Photo by Timur Weber

Transparency in a relationship or marriage is absolutely crucial for building trust and making things work in the long term.

No couple can continue functioning without it.

If you’re not willing to be honest with your partner, or they’re intentionally hiding things from you, you will inevitably grow apart from each other.

But at the same time, too much transparency actually be detrimental to your or your partner’s sense of safety.

There is no point in sharing every though or doubt you might be having throughout the day. Especially if it will only hurt you or your significant other’s feelings.

But how can you tell when to be transparent in love and when to keep things to yourself?

Also, deciding the degree to which you want to be open and honest in your relationship is one thing.

But there is the other side of this dilemma too:

When is it ok or even necessary to demand that your significant is more upfront and transparent with you?

And when should you just give them some space and let them come to you at their own pace?

I’ll tackle all these difficult questions one by one in this blog post.

Let’s start with why this is such an important topic in the first place.

Why Is It Important to Be Transparent in Relationships

The number one reason why it’s so crucial to be open and honest with your significant other is that secrets always eventually come out anyway.

It’s not like you can hide things from your partner or spouse forever. Or that they can withhold the truth from you for years on end.

Whatever it is either of you isn’t open about will come to the surface sooner or later.

Just that by being transparent, you CONTROL how and when you’re confronted with the truth about your relationship.

You can choose the timing of your communication and be much more composed when it happens.

Hiding things from each other, on the other hand, inevitably results in huge, hurtful arguments that tend to emerge at the worst possible moment.

It causes a lot of pain, mistrust and drives couples apart.

We hear it time and again, when our coaching clients tell us their stories of breakup or divorce, it’s because of this very reason!

They stop communicating and start withholding more and more things from each other.

This leads to either unhealthy distance or lots of fighting. Eventually, one of them can’t take it anymore and decides to leave.

This is why transparency in love is so important, because the reality is that keeping secrets can actually kill a relationship.

What Is Emotional Transparency

Emotional transparency is being open and honest with your partner about your feelings.

It’s means sharing important but often vulnerable information about your own emotional states and needs.

It’s all about taking responsibility for where you’re really at and communicating things openly.

An example of emotional transparency would be admitting to your partner or spouse that you’re worried that they don’t care about you and that you’d need them to pay more attention to you.

Another common example would be coming clean about your trust or abandonment issues and asking your partner or spouse for reassurance about their commitment to you.

It’s actually really hard to be transparent emotionally. Being this vulnerable and taking responsibility for our own fears and needs is scary.

It often requires you to take a bit of a leap and just start somewhere.

You also have to make sure you don’t let your partner or spouse shut you down if they become defensive when you tell them how you feel.

But it’s well worth the effort.

Emotional transparency can prevent fights, misunderstandings, breakups or even divorce.

How Transparent Should You Be With Your Partner?

Now that you know why it is sometimes so hard to be open and honest with your partner or spouse, you might be wondering how often do you actually have to do it.

As it happens, it’s always best to be as transparent with your significant other as possible.

Especially when it comes to emotional transparency.

Coming clean about what you’re feeling and needing from your partner or spouse is what will make your relationship or marriage healthy and keep your spark alive.

Besides, it’s perfectly ok to ask for reassurance in a relationship!

However, there are a few situations when there is no point being honest or vulnerable with your significant other.

For example, if they continue to shoot you down or judge you for your emotional needs, there is no point letting them reject you over and over again.

If you can’t talk without arguing, and your partner or spouse doesn’t budge, even when you’re being completely transparent with then, you need to change your strategy and start setting boundaries instead.

You have to make it clear, it’s not ok for them to discard you this way.

What About Phone Transparency

Nowadays, our smartphones play a very important part in our lives. You can find out a lot about a person just by going through their devices.

Some of you guys have been asking me what the rules are for phone transparency in a relationship or marriage.

There are a couple of points to consider here…

You don’t have to share all of your passwords and data with your partner or spouse. It’s ok to maintain your privacy or individuality this way.

Some people need this kind of separation, while others are comfortable sharing everything.

It’s a matter of personal preference and trust in a relationship.

You need to trust your partner a lot to be comfortable with full phone transparency.

It’s not something to be taken lightly, you should never push for it, either.

At the same time, if your partner or spouse is extremely protective of their smartphone and is coincidently receiving a ton of notifications from an unknown source, this is a cause for concern.

At this point, it might be best to confront them about this and tell them that you need them to be more transparent about their phone use.

Is There Such Thing as Too Much Transparency in a Relationship?

It’s all well and good to try to be as transparent in your relationship as possible.

But what about all those times when being open and honest will only hurt you or your significant other’s feelings?

Yes, sometimes too much transparency can actually cause problems in a relationship or a marriage.

There are situations when it’s actually better to keep your thoughts to yourself and spare your partner finding out the things that might be going through your head.

This is generally the case when your honesty is not about actually changing anything and will only cause you or your significant other pain.

It’s a subtle difference, often hard to tell apart from the times when you actually do need to be transparent.

So let’s illustrate this with a few examples:

1. Being Overly Critical of Your Partner

One typical situation of too much transparency in a relationship or marriage is being overly critical of your partner.

We’re all riddled with insecurities. Nobody likes it when their loved one starts pointing out their flaws.

It’s always best to take this into account.

So, think before you speak, and if you do need to criticize something about your partner, try to formulate things more gently.

It will make it more likely that they’ll actually hear you out, because too much criticism only hurts relationships.

2. Comparing Your Partner or Spouse to Others

A second common example of too much transparency is comparing your partner to somebody else.

Even if you are doing this in your head, it’s best to keep these kinds of thoughts to yourself.

Confronting your significant other with such a comparison will only heighten their insecurities, and you’ll be less likely to get them to change the way you would like to.

3. Letting Your Partner Reject You Over and Over Again

Last but not least, the third example of too much transparency in love is being overly vulnerable only to have your partner shoot you down repeatedly.

This can often be the case in the early stages of dating. You can get so obsessed with someone, fall deeply in love, and you keep on chasing them, while they’re only putting in minimal effort to keep you around.

The same can happen after a breakup.

Some of our coaching clients are so eager to show their ex that things can change and that they can be happy together, they keep on reaching out and writing vulnerable love letters…

Only to be met with either silence or more rejection!

In situations like this, too much transparency about your love will only hurt you.

What you need to do instead is put your guard up and learn to protect yourself from becoming attached too soon.

What to Do When Your Partner Isn’t Transparent Enough

We’ve talked about why transparency is so important in a relationship or a marriage. We’ve also covered how and when to be transparent with your partner or spouse.

The last point I want to make in this article is how to handle someone who isn’t open and honest enough with you.

Maybe you suspect that they’re hiding something from you. (There are signs how you can spot when someone is lying to you.)

But an even more common example of lack of transparency in a relationship is when your partner becomes increasingly distant without communicating why or what is going on.

When this is the case, it’s important that you don’t just wait and hope that things will change on their own.

Because they won’t.

Some people have an extra hard time communicating. This is particularly true for emotionally unavailable men.

It’s possible that your partner or spouse needs your help with getting them to open up.

But when you’ve tried to get them talking, and they’re either defensive or just not biting, then it’s time for you to start setting some boundaries with them.

You have to make it clear that you’re not ok with their distance and that you need them to try to make an effort to come out of their shell.

If you’re struggling with dealing with transparency in your relationship, we can definitely help you out with this in a Coaching Call.

Here, we’ll carefully listen to your story and help you identify where the problems really lie.

We will then give you actionable tips on what to say and do, to get your partner or spouse to respond to you the way you want them to.

Click Here to Check Out Coaching Calls.

In order to have more transparency in your relationship or marriage, you might need to work on improving communication first.

You can find out how to do that, in my related blog post:

How to Improve Communication in a Relationship

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions about transparency in relationships or marriage, leave me a comment down below, and I’ll get back to you.


Karolina Bartnik