Lying and relationships
The truth is that I'm lying...
Lying is one of the biggest issues when it comes to relationships. There is a whole lot of grey area and debatable ideas. My goal with this writing isn't to to tell you if and when it's okay to lie but rather to express my opinion and some food for thought on the topic.
What is lying?
Before diving into lying it's important to define what we mean by lying. A lie is stating something that isn't true. However, some people in relationships resort to misleading information and withholding truth and somehow manage to sleep well at night because they weren't technically lying. In my opinion, withholding relevant information and using misleading information is being dishonest. That is the ultimate point, not the technical detail of whether or not there was a lie. The point is the dishonesty and what the dishonesty was about. Just because you didn't lie doesn't mean what you did was acceptable.
Is it okay to lie?
This is a very debatable topic and one that likely causes a problem in most relationships if not all. There's an argument for any lie. If a man cheats on a woman, for any reason, but still has feelings for the woman, he then has a reason to lie. He may actually still want to be with her, but if he tells her it could destroy the relationship and perhaps also destroy her if she's sensitive to that kind of thing. As such, lying about cheating could allow them to continue to have a happy relationship as well as allow her to avoid the devastation that could ensure after finding out. I personally don't buy this at all, but the thought process does make sense. There are 2 main issues with this:
- Cheating in the first place means some form of discontent. The discontent may or may not require the end of the relationship for those involved to be truly happy, but something was wrong, and could still be wrong, even if the cheater denies it. (Circumstances and opinions will cause this point to vary a lot, just think about the mixture of alcohol and a very pushy stranger.)
- I personally believe that honesty and openness with certain respects is an inherent aspect to relationships. In other words, there are certain things you don't lie about. Lying about them would be a violation of the respect one has to the relationship and thus means termination. Of course for many some of the things lied about means the same thing if spoken truthfully. Cheating is usually a deal breaker. This point is somewhat difficult to elaborate on but is really easy to feel. I believe it boils down to having the consideration and respect for the other person to be honest. No one wants to be toyed around with and made a fool of. Dishonesty only adds fuel to the fire in this respect.
However, we are all humans, and humans make mistakes. I can't judge cheating in general as it's very much an individual and personal thing. So hopefully that gets some ideas rolling around in your head about lying and cheating. But that isn't even half the issue. What if it wasn't sex? What if they fooled around in other ways. What about flirting? At what point is there an obligation to tell your partner that there is something going on? Even at flirting most people would argue there is something there. But at that point those who were flirting would probably deny it, and maybe truthfully so, some just enjoy flirting. If a man has lunch with a girl from work should he tell his girlfriend about it? It would likely make her upset and cause a fight and potentially create further problems with their relationship and create an incentive for him to see other women. However, what if their casual lunch turned into lunch dates, and coffee breaks, and then the occasional dinner? Before you know it they could be shacking up! Or nothing could happen, might just have been a regular lunch.
I think most people understand the path of anger and jealousy against the path of doing absolutely nothing. Both could lead to the downfall of a relationship or the survival of it. A lot of factors play into that situation. Let me toss out an idea though. What if the partner of the person who begins casually seeing a friend of the opposite gender steps up their involvement in the relationship? If the person just wants space this could potentially cause a problem but perhaps what they want is that little love spark that fades away after a relationship has been steady for a while. Re-igniting some flames of love is never a bad thing and surely would help in getting their mind off that other could-be.
Of course, since this article is about lying, we would assume there is dishonesty involved in the situation. It could be lying about encounters with that person, or withholding information about their feelings. But if there is dishonesty in some way, even if just suspected dishonesty, it would be very difficult to motivate oneself to give more love to the other person. They would seem very undeserving. A compound problem of relationships. But it seems as if it's grab the bull by the horns or just sit, watch, and hope it they chose you in the end.
Lying about smaller issues
So far this has mostly been related to cheating and the possibility of it. What about small lies or white lies? Is it okay to tell her everything is fine if you're upset but just don't want to deal with it? Is it okay to say you're staying late at work when you plan to go to the bar with some friends? Small lies can often avoid big issues with minimal effort. Even if you take a shot at the root of the problem such as, 'I'm sorry honey, I am upset right now, but I don't want to argue because I love you, I just want to take time for things to cool down' it still requires a bit of effort, thought, and could still cause further drama. Thus it would seem that lying would not only be the easiest thing to do, but also cause the least amount of problems. It is still disrespectful though (especially if you're caught) and it may create some bad habits that go on to bigger problems. Not only that, it may be a sign of other problems in the first place if you have to lie about something.
My opinion on this matter is that nobody is perfect and everybody lies sometimes. We're talking about relationships between imperfect humans so I think I need to stress a few points. Yes, you will probably lie sometimes and it could save you trouble or get you into more. What I think needs to happen is that sometimes you need to express yourself completely and truthfully so your partner understands. Furthermore, your partner needs to understand that they are also not perfect and that sometimes being told a lie is okay. Let each other have a little wiggle room.
My conclusion is that lying in relationships is full off bull...manure. You can find any reason to lie about anything. Focus on first being honest with yourself so that you understand why you want to lie. Then focus on your respect for the other person and understand what it does for them if you lie. Then finally, lie or don't lie. Just whatever you do, when it comes down to it, never lie about the thing that matters most between you and your significant other, love.