I found out a dear friend of mine – one of my best friends since high school – tried to kill himself not too long ago. It was because of his wife. He discovered she was cheating on him. They hadn’t even been married a year (eight months.) Her reasoning? She told him that his depression and anxiety caused her to cheat. He gave me the whole story. I don’t know his wife. I’ve never met her in my life. I didn’t go to the wedding or anything for reasons I won’t get into. Eric (not his real name) has always been honest with me as far as I know. I know Eric has his issues. I have mine as well. I know Eric has always struggled with depression and anxiety just as I have. I’ve got something he has never really had though: a support system. I wish he had one so that he didn’t think he had to end his own life.
I’m thankful that he failed at killing himself, but I also feel like shit because I’m not exactly sure how to help, either. We’ve always both just joked about our mental illness. I remember one of the best jokes I ever heard — this is just his and my fucked up sense of humor — being when I hadn’t seen Eric in a while, me asking him how he’d been doing, and I asked what he’d been up to. He replied, “I go to work every day, come home and make myself some dinner; sometimes I’ll play a video game for a few hours; and occasionally I’ll stare at the noose I have hanging in my closet and say to myself, “Maybe tomorrow.” I laughed to the point where I could barely breathe.
This recent turn of events in Eric’s life got me thinking about honesty as well. People always claim they want honesty in their relationship, but do they really? Does a woman or man who has put on a few pounds really want their significant other to tell them? If someone in a relationship isn’t looking their best one day then do they want their significant other to tell them they look like shit (in a nicer way than that, of course)? If your spouse is cheating, do you really want to know?
I came to the conclusion a long time ago that people extol honesty until you’re honest with them. You can tell them all day long how you were honest with someone and they will tell you how you did the right thing, but as soon as they ask a question about themselves and demand an honest answer and you give it to them then you can consider that particular relationship or friendship finished. A husband or wife doesn’t want to know that their partner is being unfaithful. If they ask and their partner says, “No. I’m not cheating on you,” it’s better for both parties because no one gets hurt. However, if you’re caught then you might as well fess up because you know there’s no getting out of it.
I’ve never agreed with someone in a relationship cheating on their partner and just coming outright and telling their partner when their partner didn’t ask. I don’t agree with cheating, either; I want to make that perfectly clear. If your partner doesn’t ask then keep your mouth shut. If your partner asks then should you lie? I guess it depends on whether or not you’re a good liar.
Dr. Brad Blanton’s “radical honesty” isn’t going to win you any friends. Being honest with friends is going to make you lose them one day. My advice? Just stick to lying in order to save face. Read up on it if you have to in order to learn how to do it better.
Or you can just not be a piece of shit who feels the need to do shitty things to people.