I Love The Way You Lie…Or Not: Is It Ever Okay To Be Dishonest With Your Partner?

February 11, 2013  |  

According to this excerpt from the book, The Normal Bar: women lie, men lie, everybody is a got-damn liar:

For most couples, some lying is necessary to keep the peace, to protect each other’s feelings, and to preserve a sense of safety in the relationship. The 27% who never lie may be righteous, but they can also be cruelly frank. Men and women who shade the truth may be more loving and protective. Even well-intentioned lies, however, can hurt the relationship if the truth that’s withheld is something the partner has every right and need to know. Knowing when a lie is reasonable and when it is reprehensible isn’t always an easy call.”

According to the book excerpt, both genders have a sneaking suspicion about their partners truthfulness with 69 percent of men and women reporting that they have “lied at some point to their partners.” The most common lie committed by women (43 percent) is about how great/no-so-great their partner is in bed. And among men, almost half of men have reported lying to their partners about their whereabouts and what they are doing at these whereabouts. The book excerpt then goes on to cite one study, which has determined that only 53 percent of men and a dismal 39 percent of women completely trust their partners. Despite the pitiful levels of trust many couples have going on, the book explains that for women in relationships, there appears to be more acceptance of the belief that men are going to stray because they are “more interested in and titillated about sex outside the relationship” and therefore are incapable of being trusted. It’s hard to imagine that through all this lying, snooping and acceptance of bad deeds going on, folks can still say that they are in, or even desire, an honest and open relationship. Yet according to this book, even among happy couples, there is a tendency to lie or not completely trust their partners.

Reading these statistics doesn’t seem to inspire confidence in relationships. It would be dishonest of me if I stated that I have never lied in a relationship. However, I admittedly have trust issues and currently avoid having genuine relationships like the plague, so I don’t have to be put into a position of lying or being lied to. But is there ever a point where lying is okay? Like for instance, do I really want a guy to give an honest answer to how fat I may look in my dress or what he thought about that meal I made from the recipe I found online? Some secrets might be worth taking to the grave. For instance, I know for the former wife of 99-year-old Antonio C., who divorced her after 77 years after she confessed to having an affair back in the 1940s, would have loved if she kept that tidbit of information to herself.

Sure, some folks say it might depend on the lie, but what about the liar? I probably would be more forgiving of a lie, which was told to spare my feelings than one told because he fears rejection and the consequences of his action. However, generally, I hate liars and in either circumstance, I would probably be pissed. After all, maybe it is not my big a**; maybe it is the dress and its unflattering shape, which is causing me to look extra chunky, particularly in areas where I don’t want the chunk. And if this is the case, I would appreciate the heads-up in the matter so I can go change outfits.

A few years back, I was dating this guy pretty heavily for a few months when he one day, sat me down and told me that he felt we should slow it down. The reason was that he wanted to concentrate on his daughter, who recently came to live with him on a full-time basis. Made sense to me. About a month later, while out at one of the local spoken-word venues in the city, I ran into this same guy and he was on a date with his new girlfriend. He had lied to me, he said, because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. I felt like he lied to me because he was a coward. And it has been my experience that liars and cowards are mutually exclusive.

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