In close relationships, it is assumed that there is no room for lies, even though people tend to saying little, white lies is a perfectly normal human characteristic (yes, don’t shake your head in criticism because research shows that the majority of people tell around 2-3 lies per day). The overwhelming majority of partners emphatically state that they cannot handle lies in their relationships. Having heard people accuse their partners of not being trustworthy even though ther person standing accused do not have the stereotypical profiles of “liars” has made me wonder about what makes a liar. I often wonder whether lies are sometimes born, not from the innate character of a person, but from the way in which two partners relate to each other. If you feel that your relationship is plagued by lies or suspect that you have to deal with a pathological liar then you should consider the following:
Are you, as a partner, especially critical, strict or demanding? In close relationships, a frequent cause for withholding the truth is the fear of rejection or aggression from the other partner. Before accusing your partner, perhaps you should think of your reaction if you knew the truth. Are you a person who shows understanding? Does your partner trust that you won’t embarrass them, accuse them or reject them when they tell you something you don’t like to hear? Before being critical of someone who lies, ask yourself if you allow them to tell you the truth.
Are you very indiscreet? There is a fine line between questions we are entitled to put forth to our partners and those that break certain personal boundaries. “What are you thinking?” “Who were you with?” “Who else was there?” “Why did it take you so long to get there?” “What did you do?” “Why did you do it?”… When our partner becomes annoyingly curious and indiscreet, it is normal for us to feel that our independence and personal space is being encroached. People who have not learnt to set boundaries often feel that they are losing control over their own lives and individuality and so turn to lying. In such cases, a lie can be a passive way of saying “Leave me alone” or “No more!”
Another parameter that someone needs to bear in mind when seeking reasons for lies is to look at the power structure of a couple. If one partner has more power than the other in a certain area, such as the kids, or one partner has more financial strength then these inequalities may influence honesty. When a person feels as thought hey don’t have control over decisions that person may lie so as to influence a situation indirectly (considering how they cannot do this in a straighforward way). Lies are due to inequality and power struggles and can often be seen in parent-child relationships or those of bosses with their employees.
Sometimes its wise to turn a blind eye or take a closer look at lies. The temptation to believe that our relationships would be better if there was truth is huge, but life has taught most of us that indiscreet honesty may end up breaking the connection with those we love and end up destorying our relationships.
Huge lies can destroy relationships and stand as barriers, but are you sure that the truth is what you want to hear? And something else, how many relationships can handle the truth and nothing but the truth? Let’s be honest!
Do you have a problem that concerns you? Our resident psychotherapist Zeta Stravopodi is willing to address any personal matters. E-mail her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoe Stravopodi-Gianno works as a psychotherapist and offers advice to individuals, couples and families. She also coordinates groups interested in achieving self-awareness and personal growth. In 2012, she established “Parents School” to give parents advice as to how to navigate the choppy waters of parenthood regarding the healthy emotional growth of their children.