Speak Your Truth And Save Your Lesbian Relationship
A few days ago, I snuggled up on the couch with my partner and we watched Speak Your Truth.
We were both captivated as we watched this lovely documentary featuring nine brave and delightful women.
I don’t want to ruin the movie for you by saying too much. (Really, you should watch it. But finish reading this article first.)
So I’ll just tell you that in Speak Your Truth these women are refreshingly open and vulnerable. Did I mention brave?
They all share their stories about being in heterosexual marriages, discovering their feelings for women, coming out, and changing their lives. And they talk candidly about their personal challenges and victories along the way.
All nine of these women speak their truth. Both in the documentary and in their lives. Many of these women found that working with an LGBT therapist was key.
As you can guess from the title, a strong theme that weaves through the backdrop of the film is the importance of speaking your truth.
In fact, the message in the movie isn’t that it’s merely important to speak your truth, but that it’s essential. Vital.
The only way to live your most authentic life and to reach your highest potential is to…
No doubt that for the nine women who shared their coming-out-while-married stories, the process of coming out and speaking their truth was difficult, inconvenient, disruptive, and anxiety producing.
But they did it.
They told their husbands, children, other family members, and friends that they wanted to be in intimate relationships with women.
Let’s be real and acknowledge that that was a hard thing to do. The process was highly uncomfortable for everyone involved.
It was also honest, authentic, and led to growth.
Now, these women can feel comfortable in their own skin. What an incredible relief!
My wish is for you to speak your truth and be in a relationship with whomever you desire, too. That may be the most important gift you ever give yourself in this lifetime.
After watching this documentary, I got to thinking about how this idea — Speak Your Truth — isn’t only about coming out, though. It’s not just about being in a lesbian relationship (if that’s your truth).
The commitment to speak your truth ought to be your north star within your intimate relationship, too.
Embracing the agreement to speak your truth to your partner is one of the most essential skills required to create and maintain a healthy and happy intimate relationship over the long-haul.
And if your relationship is on the brink of splitting apart, leaning into the decision to speak your truth can help you save your partnership.
SPEAK YOUR TRUTH AND SAVE YOUR LESBIAN RELATIONSHIP
The way I see it, speaking your truth, in this case, means two things.
1. ALWAYS BE TRUTHFUL
Don’t ever lie to your partner. Not even when you think you’re sparing her from feeling hurt.
Deception, lies, and any kind of dishonesty will keep you from having a truly secure relationship. And insecurity in your relationship will prevent you from feeling completely safe, connected, and happy.
Chances are, your partner will know when you’re lying. And even if she doesn’t know it at the time, you can be sure that she’ll eventually find out.
So make a promise to her and to yourself that you’ll always tell her the truth. Then you’ll be building your relationship on a solid foundation.
2. SPEAK UP ABOUT YOUR WANTS AND DESIRES
For many of us (yes, I include myself here) learning to identify and articulate what we want is a big challenge. It’s downright scary. A huge growth edge.
Can you relate?
Are you an accommodator?
Is your inclination or life-long habit to please the person you’re with? To accommodate her as much as humanly possible?
If this is how you roll, you’re not alone.
My observation is that most females are socialized to be accommodators. From a very early age, many of us gals were taught to be people pleasers. To avoid conflict at all cost.
Unfortunately, the cost of avoiding conflict, by not speaking your truth about what you want and desire, is enormous.
Over time, your voice weakens. Your inner light dims. The flames of connection in your relationship flicker out. And the embers grow cold.
If you stay quiet about your desires, cover them up, or don’t state them, you’ll never be able to sustain a long-term deep connection with your beloved.
I realize that your reflex to avoid disagreements comes from a place of good intentions. It’s from a part of you that wants to protect — both yourself and your partner.
But here’s the paradoxical truth…disagreements actually help you sharpen your focus and navigate where you’re going (growing) as a couple.
Without having discussions where you each say what you want and bump up against disagreements, you never enter into the space of negotiation. The arena where you can craft a win-win for your relationship.
If disagreements are actually good for your relationship why are you disagreement phobic?
More than likely it’s because you’re doing your damn best to avoid that scary inner feeling of anxiety. That’s what I’ve learned from my mentors Dr. Ellyn Bader and Dr. Peter Pearson.
You may be trying to avoid the tension of triggering anxiety in your partner. After all, you don’t want her to worry that you don’t like her, that you’re upset with her, or that you might leave her because of your differences.
Let’s be honest, you’re probably trying to ward off anxiety for yourself, too. By staying silent about your desire (your truth) and avoiding conflict.
As long as you’re accommodating your partner, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you can handle her anxiety. Because you’re not taking a risk.
The other piece is that you don’t have to face your own anxiety about whether or not you can deal with her answer if it happens to be negative. What if she gets mad, her feelings get hurt, or she reacts as if you’re being selfish?
That could be scary, no?
So you’ve probably convinced yourself that it’s better to play it safe. To avoid the risk of triggering anxiety in either your partner or yourself.
But remember, playing it safe in this way will lead to collapse and stagnation in your relationship. You’ll eventually stop feeling happy with your relationship.
If you speak your truth, the effects for your relationship will be much like the results of the coming-out process for the women featured in the documentary. Relief, growth, and reaching your highest potential as a couple.
Like it was for those nine women, to speak your truth within your relationship may be difficult, inconvenient, disruptive, and anxiety-producing, but it will be worth it!
Speak your truth and save your relationship.
At The Lesbian Couples Institute, we also offer a one or two-day lesbian couples retreat in Denver that will help you quickly develop the skills to speak your truth.
Let us know if you’d like more information about scheduling a couples retreat. It could save your relationship.