What are your expectations from a partner regarding honesty vs lying? Do you think that lying is ever OK?
I personally expect full openness and honesty – and I give it in return. Unfortunately, I once had the experience of being with someone who told me several things about his relationships that he clearly believed were true – but I later found out that they definitely were not. Unfortunately, he tells the same thing to everyone else and puts them out into the world in general.
The issue there turned out to lie in his having some rather, shall we say, fluid definitions of a number of things related to relationships, so he was able to delude his own self into believing he was telling the absolute truth when he patently was not. He even contradicted his own self about his own definitions at times, clearly when it suited his purposes.
He really doesn’t seem to realize that he’s doing this, as far as I can tell, or at least those definitions of his are pretty convenient, as they allow him to maintain the illusion of what he says is true. He really does seem to believe his own stories, except I know for a fact that they are untrue, because I myself was party to certain events that specifically and explicitly completely invalidate his claims. He himself admitted to a particular other circumstance that also made the lie obvious.
When you find out that someone has, in fact, lied to you like this, especially about really fundamental relationship matters such as relationship status and history of the same, it makes it pretty darned near impossible to believe them about anything else – especially if a new situation shares any characteristics as the former one which involved those same kinds of definitions that were twisted to suit his purposes.
Having discovered one lie related to relationship status (let alone more than one), my jealousy and insecurity meters go off the charts and cause me tremendous fear and upset if it looks as if my partner is doing anything even remotely similar at another time.
If those fears are not immediately assuaged and I’m not *quickly and compassionately* assured that everything is OK, that he fully understands my concerns, and assures me *of his own accord* that the same thing will never happen again, and especially if he gets upset when I bring it up, that will just feed the jealousy and suspicion to no end.
Unfortunately, you don’t always discover deceptions (and self-delusions) of this nature until way late in the game.
Or we don’t always recognize the significance of one when we *do* see it earlier on. I know that I’ve been burned badly by not paying attention to the early red flags such as this, as well as many others, in a number of relationships.
Personally, honesty in a relationship is so important to me that if I ever had a partner who suspected me of lying about something really important, especially to do with our relationship, I’d go as far out of my way as necessary – *of my own accord* – to prove that he was wrong.
I’d *offer* to let him look himself at all kinds of things like all of my email accounts, all of my snail mail, all of my social media sites’ private communications, blog dashboards, phone records, credit card receipts, travel records, etc. – anything and everything he might ask for. If I truly had nothing to hide, why wouldn’t I, if it would help assuage his fears?
I expect the same level of openness from my partner – that if I had a concern, he’d be an open book just the same way.
Now all that said, *sometimes* white lies are called for in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, for example. Dealing with an Alzheimer’s patient, or very small children about some things are other possible times when they might be OK.
The problem is that even little white lies (or ones we *think* are little white lies) can come back to bite you, because regardless of the reason it’s done, it’s still a lie.
When lies of any sort are happening in any relationship – and particularly once they are discovered – they undermine the whole foundation.
One former partner once told me something quite odd about why he was leaving me, that clearly made no sense, instead of telling me the real reason, thinking the invented reason would hurt me less, which I only learned years later. Actually, the invented one happened to be much more hurtful than the real one (especially because it made no sense under the circumstances) – and what ended up happening was that the very fact of the lie, the critical importance of the *real* reason, particularly coupled with other untruths I ultimately discovered and recognized the significance of, did play a very big part in completely undermining the whole relationship.
The same issues of honesty apply regardless of relationship format. I think it’s all the more important when multiple partners are involved.