I keep catching my partner lying. Am I making too big a deal of it?

I keep catching my partner lying. Am I making too big a deal of it?

I’m in a 6-year relationship and I’ve caught my partner in a lie a couple of times – mostly about things he thinks I will overreact to. For example: he was previously married and have been separated for a long time now. But he met his ex for lunch and I found out 8 months later on a social media network! When I confronted him about it, he told me it was a harmless lunch and he didn’t tell me because I would’ve fought with him about it. But it hurts me that I have to find out, when I’d rather him be open and tell me.

Another example: He is generally a secretive person, has always been like that. He is friends with a girl at work, but had just mentioned her to me in passing. However, I found out on his phone that he chats with her often and even sends her pictures of the stuff we make at home for breakfast. I was pissed off not because he is friends with a girl, but the fact that he thought he needed to keep her shielded from me. Again when I confronted him, his answer was that I would have gotten upset. I am beginning to think, is the problem with me? Am I overreacting? If I am, I am willing to work on it because I love this person. Ashish G

For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re overreacting, exactly. These interactions are probably harmless, but reading your letter, you guys both have some boundary issues to deal with. He’s a smooth operator who has no issue with telling white lies or keeping secrets so he can do as he pleases. And the fact that you’re at the stage where you feel compelled to check his phone for ‘evidence’ is pretty messed up, too – but I get that his behaviour has kind of led you down that paranoid path, so it’s a vicious cycle.

Of course, we have to consider our partner’s feelings when we’re in a relationship – annoying as it sometimes is. There will always be things we’re not down with, but more often than not if you can talk it through you can reach some kind of compromise, or at the very least, feel acknowledged. So you need to make it really, really clear to your boyfriend that you’re over the lying – and, how he tries to turn it back on you when he’s caught, with the implication being, ‘if you weren’t so insecure I’d tell you EVERYTHING but I can’t because I know it would end in a fight’. Sorry, but no. That’s just a shitty way of deflecting responsibility away from himself.

Be strong, and tell him you don’t want to fight about this crap anymore, and you have no problem with him seeing his ex for lunch or having female friends so long as he has enough respect for you to be upfront about these friendships. It basically boils down to this: not doing stuff you wouldn’t be comfortable doing in front of each other (or telling each other about). You’re simply asking for the basic respect and courtesy we all deserve in a relationship. I hope you can both work on it, and best of luck.

Love, reality chick

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  1. Sim Star 7 years ago

    I feel like I just read my younger self (some 20 years ago) writing that letter.

    I have learned that my man doesn’t like confrontation and that in his efforts to keep me happy over the last 23 years means he will not disclose things (very similar to yours) to me. Mine never involved women but it involved financial transactions. I think I would have been more upset if he betrayed me by seeking an emotional connection with a woman behind my back (I know that just upset you but I wrote it purposefully so you dont live in denial that it’s just a small error on his part).

    My husband would rather risk not tell me something and it blow up in his face when I discovered the truth because he believes that the risk is too high to share with me (despite me being rather submissive and easy going). My faith in him has been slowly ripped away and now I live without any trust and it’s not loving.

    I can assure you that if you don’t seek immediate help by making this a very very big deal, it will go on forever. I’m stuck now with kids and you may not get this but kids make it extremely hard to part with your partner.

    I wish I could go back in time and make the first deception bigger by not just seeking advice but by getting the third party to set rules and if those are broken even once more then the relationship is terminated. I left him for 6 weeks but 2 years later another deception came to my attention. It went on like that for years and I’d take him back because I never had any guidance and just got used to it (it’s amazing what we get used to and pass it off as normal). If you don’t get those rules in place, you will find yourself at your wits end. Seek a counselor NOW babe. Get rules in place by a “third party” (this may sound weird but see if you can get a male counselor it would be better as a female counselor can sometimes seem like white noise to some men).

    If you really love him and really want to stay with him, you can save years of heartache by setting your boundaries. Make it clear one more stuff up and you’re out. Don’t forget to reward him when he does disclose all information with thanks honey for sharing that.

    • Author

      Sorry things have been so rocky for you Sim Star and thanks for sharing that brilliant advice for the letter-writer. I was totally nodding along with the bit about how it can become scarily easy to ‘normalise’ bad behaviour (and probably more so when kids are involved because then you have to consider other people in making decisions on whether to stay or go).

  2. Darlo Lad 7 years ago

    From a man’s perspective, not an uncommon situation. In the male mind there are two factors at play here: the conscious desire to keep the girl happy by avoiding any risky topics, and the less-noble desire to do whatever the damn hell you want. Not a small issue either, as left unchecked you can quickly find yourself leading a double-life, and that always ends badly. There’s quicksand between being friendly, flirty, and outright deceptive, and sounds to me like he’s trying to find his feet.

    Good news, it’s an easy fix. All you have to do is let him know that it’s ok. Defuse that panic button with basic cause/effect behaviour. I’d begin by leading by example. Tell him that it’s no big thing if he wants to go have a coffee with the ex. Or mention to him if you happen to want to have an annual catch-up with one of yours. Ask him casually if he’s heard from her lately. When he says ‘no’ then suggest that he makes a time for them to catch up. Equally it’s a good idea to say that you’re ok with a daytime coffee, but not so ok with midnight tequila-thons at Trader Dans. Fair chance that’s exactly where he’s comfortable too.

    After he sees that he can expose himself to potentially sensitive & risky topics without getting his head handed to him, he should settle down, and be much the happier for it. He knows that he needs to man-up and quit with the hiding, which he’ll start doing if you show him that you’re not going to blow up whenever he talks to another woman.

    • Author
      Rachel 7 years ago

      Hey Darlo Lad – thanks for dropping by! Great to get a guy’s perspective – bit of a tricky one.
      Love your advice, especially your tips for diffusing the situation by making it clear it’s no biggie / nothing to hide. Essentially taking away the need to hide this stuff. Ah, relationships can be a learning curve… 🙂

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