The Problem with Little White Lies

I once heard the story of a man whose wife divorced him after he lied about putting out the trash. This was in the aftermath of an affair.

He said that he had done it when he hadn’t done it yet – and that was enough to tip the scales, for her.   

Over the top? Perhaps it seems that way. But maybe you would feel that it was understandable if you had been lied to, and betrayed, by your spouse.

Why the Strong Reaction?

If you have been betrayed then you have also been deceived. And the decision to betray you was a serious breach of trust. It’s also very hard to recover from.

In contrast, if you are the betrayer then it’s likely you will think:

But I never deceived you about anything else. It was only about sex. And you can understand why. Of course, I was afraid to be honest with you.”

And, yes, we understand it – but it doesn’t change a thing. It doesn’t change the fact that the betrayal’s wrecked our life. For, if you choose to lie about the big, important things, it means I cannot trust you with the smallest thing at all.

That’s why you must be honest, and be honest all the time. And even when it’s something that seems insignificant.

The sex therapist, Rob Weiss, puts it this way[1]:

Relationship trust is not automatically rebuilt just because you stopped cheating, nor is it rebuilt because you managed to stay stopped for a certain amount of time. Instead, relationship trust is regained through … being rigorously honest about pretty much everything, all the time, from now on … With rigorous honesty you tell the truth and you tell it sooner. You keep your spouse in the loop about absolutely everything: spending, trips to the gym, gifts for the kinds, issues at work, needing to fertilize the lawn, and, on yeah, interactions she might not approve of. If your spouse would want to know, then you tell her. Period.”      

So, after a betrayal you can’t peddle in white lies. For if you do, prepare for the relationship to end.   

[1] Weiss, R. (2017). Out of the dog house: A step-by-step relationship-saving guide for men caught cheating. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc.

4 thoughts on “The Problem with Little White Lies

  1. Distrust will always accompany betrayal

    There will always be questions and doubts after someone betrays you

    The next person we become involved with will have to deal with our distrust

    Being abused as a kid, and having complex PTSD, made betrayal devastating for me

    I never trusted again

    Some betrayals have lasting consequences


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