Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Hi, Carolyn: I just found out that my long-distance boyfriend has been lying to me. He was supposed to be at a location for work for 15 weeks. Apparently that turned to six because his job wanted him to return to go to school. That meant an incredibly difficult time for him to manage school, work and his kids, and he said he felt a tremendous amount of pressure to see me. He thought lying to me about his location would keep me from pressuring him to see me.
I’m devastated. He’s begging me to let him prove to me that he can be truthful. I love him deeply, but my last relationship was full of lies. Can I put out the fire?
Pants on Fire?
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What do you think?
Set aside the fact that he preferred lying to standing up for himself. (Serious immaturity.) You’re now with your second consecutive liar.
That means you have to take a hard look for a common denominator in you, be it in what you find attractive, how you overrule your gut, what type of communication you regard as normal … things maybe worth discussing with a reputable therapist. If the two of you can’t just Deal With Stuff, then they become what you hide behind till there’s no love and devotion left.
And – the best way for him to avoid pressure is for you to stop pressuring him, no?
To: Lying: Lying is never acceptable, but maybe try to determine if you are someone people can actually talk to. Why did the boyfriend find it easier to lie than to simply say, “I can’t deal right now. Can you help?”
Right – she needs to be easy to talk to about difficult things, or at least brave about hearing them, and to weigh other people’s needs instead of just driving to have hers met. And he needs to talk about difficult things, prepared to break up with anyone who makes it so hard for him to tell the truth that he’d rather lie.
Carolyn: Our relationship has been built on communication. We have talked out so many hard things. We have had tears. Arguments. We have resolved them.
I have taken time to look at myself and see what I did to cause it. I asked him why he couldn’t just tell me, and his response was, “I was just terrified. I was scared.” I am understanding of our schedules and not seeing each other like we would want to. Maybe I’m more difficult to talk to than I think. Maybe therapy.
Pants on Fire again
Or just a hiatus while you sort this out. It’s possible this was just one mistake, so it might make sense to wait before doing anything drastic – but, at the same time, this isn’t a one-off lie.
Email Carolyn at email@example.com.