Ending the Lies

 

Ending the Lies

 


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Ending the Lies

I've been thinking a lot about the importance of honesty in marriages recently. This is probably because so many of you have been writing to me asking how you can rebuild the honesty in your marriage. I know many of you out there are hurting right now because your spouse, the person you care most about in the world, has deceived you.

If you have been lied to by your spouse, you probably feel devastated. You may be struggling with feelings like anger, sadness, grief, depression, and even a diminished sense of self-esteem.

Another common feeling for people that have been lied to is the feeling that they have been made to look like a fool. You trusted your spouse so completely that you were ready to believe virtually anything he or she said. Your spouse took advantage of this faith, and now you feel ashamed.

You may ask yourself questions like, "How could I have ever believed him?" or, "Why did I let her take advantage of me this way?"

What's more, you may be facing questions that have even more serious connotations for you and your relationship if you are considering the possibility of rebuilding your
marriage after the lies have been laid out on the table.

And perhaps more importantly the question you are asking is:

"How can I ever rebuild my marriage while the dangers of dishonesty and mistrust still exist?"

If you're already worried that your spouse might lie to you again, it's that much more trying when the lies and deceit are still going on.

Here's the reality: If your marriage is going to survive, if it's going to become a better marriage than it has ever been, your spouse is going to have to make a real effort to restore your feelings of trust and safety. He or she is going to have to prove to you that the lies have ended and that you can let feelings of trust blossom once again.

If this doesn't happen, it is going to be very difficult for you to save your marriage. Marriages take two people to make them work. If one of them isn't fully invested in
the relationship and continues to lie and deceive, the likelihood that you will be able to repair your marriage is pretty low.

However, if your spouse is committed to rebuilding your relationship (and you are too), then you have a very good chance of not only rebuilding your relationship, but making it better than it has ever been.

You see, lying can be like an addiction, especially for people who have used it as a way to cheat on or otherwise deceive their spouses. You lie once, and tell yourself you'll never do it again. But it served its purpose so well, that when another situation arises that seems to "require" a lie, you go ahead and do it again. And then again. And,again.

Perhaps the lies become more significant or extreme over time, but easier to justify and easier to accomplish. And pretty soon you're on a slippery slope that leads you down a path you never thought you would travel.

Most people don't go into a relationship intending to deceive their spouses.

Most people don't think they'll ever cheat on their spouses. In fact, they think they are so safe from the danger that they engage in actions risky to their relationships. Then they lie about it, and soon enough they are in so far over their heads they don't even know how they got there.

How do you rise from this quagmire? If you are the cheater, you begin a "no-lies policy" for yourself. You make a choice within yourself never to lie to your spouse about anything ever again.

If you have lied to your spouse in the past, making an oath to be absolutely honest is a powerful way for you to show your spouse that you are serious about rebuilding your marriage, that you are fully committed to being honest, and that you are willing to go the distance to prove that you are worthy of trust.

What's more, it's an excellent way to inoculate you against starting the slippery slope. After all, you probably don't want to continue to be a liar or a person with a character flaw that could repeat what you have done.

Perhaps the best way to clarify how the slippery slope works is with a story. Jerry ended up on the slippery slope of lies, and it nearly destroyed his relationship. Here's his story.

Jerry was a nice guy. He was always friendly and open. He was a good listener, and his friends often relied on him to be sympathetic and tender when they were hurting. One person who relied on Jerry a lot was a friend of his from work whose name was
Marla. She had been facing some problems in her marriage, and she found talking to Jerry was one of the best ways to cheer up.

Although Jerry was married, neither he nor his wife considered his friendship with Marla to be a problem. Jerry was completely committed to his marriage. He knew it. His wife knew it. And no friendship was going to get in the way of the wonderful relationship they shared.

One day, Marla came into the office looking completely distraught. Jerry noticed, of course, and walked into her office to find out what was wrong.

She asked him to shut the door, and the minute he did, she collapsed into his arms crying. Her husband had served her with divorce papers and she was totally devastated. Up to this point she had still retained some hope of saving her marriage. The divorce papers ended that hope.

By the end of the day Jerry had checked on Marla about a half dozen times to see how she was doing. When he walked into her office at the end of the day to offer a bit more sympathy and to say good night, Marla asked him if he would go out and have a drink with her "because she'd really like to talk to him."

He agreed and called his wife to let her know he was going to be a little late. He told her about the trouble Marla was going through, and she agreed that he should go out and talk with her for a little while to see if he could calm her down.

They went to the bar, ordered a drink and talked. Then they ordered another, and another. Eventually, two hours had passed, and they were sitting inches from one another having an intimate conversation that had absolutely nothing to do with Marla's marital problems.

During a pause in the conversation Marla put her hand on Jerry's and said, "Thank you Jerry I feel so much better. I really love the time I spend with you."

Jerry hesitated for a moment. He had a feeling this was going too far. But he chose to ignore it and replied, "I like being with you, too, Marla." There was an intimate gaze between them that went on a moment longer than it should have, and both of them knew that they had crossed a line they should never have gone over.

When Jerry got home, he apologized for being late and told his wife about how awful Marla was feeling. He "forgot" to tell her about the gaze between them. He "forgot" to tell her that Marla touched his hand. And he "forgot" to tell her that they were talking about topics that had nothing to do with Marla's marriage.

The next day at the office, Jerry walked in and noticed Marla was wearing an attractive, low-cut dress, something that was a little fancier than what she usually wore. When he came in she walked up to him and said, "Hey, thanks so much for last night. I feel a lot better. Do you mind if I treat you to lunch in repayment?"

Jerry accepted without thinking a whole lot about it (they often had lunch together), and went to work.

When the lunch hour came, Marla knocked on Jerry's office door. She stepped in, closed it behind her, and as Jerry stood up from his desk Marla threw her arms around him and gave him a hug.

At first Jerry was startled, but he soon forgot his hesitation. The hug felt good, and he didn't want to give up that good feeling even though he knew he had crossed another invisible boundary at that moment.

During lunch Marla and Jerry held hands. That night after work they went out for another drink. They held hands again and looked deeply into each others eyes. They both knew where this was leading, but neither of them was admitting it yet.

Each step of the way Jerry told his wife he was trying to help his friend through a tough time. Each time he neglected to share details that he knew would implicate him in something much worse than "helping a friend through a hard time."

Eventually Jerry and Marla had an affair. It went on for several months, but in the end
the guilt was too much for Jerry. He told his wife the truth of what had happened. It completely destroyed her. Her trust and faith were gone. And their marriage was nearly ripped apart forever.

Jerry's story is an excellent example of how the slippery slope works. You tell one "little white lie," because you don't want your spouse to be hurt by your actions, you feel guilty and don't want to admit what you've done, or you "forget." Then, one lie turns into another and another. Soon, you're careening down the slope toward a very dangerous ending.

If you have deceived your spouse, it's very likely you know your own version of this pattern intimately. You probably didn't want to hurt your spouse to begin with. You may not even have "wanted" to have an affair. But you ended up in a bad situation, and it all started with one "little white lie."

What happened before could conceivably happen again ... unless you choose to change your actions. If you were caught in a pattern of lies before, it's certainly possible that it will happen again. It's even more likely if you continue to lie to your spouse. Like an alcoholic who has a taste of drink, one "little white lie" could land you right back at the bottom of that abyss you have been trying to dig your way out of.

So what's the solution?

The "no-lies policy" I proposed earlier is an excellent way to protect yourself from these dangers and start rebuilding trust with your spouse at the same time. If you wish to adopt this policy, here's what I recommend you do.

Make an oath, inside yourself, to never lie to your spouse again. Then be as diligent as you can possibly be in keeping this promise.

That means absolutely no lies. No "little white lies," no "accidental" omissions, no altering the way you tell stories to put yourself in a good light. It means telling your spouse everything exactly as it happened without holding anything back--even if this gets you in trouble and even if it hurts your spouse's feelings.

Let's say you tell your spouse that you are staying late at work when you intend to go out for a drink. If you've adopted the no-lies policy, you would tell her about it.
Imagine you tell your husband that you're going to meet a friend for coffee when you are actually planning to have a shopping spree you know you can't quite afford.
Again, if you've adopted the no lies policy you would tell him about it.

In all cases, your revelations should be as soon as possible after the transgression.

Needless to say, this usually isn't the easiest path to take. The examples above only barely touch the tip of the iceberg in terms of difficult situations you might find yourself in. You may find yourself in a situation where you have to tell your spouse much worse.

Let's say for example an attractive woman asks you out to lunch after a meeting in your office. If you're acting with integrity and you have adopted the no-lies policy you would not only decline the invitation, but you would go home and tell your spouse everything about the incident, including the fact that you were attracted to this woman. After all, leaving out details like this is exactly what got you into trouble in the first place, right?

Some people believe this is gratuitous. They think sharing this much information is simply "too much." In my opinion this is wrong. In a marriage there is no such thing as sharing "too much" information. A solid marriage is founded on open communication. Ultimately that means talking about the hard stuff as much as you talk about the easy stuff.

Regardless of your opinion of how much to "tell" in a marriage, you are not in a normal situation, anyway. You are repairing a broken relationship, which requires
different standards.

If you are serious about rebuilding your marriage, telling your spouse the absolute truth is one step in the right direction. It helps recreate an environment of trust and makes it easier for your spouse to start believing you are honest again.

If you're willing to tell her the truth about everything it is a continuing demonstration that you are committed to rebuilding your relationship. Telling the truth this way might not save your relationship by itself. But it will help.

It's your marriage we're talking about saving here. So what if it's not "easy?" The rewards will certainly be worth the difficulty if your spouse starts trusting you again and you both learn the skills necessary to make a long-term marriage work.

So adopt a no-lies policy. Tell your spouse the truth about everything. Inoculate yourself against the dangers of lying and make it possible for trust and honesty to blossom again.

What to know more? This page is just an excerpt from the type of info you will receive from my colleague Dr. Frank Gunzburg's ebook -- You have a chance to win your spouse back. Click Here - Surviving an Affair.

 

truth about deception
© askmaple.com 2004-2012
Please note: The suggestions and advice offered on this web site are opinions only and are not to be used in the place of professional psychological counseling or medical advice. If you or someone close to you is currently in crisis or in an emergency situation, contact your local emergency 911 or a Counselor nearby