How often have you held back sharing something with your partner because you thought you should? Maybe you felt your partner was too busy to deal with the issue, or you just didn’t want to fight with them. Instead, you push down whatever it was you wanted to share with your partner, setting up resentment, withdrawal, and distance between you. What if you could, instead, share with your partner as easily as you share with the world when you post on your social media accounts?
Radical transparency can be a conduit for sustaining intimacy and connection in your relationships. You can also use it to restore and rebuild relationships when they’ve broken down.
The two parts of Radical Transparency are: Being open and revealing about yourself to your partner and being open to your partner’s reality in the way you ask them to be for you.
Radical Transparency means letting go of inhibitions or defensive feelings you harbor about what you haven’t revealed to your partner, as well as acknowledging your reluctance to reveal these things to your partner. It also means being open and receptive to your partner’s reality--their feelings, wishes, desires, fears, and differences from yourself. It means openly encouraging your partner to express these things with you.
Research supports the value of Radical Transparency because studies have found that those who are truthful about themselves experience more relationship intimacy and wellbeing, and better romantic relationships. These studies have also shown that positive connection and intimacy grow from being transparent about what’s inside of you, but not from making negative judgments about your partner. Your communication should focus on the positive in your relationship rather than zeroing in on the negatives and bombarding one another with them.
Radical Transparency can be painful, and even relationship-threatening, but it’s more likely to strengthen the foundation of your relationship, especially if it is present from day one of the relationship. Transparency in your intimate relationships can have wide-ranging and long-term impacts on your physical and mental health.
Radical Transparency is meant to be a connective process to help you stay close to your partner. It should help you feel more connected and less alone in your relationship. It’s about opening up your private, inner life to your partner and sharing it with them rather than using it to escape them.
If you’re ready to introduce Radical Transparency to your relationship, you can start with these steps:
Start with revealing one thing about yourself--about your inner life--to each other. This should be something you haven’t expressed before and may involve fears, aspirations, desires, or thoughts. Tell each other what you really want in your life. How you want to live and work as you move forward. Do this without judgment. Just receive these statements as new information about your partner. Describe your sense of purpose in life. Why are you on this planet, at this moment and what does that all mean to you? Reveal how you experience your work and career at this point and why you continue to do it. Explain to each other how work does or does not feel in sync with your true self, capacities, values, and vision of life. Stop censoring what you share with your partner based on your preconceived notions of their available time, interest, and/or reactions to what you share. Be open and fearless in your communication, but remain as positive as possible when you share yourself with your partner. Don’t expect you and your partner to be 100% in sync with each other about all topics and areas of your lives. You aren’t twins, you’re two individuals. Honor that and accept that sometimes you’ll disagree.
There are more steps, of course, but these will get you started. In essence, Radical Transparency says to those around you, “This is me,” without filters, without judgment.
LaBier, D. (2012, October 13). Want A Killer Relationship (And Sex Life)? Try 'Radical Transparency'. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
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