You say you’re available, but you’re not…legally
If you’re waiting for the ‘right time’ to tell the person you’re dating that you’re married, both of your relationships are probably doomed to failure. And typically, it doesn’t matter if you’re separated, planning to (someday) divorce, or none of the above. “Lying about availability for a relationship is devastating for partners who discover their significant other has been dishonest. Sometimes people lie, and say they are single when they are not, or they may lie about whether or not they have children. This is never fair to the person being lied to, or to the people being lied about,” says marriage and family therapist, Shadeen Francis. Francis recommends telling the truth about your external romantic, and familial relationships up front, before you get involved.
You say you’re available, but you’re not…emotionally
True emotional availability requires honesty, to both yourself, and your partner, Francis says. Pretending to be ready to take it to the next level, and then either stopping short, or self-sabotaging the relationship, can be confusing and heartbreaking. If you can’t figure out how to make your relationship grow, some honest soul-searching can help. Maybe you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and just don’t want to let the person go, even though you know you won’t go the distance together. It’s also possible that you’re hauling around some baggage that is making it hard for you to fully commit. If so, a therapist can help. Either way, be honest with your partner, so that they can make the right decision for their own life – either with you, or without you.
You’re not fessing up about your past
Relationships thrive on trust. That doesn’t mean you have to spill your guts about every skeleton in your closet on the first date, but letting someone in, over time, is imperative, if you want to have a relationship that can withstand the bad times that inevitably come to everyone. “Things you should never lie about include why your last relationship ended,” says therapist, Kimberly Hershenson. “It’s important for your partner to know what went wrong for you in the past, and if you’re still continuing the same behaviours. And, that includes cheating.”
Hershenson also includes mental health issues in this list. “Knowing if you’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, or substance use is important, because it gives your partner information about potential triggers which might arise for you,” she adds.
It’s also important to let your partner know if you’ve done jail time, declared bankruptcy, dropped out of school, or have any other deep, dark secret you’d rather not share. Chances are, once you fess up, you’ll feel a new freedom, and the kind of emotional vulnerability needed to be truly loved, and loving.