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The Different Shades of Lying: How a Lie Can Tarnish a Promising Relationship

Updated on March 17, 2021
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Heather has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Moravian College and has been freelance writing for more than 14 years.

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What is a lie? Is it meant to be hurtful or helpful to the people that are being deceived? It's hard to say, because a lie is something more than a simple deception. According to the dictionary, a lie is an intentional untruth that's meant to convey covering up the truth; whether it's shocking or otherwise. Overall, it doesn't really matter how big the lie is or whether the person's motives are pure for deceiving others. A lie is a lie plain and simple. Small ones tend to grow into much bigger ones where the consequences are much worse for everyone involved. Secrets tend to destroy even the greatest of relationships.

When it comes to marriage or any long term relationship, secrets and lies are often the cause of many break-ups. The Beatles once sang that love was all that people needed to be happy, but that's not entirely true anymore. Trust is an essential factor to keep any relationship from busting at the seams. Once that's gone, everything else will likely follow. Is it possible to determine whether it's okay to lie on occasion or to always tell the truth no matter how much you get in trouble for it? The best way to start is to determine the most common types of lies and how they can sink a relationship. Here are five examples of the most common relationship destroying lies which ranged from the innocent to the simply deadly. Read on to see if any of those lies have impacted your relationship and what you can do to rectify your lies.

Lying to Protect Your Loved Ones- Picture this situation to see if you think it would be okay to pretend that everything is normal when things are far from it. Is it forgivable to pretend that your family isn't up to their eyeballs in debt in order to provide your spouse with the ultimate birthday present? What if the lie was meant to cover up something much worse? In the movie My Life Without Me, Ann (Sarah Polley) found out that she had terminal cancer that left her little time to put her affairs in order. Instead of telling her husband (Scott Speedman), Ann decided to hide the fact that she was sick to spare him and their children the pain of her death. She also had the opportunity to do things that she never had the chance to do. Sure, Ann's intentions may have been noble, but it was also selfish at the same time. Her family should've had the opportunity to spend more time with her and prepare for the inevitable shock of her passing. Lying to protect a loved one seems like a noble gesture, but it could also be considered a selfish act to avoid dealing with the truth yourself. It's best to face the truth head on no matter how much it hurts. Deal with the consequences sooner rather than later.

Lying to Hide Some Devastating Truths- Is it possible to find true love and still long for something else? You could have the perfect marriage and still wonder what it would be like if you chose a different path with someone else. In the movie Last Night, Joanna (Keira Knightley) was married to Michael (Sam Worthington), but she crossed paths with her ex Alex (Guillaume Canet) who made her wonder how differently her life would be if she was with him. The temptation was great for Joanna to stray, but the biggest act of deception on her part was that she never told her husband about Alex. This lie of omission almost made it seem that Joanna settled for Michael when Alex was no longer within reach. Did she decide to give into the fact that her marriage might not last or continue to lie to herself? It's hard to say what anyone would do if they were faced with the possibility of different soul mates. It's best to choose who you want to spend the rest of your life with wisely before making a lasting commitment that might not stick. It's also best to not marry someone for social status, such as in the movie The Duchess, which followed a young woman forced to marry a high ranking member of society. Sadly, he didn't love her and was regularly unfaithful to her. Instead of finding her own happiness, she was forced to stay in a loveless marriage that brought her nothing but an early grave. Choose the path that leads to true happiness and the best possible outcome for a longer life.

Lying to Compensate For Personal Failings- What happens if you start lying to cover up for your personal discrepancies? Will it make you feel better or simply anger your spouse or partner? In the movie Nine, Guido (Daniel Day Lewis) believed in his own hype as a director so much that he became a major womanizer and started to neglect his devoted wife (Marion Cotillard) in order to pursue professional success. Sadly, his increasingly elaborate lies started to unravel and he lost everything from his wife to his once successful career. The best cure for a partner who suffered from an inflated ego would be to give them a subtle push back to reality before they go too far over the edge. Give your spouse the room to grow professionally and personally without letting them get too far away from you. Is it possible to be in love without ever admitting it to anyone, especially yourself? In 9 1/2 Weeks, John (Mickey Rourke) couldn't admit that he loved Elizabeth (Kim Basinger) until it was too late. Don't wait too long to admit your feelings, because your partner might not be around to hear any type of declarations.

Lying in an Effort to Escape From Reality- Can a marriage survive when your spouse dreamt of being someone else for a while? In the movie White Sands, Ray (Willem Dafoe) decided to take on a dead man's identity in order to solve a murder. He had to leave behind his life as a family man and pretend to want to give into the desire to sleep with another woman. He had to curb his own impulses and protect his family from learning his secret. Will he be able to solve his case without becoming tainted by the experience? Will Ray tell his wife once the case has been solved or will he just file it away after he finished writing his report? Willem Dafoe also played a lawyer in Body of Evidence who threw caution to the wind to sleep with a client, even if his marriage was destroyed by it. The character allowed his worst impulses to take over and that got him into a world of trouble. The best cure when it comes to wanting to be someone else is to allow the fantasy to stay just that or somehow include your partner into your new story. Choose to keep your partner a priority, but you need to have some fun as well.

Lying With a Deadly Ulterior Motive- Can a couple who both have dangerous jobs have a relationship or are they doomed to lie to each other? In the movie Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig) found bliss with a fellow agent named Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). Unfortunately, their relationship was based on a lie because she was forced to date him to gather government secrets from him. She may have loved him, but he wouldn't have likely gotten past being used in such a manner. No relationship can survive a devastating lie that could get someone hurt or even killed. What if you had to cover up a crime in order to protect your spouse from prison or learning the worst about you? No relationship can survive the darkest of intentions, even if you did love each other.

In the end, you can have the greatest marriage of all time, but years worth of lies can destroy everything you worked hard to build. Trust is the key factor in any relationship because it's what lasts once everything else disappears. If you can't trust your partner anymore, it might be time to cut off all ties with them for good. Choose your next step carefully, because divorce is a bell that can't be unrung once you start the process. Sure, you can legally stop the proceedings, but the emotional sting will always remain no matter how much you want to forget.


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