Embarrassment is one of the primary feelings that bonds human beings together in relationships and marriages … when they’re willing to show it, of course.
No one makes it through life without feeling awkward and self-conscious at times, yet we do our best to hide our humiliation from others because we want to fit in and fear that we won’t be accepted as a member of the tribe.
Even if that tribe is as small as a romantic dyad such as a boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife, we want the person we’ve fallen in love with to approve of us.
Relationship problems surface when we become preoccupied with presenting an idealized image of ourselves that we spend more energy trying to main that fantasy of who we want to be than we do bonding with and enjoying our beloved as we really are.
We all have and need egos. The ego is our separate and unique identity, and we wouldn’t be able to function or accomplish anything in the world without them. But the ego should not run the show.
That’s the job of your soul.
Any time you feel overly embarrassed, your ego has more prominence than it should. It’s a sign you feel so separate from others and that you’ve forgotten the spiritual truth that we are all connected to one another.
As uncomfortable as embarrassment can be, exposing those vulnerable aspects of ourselves is what makes us lovable.
It shows the other person that you are more alike than you are different and lets them know you trust them enough to be authentic in their presence.
Embarrassment shows your humanity, and when you are willing to expose it to the person you love and feel certain is worthy of your trust, your relationship can become deeper and stronger than ever.
Below are five common relationship problems and issues people often find too embarrassing to discuss, but that can ultimately lead you to fall even more deeply in love with each other:
1. Deeply hidden fears.
I don’t mean fear of spiders, but deeper fears related to your character and personality. Fears so repressed and ingrained that you may not even be aware of them.
Such fears include being unworthy and unloved, not being able to provide for yourself, constantly seeking stimulation because you feel empty inside, not being good enough, not being impressive aside from your accomplishments, and being incompetent.
Everyone has a core fear that drives their behavior. You are not alone. Your partner has a basic fear that they are likely embarrassed by, as well.
2. Family skeletons tucked away in the closet.
Children believe that their family issues are an extension of themselves. Many adults still believe that the family they came from somehow reflects on who they are. While your family does shape you, they are separate and apart from you.
Being able to talk about your family with clear boundaries separate from you is a sign of health. It also helps your significant other understand you better.
In addition to your family having skeletons, you may have some secrets tucked far back in your closet yourself.
These issues are never easy to share, even when you’ve come to peace with them. But if you are willing to open up to your partner about them, you may discover that you’re quite human and not so weird after all.
The truth is that there are only so many experiences that humans go through, and most are quite common.
3. Secret dreams and goals for the future.
Sharing your goals and dreams is a very sensitive act because when other people react in any way that’s less than 100% supportive and confident, it can cause you to doubt yourself.
Even if you don’t doubt yourself, their lack of faith and support will cause you to face the cold, hard reality that they are not the one for you.
But you must do it in order to arrive at the truth. Either you will discover that you need to part ways, or your relationship will grow stronger as you find out that not only is your partner supportive, but the two of you are like-minded via being on the same page with your goals and dreams.
4. Financial troubles.
Your financial condition is your personal, private business. Yet, if you’re sharing your life with someone, certain aspects will have to be discussed. Your lifestyle, travel, and any financial burdens inevitably come up with people close to you.
Always remember that you are not your struggles. You are much bigger than any earthly affliction you face, and if your financial condition causes you embarrassment, try not to be so identified with it. Plus, you can always change it.
If your partner judges you for it, it’s really a reflection of your own self-judgment.
Also remember that whenever you preface anything with, “This is embarrassing for me to share with you,” it causes the other person to have more compassion and react more gently. Because you are opening up and being vulnerable, you actually gain strength and an ally.
5. Unconventional sexual fantasies.
Some sexual fantasies are easier to share than others, but sharing them with your partner can help bond you and create eroticism, even if your partner does not share the same fantasy.
When your partner truly loves you and wants you to be happy, they will enjoy knowing about what turns you on. You being turned on turns them on.
There’s no rule stating you have to share your sexual fantasies, but if you do, it could open a whole new thrilling dimension between the two of you.
Sometimes people don’t want to share their fantasies because they wouldn’t want to bring them to fruition in the material world and feel afraid to put the idea into their partner’s head. As long as you communicate your true intentions, you have nothing to worry about. Ultimately, you cannot control another person’s thoughts or actions anyway.
Having the courage to share your sexual fantasies can, once again, bond you because you will discover that you’re really not that different from other people and their fantasies. Once the ego is removed from the equation, you simply have unity.
If you are in a relationship with a trustworthy partner, discussing embarrassing issues will help you become more bonded.
In order to lighten the burden of discussing embarrassing relationship issues, play “truth or dare” with your significant other. When you make a game out of exposing your truth, you will feel less pressure and seriousness about it. The playing field is level when both of you are sharing awkward issues.
In the end, embarrassment is a part of reaching any goal, including a loving relationship.
Heather Hans, LCSW, MBA is a public speaker, psychotherapist, and author of The Heart of Self-Love. She tackles serious human issues in creative and entertaining ways to guide people through pain and into joy. For more, you can subscribe to her newsletter or follow her on Twitter.