out of the closet, maybe just dress on occasion...hiding in our own shame. For me, I came out of the closet kicking and screaming!! I did. not. want. to. do. this!! Not one bit! I was sure I would be even more ostracized that I already was! I'd have even less friends!!! (which...is pretty difficult to do when certain you have no friends..) Yet the opposite has really been true. As I've been authentic and honest...it's allowed those around me to meet me as their authentic and honest self. And my goodness what a BLESSING!!
This past weekend we did something we never do. (because I never allow it) we took a trip and flew by the seat of our pants. I don't know what stopped me from trying to control the heck out of everything...maybe I was just too darn tired from the culmination of health, work, stress, money, blah, blah, blah...that I just didn't have it in me to control this trip. And THANK GOODNESS I didn't!! We'd planned on leaving home on Saturday morning...but decided last min to leave Friday and spend the night in Seattle. (which is where we were headed)
We packed up, grabbed the dogs and everything they needed and headed off. I text a friend to see if she was available to get together. She was! She even had some floor space we could occupy that night! How awesome!! Previously I would have had a hotel all booked and already paid for...and I would have kicked myself and stewed that someone would offer but I wouldn't have taken it because of money already spent. Not this time though! Cynthia and I hung out and just soaked up the good conversation. Really wonderful. Hanging out with a friend I haven't seen in over a year is just good for the soul.
Cynthia wanted to know what time breakfast would be and when we would leave in the morning to meet up with the person we'd planned this whole trip to see. I blissfully replied that breakfast would be had when everyone was awake, and we'd leave when it was time to leave. How freeing!!
That's exactly what we did too. Lovely. We had lunch with a dear dear friend whom I've never met in person and Cynthia hadn't seen in 12 years! Far too long. We headed back home from there and the energy has just carried me.
There are plenty of things I could stew on, stress about, chew my nails over...but those things will work themselves out whether I stew or not. The funny thing is...I feel more in control than ever! I'm in control of *me*. How I act, and how I react! It wasn't particularly easy to get to this point...and I'm not saying I won't slip back into the "control monster" again...but for now I'm happy to go with the flow and follow bliss.