I once told a man I loved never to protect me.
He decided to keep something from me, thinking it would only hurt me to know. That couldn't have been further from the truth.
When I finally learned this, I warned him, "Don't you ever try to protect me again. I know me and I am strong. If we're in a relationship, your pain is my pain, your hurt is my hurt, your joy is my joy, and vice versa."
I told him I want a companion, a copilot, in this life. "Let's do this together," I said, "through thickness and thin." I don't expect perfection; I expect your truth on the table next to mine, the salt with the pepper, the honey with the lemon, the bitter with the sweet. Nothing more, and nothing less.
Time passed. Our relationship morphed. I trusted his word, his joy, his frustrations, his pain. One day I learned, he had done it again. He thought he was trying to protect me, out of love, nonetheless.
"If you love them, let them go."
Yet, he wasn't protecting me at all. He was protecting himself, from his own truth.
My realities: my love, my trust, my honesty... remain.