Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Humorous and Honest Look at White Lies in Romantic Adult Loving Relationships

As many of you know, my January 17th Post, “Do You Tell Little White Lies? (Or do you lie about that to?),” was well received and enjoyed by many individuals. Since that posting, nonetheless, many individuals have shared with me the occasional humorous and daunting aspects of telling white les in romantic adult loving relationships. For example, Floyd P. Garrett, M.D., wrote an intriguing paper on “Addiction, Lies and Relationships” and poignantly says, “Addiction means always having to say you are sorry.”

In his Website piece, “Information Sheet on Lies, Mike Hardcastle writes about “10 Things You Need to Know About Lies & Lying” and briefly discusses them:

1. Lying is the number one reason that people lose trust.

2. The most common reason that people lie is to avoid confrontation. Getting in trouble is never fun but lying to avoid it is always a “band-aid” solution. When the truth comes out the confrontation is guaranteed to be even more unpleasant than it would have been without the lie. A lie compounds the problem, it doesn't solve it.

3. Another common reason people lie is to make themselves seem “better” or more interesting. This sort of lying can be a sign of low self esteem, problems at home, or depression.

4. Lies are like dominos – one lie can knock out whole relationships, destroy entire aspects of your life or even limit your future in unforeseeable ways.

5. Lies are a gamble. Every time you lie you gamble with being caught.

6. Lies have a way of getting out and coming back to haunt you.

7. The worst lies are the ones you tell yourself. When you lie to others you are also lying to yourself.

8. Chronic lying can signal a psychiatric or social disorder. If you find yourself “lying for no reason” or to cover up behavior that you know is harmful consider seeking professional help.

9. Lies can damage your self image and cause inner conflicts (like dissonance) that drastically change the way you view, and act upon, the world and other people. And,

10. “Little white lies” are lies that are told about superficial things and are told when the truth would only serve to hurt another person. They ARE NOT told to avoid confrontation or cover up the harmful actions of another person. For example: telling another friend that a haircut looks good when you don’t really like it is a “little white lie,” telling your parents that you are spending the night at a friend’s house so that you can stay out past curfew is NOT.

Likewise, offers some interesting considerations regarding white lies in romantic adult loving relationships:

When it comes to love and marriage, people expect a spouse to be completely honest. But, at the same time, everyone values their sense of freedom and privacy. So while romantic partners typically want to please each other, at other times, couples experience competing goals which can make telling the truth difficult to do (see, when lovers lie).

But sadly enough, if you want to look for deception in your own life, the best place to start is close to home. Lovers lie about their true feelings for each other, the feelings they have for others, their level of commitment, their whereabouts... And people often tell their most serious and consequential lies to those they love (see, what lovers lie about and secrets lovers keep).

Yesterday afternoon in my graduate class, Marriage and Couples Counseling, as part of another in-class, small group exercise I asked my students if they could remember any white lies they were told by others – specifically by their spouses and/or significant others. In addition to some serious discussion, we had a few laughs – here are some of them:

“It’s not you – it’s me.”

“Dinner wasn’t that bad.”

“I’m not drunk.”

“You are my first.”

“No, I don’t mind doing the dishes.”

“The other ones didn’t mean anything.”

“I don’t mind your watching the football games.”

“You’re the best lover I’ve ever had.”

“No, I’ve never been to this restaurant before.”

“Really… I’m fine.”

“You’re nothing like your mother.”

“No, you don’t look fat in that outfit.”

“I’m being honest with you.”

“It was on sale.”

“I have a headache.”

“I thought you knew I just wanted to be friends.”

“We’ll always be friends.”

“What ever you want is fine with me.”

“Trust me.”

“He’s just a friend.”

“It didn’t mean anything.”

“My cell phone died.”

“I’ll always love you.”

“No problem.”

“I understand.”

“Wrinkles are sexy.”

“I only had two beers.”

Question: What are some of the memorable white lies you’ve heard from a lover or significant other?



Unknown said...

What a great post Bill! Timely for me as weelll - and laugh out loud funny! That list at the end should definitely be out there - and maybe a little novelty book "Little White Lies".

Hope you are well!


Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Kat,
Thanks for stopping by (as well as for your kind and gracious comments) -- glad to know you got a few laughs out of it. Don't know if there would be enough subject matter for a "book" though.
All's well in my corner of the world and trust that it's the same for you and your family (and that's the truth -- LOL).
Thanks again,