Speaking Your Truth to Your Partner
By Margaret Paul 23 Comments
Mark sought my help because he was thinking of leaving his wife, Linda. He had not been feeling in love with Linda for
a long time, but they had two children and he really didn't want to break up the family.
"Mark," I asked, "Were you ever in love with Linda?"
"Yes, at the beginning of our relationship."
"Then what happened?"
"Linda seemed to get really insecure once I started my new business and had long work days. Even though I think I gave
her a lot of attention on the weekends, she started getting angry pretty much every day. Then after our son was born, she seemed even more unhappy and irritable. She gets mean
when she's angry and I just don't find that appealing. I don't feel close to her anymore."
"Have you said anything to her about this?" I asked.
"No," he replied. "She already seems so unhappy. I don't want to hurt her feelings."
"So how do you handle it?"
"I guess I just sort of shut down and pretend that everything is okay. But I'm spending more and more time at work because I don't like being at home and recently I met
another woman that I'm attracted to. I realize I've got to do something about this."
"Do you really think that leaving her will cause less hurt than telling her your truth?"
"Well, if I just leave then I don't have to deal with her hurt."
"Mark, that's a lack of courage and integrity. And you have two children to think about. You once loved Linda and it's
possible that you could again, but only if you are willing to be honest. You need to give Linda a chance to deal with this. She has no idea what's going on. She might decide to
deal with her anger, or she might not, but at least give her a chance to make that decision. And relationship problems are never one-sided. Perhaps she has things to say to you too."
Mark decided to tell Linda the truth, even though he was really scared. He told her that her anger was pushing him away, and that he didn't like being home anymore because he
felt so blamed and controlled by her. He told her that he was attracted to another woman who was treating him with kindness and caring, and that he wanted this from Linda. He told her he had been thinking of leaving and had sought my
help and that I told him to tell the truth. He asked her if she would join him in counseling.
Linda was shocked. She had no idea all this was going on
with Mark. She thought she was the only one feeling so
unloved in the relationship. At first she reacted exactly as
Mark feared, with anger, hurt, and blame. But he told her
the truth about this too ' that he had been afraid to be
truthful with her because of this reaction, and that if she
wanted the truth, she need to be open to it rather than
closed and angry. Finally Linda heard him and they were able
to talk honestly for the first time in years. Linda was
actually relieved at hearing the truth, once she got over
the initial shock and they were able to talk. She agreed to
In counseling, Mark discovered that Linda also had been
afraid to be honest with Mark, fearing that he would
withdraw even more. She was just as afraid of his withdrawal
as he was of her anger. They discovered that both of them
had been protecting against their fears rather than being
open to learning with each other. As they both opened to
learning, the love gradually came back into their
People often believe that they are withholding their truth
to spare their partner pain, but their real intent is to
protect themselves from the response they fear. Protecting
against pain ' with anger, withdrawal, and blame - will
always bring about the very pain we fear, while opening to
learning and speaking our truth opens the door to love.
About The Author:
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and
co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me
To Be Loved By You?" and "Healing Your Aloneness." She is
the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing
process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a
FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or
email her at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone