According to researchers, lying to your boyfriend might help to improve your relationship. Or, maybe not lying, but purposely keeping information from him – which is basically the same thing as lying.
Does this go against most of what you’ve ever read about being in a healthy, long-term relationship? If so, I totally feel you. I’ve always read, in countless women’s magazines and blogs, that being open and honest with your partner is a very important part of being in a good relationship. But this new research sort of contradicts that.
The Wall Street Journal talks about this with Marianne Dainton, a professor at La Salle University who researches communication in relationships. She says that “Often the more open partners are with each other, the less happy they are” and that “people often say sharing too much is a source of relationship dissatisfaction.”
So what exactly does this mean? Should you be lying to your boyfriend about things? Should you just avoid telling him random details about your day or friend gossip? Or should you keep information from him about big things like cheating? There’s a big difference between all of those things according to these researchers.
Apparently, hiding something from your boyfriend in order to keep the peace is called “protective buffering,” and that’s okay. But when the benefit of hiding something is just to protect yourself, that’s called “avoidance” and it’s not goood. Professor Sean Horan says that “couples often wrongly assume full disclosure is always best.”
The WSJ goes into a few things that you don’t need to tell your boyfriend, like that you hung out with a friend you know he doesn’t like or that you hate his brother or that you think he looks fat in a certain outfit. Not telling your boyfriend that kind of useless information that will only hurt him is okay, apparently. But the WSJ also talks about a woman who meets up with her ex-boyfriend to talk and then never tells her boyfriend about it. In my opinion, that’s not cool.
Researchers go on to say that avoiding talking about something that will start a fight can sometimes be beneficial to a relationship – but you shouldn’t be avoiding anything big or important. Experts suggest to think about it this way: “Will the information be more harmful to the relationship if disclosed up front, or discovered later? Consider disclosing if withholding gets in the way of intimacy. But if it will only hurt your partner, then don’t tell.”
I’m feeling really conflicted over this research. My boyfriend and I are really, really honest with each other. I tell him a lot of things, even things that might hurt him, because I’d rather he hear it from me than someone else. For example, an ex of mine recently tried reconnecting with me. I told my boyfriend about it to avoid a fight – I knew if he heard it from someone else, the whole situation would look shady and so much less innocent than it was. And if I didn’t think my BF looked good in certain clothes, I would tell him. Maybe I wouldn’t be like, “Ew, you look gross,” but I would be like, “I don’t like that on you.” And he’d do the same thing for me. But at the same time, there are some things I would never tell my boyfriend because I know that it would just cause a completely unnecessary fight. Overall though, we’re very honest with each other.
In my opinion, when it comes to being honest with your boyfriend, you should do what feels right. I would never advise you to tell your boyfriend that you hate his mom or his best friend or anything like that, but maybe that works for you guys. Who knows? This research is interesting, but I’m not going to let it dictate what I tell my boyfriend. I’ve personally found that us being open with each other has made us really close. But maybe being less open works for others. Like I said – do what feels best for your relationship and maybe just keep this in mind.
Do you lie to your boyfriend? What do you lie about? Do you think being totally honest is a better idea? Tell us in the comments!