What Do You Lie To Your Significant Other About?

Illustration for article titled What Do You Lie To Your Significant Other About?

Newsweek's Raina Kelly is "sick of moral absolutism," and says a healthy marriage includes a little lying. We were skeptical — until we remembered all the lies we've told in relationships.


Kelly writes,

[N]ow there's this new spate of advice talking about how lying is bad for a relationship. That is my line in the sand. Marriages cannot exist without dishonesty. [...] I am not suggesting that all lying is good. Adultery, "sexting" with your college boyfriend, saying you're in a meeting when you're at the racetrack, or telling your spouse that your parents are dead when they live in Boca are not acceptable lies. I'm talking about fibs. Things like "You look like you lost more weight" or "You're right-that person from work is a dummy" or "I love spending time with your friends."

I'm not sure there's really a crusade afoot to end white lies in marriage, but Kelly's piece is kind of apt even if not strictly necessary. She writes, "spouses are always trying to trick you into admitting something they think you secretly believe." I've never been married, but I have forced boyfriends into some pretty stereotypical "you hate this skirt, don't you?" discussions — some of which might have gone better if the guy in question had just lied. And I've told lies less white than, "I love spending time with your friends." Below are a sampling of some things I and the rest of the Jezebel staff have lied to a significant other about (anonymous of course):

— having feelings for an ex
— being mad
— being jealous
— liking jazz
— disliking his friends
— "when i'm out, what time i will be home"
— "how few guys I've been with"
— whether "this guy i met at a party" is actually "this guy i slept with a couple of times"
— replacing "my ex boyfriend" with "this kid I knew at school" or "I knew someone once who..."
— "how old I was when I lost my virginity"
— smoking pot
— past abortions
— cheating
— liking cheap beer, especially Pabst Blue Ribbon
— spending money on clothes
— picking at zits
— picking at his zits
— liking South Park
— having an orgasm

Kelly closes her piece with the claim that "you do need lies to take the place of the hormonal rush you got when you first met. That hormonal rush may get you into a relationship, but it's the little lies that keep you there." Lying to keep things exciting sounds a little sad, but it's probably not so bad to tell small lies to keep the peace when you're no longer so gooey that you forgive each other for everything. Some of my lies, though, have been meant to camouflage emotions I wasn't "supposed" to have (mostly anger), and those emotions have usually ended up coming out in other ways. I'm still not sure when, if ever, it's healthy for me to lie and say "I'm fine." But I'll probably always tell a few white lies in relationships, and I expect anyone I'm with will too. Maybe I even hope so — innocent skirts have gone to Goodwill because certain people just had to tell the truth.

Married, With Lies [Newsweek]



I always find this curious. I lie because people won't accept the truth. I lie for the following reasons: one cannot accept the truth without having a hissy fit, acting as if somehow the entire world changed, or attempting to talk me out of something, or just plaining judging me for my choices, and finally because it is none of your business.

I used to lie to mom all the time when I was a teenager. She was so strict and I was never allowed to do anything (example 1 dance a year and I had to beg for that or no going out on school nights etc.). Anyway I would get busted and she would ask me why I lied. I always thought that was a stupid question. Well, ma, I lied because you wouldn't let me do what I wanted and if I just did it you hollar at me until the dead woke up sooo...not alot of choices there huh?

This is to say that most of us lie when we realize that the other person is looking for a specific answer that fits into their rigid veiws and are not looking to comprise or discuss the issue but force us to agree or conform to their wishes. In that sense the truth is moot so why not lie?