15 years for me. This all rings so true. I never meant to be dishonest in my marriage, and when I let go of my sadness/shame over not “being better at being real sooner” I realize that what you’ve said is true: we can only do what we can do when we can do it. I’ve always been doing my best. But my best has become something better, stronger, as I’ve learned to love and accept myself first. My husband has often said in the past, “I just don’t feel like I really know you,” and I’ve always felt like: “What the hell do you mean? You know me better than anyone!” Which was true: but I was still holding onto part of myself, hiding in layers and layers. Now I’ve taken the time to pull those layers off, see and know myself, heal and accept and love who I am, I am able to be real, fully honest, open with others. But we have to take that journey to ourselves first. Anyway — thanks for writing this. It means a lot.