White Lies – and lots of them!
There is a significant age gap between my boyfriend and I. I’m a 27 year old woman and my boyfriend is 21.
He’s pretty mature for his age, and in many ways he’s a lot more mature than what I was at 21, BUT there are some things he hasn’t learnt/mastered yet. This is bugging me and it’s hurting our relationship.
My boyfriend is lying to me. Again and again. White lies as well as big, big lies.
Am I to let our relationship and our love die because of this? And when is ‘enough enough’?
I’m not trying to make it out like I’m a saint – I’m definitely not. I check his phone time and time again. It’s usually about his whereabouts or finances.
He has a friend that I don’t like, because he’s not a good influence and I honestly don’t like who my boyfriend turns into when he’s around this friend of his. And so, my boyfriend has started lying to me about seeing this friend. He lies about being at home when he’s not, and them smoking joints.
He’s roughly a couple of visits a week, and maybe once a month he lies about being at his friend’s place.
The other thing is finances. I just discovered that he’s taking (yet another) ‘quick loan’, and that he’s purchased goods from L’Easy. All together it’s about $1,700-2,000. This is a crazy amount of money.
He’s blaming a lot on his poor relationship with his father, and he tells me that these things are “presents” from his dad apologising for him not being there for him.
And he’s also explaining it with a TV-package refunding him a large amount of $1,200, and this is why he has extra funds on his credit card.
He’s well aware that I won’t accept this, and this is why he’s lying to me about it.
Over time, I’ve discovered a lot of big lies as well as small, white lies. I’ve confronted him and he always promise me he won’t lie to me again – as in “hand-on-heart-teary-eyes”-promise. But I can’t trust him on this now, can I?
It’s so hard for me to work out whether this is a deal-breaker in an otherwise loving and pretty well-functioning relationship, where we both support and challenge one another. We feel like better versions of ourselves together, and our daily life in our shared apartment works really well.
I do, however, sometimes feel that I’m wasting my time with him, when I hear myself think about all of this. He still has many years of ‘being young’, and I’m rapidly approaching 30.
I’m not in a rush or anything, but my biological clock is ticking a lot more than his male-teenage-yet-pretty-mature clock is.
I’ve often though about writing to you, and I deeply hope you’ll get back to me.
White Lies – He keeps lying to me
Thank you so much for your e-mail and your very relevant question.
I honestly don’t think you would believe it, if you knew just how many questions I receive regarding big lies as well as little white lies.
When “enough is enough”, where do you draw the line, what to put up with, how to stop lying, etc., etc., etc.
You’re telling me that there’s an age gap between the two of you, but that your boyfriend is quite “mature” for his age.
What you mean with “mature for his age” is a bit difficult for me to see there; what I do see is that, in my eyes, he’s most certainly not very mature.
Maturity, for me, is about taking responsibility for your own actions.
And he does not do this.
When things are a bit hard, he lies.
You’re telling me that he “only” lies about finances, and about who he’s spending time with.
I’m sorry to say this, but this right here is you lying to yourself!
He’s ALSO lying to you about not lying anymore, about smoking joints, about his dad blah, blah, blah… I could go on.
You might be filing his little, white lies into two categories “who he spends time with” + “finances”, but come on, be honest with yourself! Remove those blinders, my friend! Immediately.
He’s lying to you.
Again and again.
Long, confusing stories all with the intention of saving his own ass, because he’s not mature enough to take responsibility for his own actions and for the behavior he’s displaying.
What I see very clearly is that he lies to you when things get uncomfortable for him. This is why it’s my hypothesis that things will only get worse, and he’ll be lying about a whole lot more stuff, if he doesn’t change his course very soon.
There’ll only be more and more things for him to lie about, more categories so to speak. Life will, throughout his 20s and 30s be filled with more themes/more categories.
Every time he hits a ‘sore spot’ that he’s not prepared to own, he throws a white lie in your face. A little, white lie that makes the truth look nicer than what it really is. It’ll be a quick warmth, but oh dear, it’ll soon begin to stink. He just hasn’t realized this yet. Speaking of telling the truth…
You’re telling me that you can’t accept his lies.
you are actually accepting them.
If you didn’t accept them, you would’ve left a long time ago, when you realized he wasn’t going to change his behavior.
We teach other people hos to treat us.
By setting boundaries.
If they overstep these boundaries, and we don’t react to it, we teach these people that we don’t actually respect our own boundaries.
I know you get upset and angry, and there’s a conflict.
There hasn’t been any actual consequence for him.
The result of it all is that he makes you extremely upset and left feeling very insecure about it all. The trust goes out the window, etc.
However, it seems quite evident to me that it’s OK for him to live this way.
There are so (so, so, so) many people in this world who would never find this OK. Would you be able to live with treating your partner this way, knowing full well what it does to him?
He’s been doing this for years, right?
So why would he change?
Things will be OK again.
You’ll be “ok” again.
He gets away with doing exactly as he pleases, knowing he can “just” lie his way out of any situation, and things will be OK. To him, and to his emotions, and his life, there just are not enough consequences – or rather, not any consequences that are “severe enough” for him to change his ways.
If he had wanted a change, he would’ve made the change.
Or at the very least, started to change, or had looked for professional help to help him change.
He would’ve done all this if changing the state of things was a burning desire.
A mature partner would’ve entered into a dialogue with you, and he would’ve spoken to you about what you guys could do, how he could get some help etc.
A mature and responsible boyfriend would react to your problem and realize that if it’s a problem for you, it’s a problem for him. And yes, he’d stop lying. Most of us learn from a very young age, that lying is wrong. It doesn’t seem like there are any sign of him changing even in the slightest.
He’s still seeing his mate.
He’s still smoking weed with him.
Still taking out ridiculous loans.
And he’s still lying to you about it all.
He’s totally got the whole attitude of “it’ll be fine-whatever”, and this tells me something or other about his ability to be in a mature, healthy and well-functioning relationship (romantic as well as non-romantic).
Am I judging him?
I’m just describing what I’m being told. Him lying and telling little, white lies time and time again certainly doesn’t make him a ‘second class human being’. No.
It simply makes him a person that I personally wouldn’t want in my life.
Just like I don’t want people close to me, who are abusing drugs of any kind or be in a relationship with someone who is unfaithful to me over and over again.
This is a type of behavior that some people can live with. I just cant. I’ve learnt that and I’m choosing to fully accept and respect that I can’t.
Maj, aren’t you being a bit harsh right now?
But I’ve tried having several people close to me, who’d tell the truth however they saw fit. What they all had in common was that they made me feel confused, upset, and it all gave me a lot of drama in my life. Drama I spent countless hours cleaning up.
Be it girlfriends, work colleagues, romantic relationships, family… I’m just not having it. If people want to be close to me, I have to be able to trust them. It’s just not up for debate.
MY life is too short to be around people who can look me in the eyes and lie without even batting an eyelid; telling me lies that are all designed to save their own ass.
This only leaves me feeling insecure, not trusting them, AND it’s making me question MYSELF and my own experiences.
I don’t want that in my life.
Is it a deal breaker?
You’re asking me when enough is enough.
And that is such a good question.
Everyone has the right to ‘make a wrong step’ to some degree. This ‘degree’ of ‘mistakes’ is up to the individual partner/person to determine what’s acceptable.
*** Some people can live with their partner cheating on them, as long as it never happens again.
*** Some people can live with their partner having had an alcohol problem, as long as it doesn’t become a problem again.
*** Some people can live with people telling them things that aren’t true, if this behavior is corrected and it doesn’t happen again in the future.
No one is perfect.
But some type of behavior is more hurtful than others.
Again, it’s up to you to decide whether his white lies are big, complex lies, that have ruined your trust in him so much so that you don’t wish to be with him anymore.
In my world, I use certain ‘parameters’ when entering into a relationship (of any kind). I also use these when working with singles who want to find themselves a partner.
- The willingness to change insensible behavior. This is one of the parameters. People screw up. We all do. You can’t avoid this. But are we willing to change this ‘messing up’? Are we willing to change our behavior? Yes or no?
The “willingness” to change is all about realizing that what you’re doing is insensible and doesn’t match up with how you want to live your life, and realizing that this is an insensible way to be in a relationship.
It honestly doesn’t sound very much like your boyfriend is very willing to change anything.
Not at all.
Regardless of tears and “I promise it won’t happen again” when you call him out.
There’s also the question of kids and the future:
Would you be proud to have a child with him?
A son, for instance, who’d display the type of behavior your boyfriend is showing you?
This might sound a bit odd.
Hear me out.
If he doesn’t change his ways, you guys stay together, you have a couple of kids etc.
Would you be standing there in 20 years time thinking: “Wow, I’m so proud of my child!” If they were behaving like their dad?
If the answer to that question is a big, fat NO, then this tells you something about whether to stay or go…
You’ll come a long way reflecting on these two points.
I don’t think you’ll be reflecting on this for very long. The fact that you’re even writing to me is a sign. Deep down, you know what you’re willing to put up with and where your boundaries are. Your boundaries are exactly where you’re telling me it’s being crossed.
Not just once.
Again, and again, and again, and again!
The question isn’t where the line is – the question is whether you choose to respect your own limits or not. So far, you haven’t.
THIS behavior has left you in a non-functioning relationship.
Because even though you tell me that it’s well-functioning and you give me examples of times where you guys are good together, I’ll be very honest with you and tell you that I don’t define a relationship as being well-functioning if someone is lying to their partner again and again, and continues to create distrust.
Lies and mistrust, to ME, are deal breakers.
It’s a non-negotiable that there’s absolute trust. If you lie to me, you must realize that this, in no way, was OK, and you will have to change your behavior if you want a relationship with me.
If you don’t change your behavior, despite telling me you will, and I catch you lying to me again, well… bye-bye then. I’d tell you goodbye DESPITE the fact that the other 99.5% of our relationship was lovely, and despite the fact that I’d miss all of the good stuff.
If you told me that your boyfriend was genuinely sorry about having lied, if he’d realized that he just couldn’t help it and had looked for professional help to get better, then things would’ve been different.
He’s caught with his hands in the cookie jar again and again. He’s weeping like a child, crying and promising you the world. Then he walks out the door and does exactly as he pleases without even considering you.
He’s allowed to do this. Definitely.
The question is merely who’ll be standing by his side as his girlfriend. It won’t be me, and I’m strongly doubting it’ll be you in the long run.
You only have one life.
It might be over in 3 years.
This day today is never coming back.
You’re in full control over who you want in your life.
Sit down and really feel it.
Decide for yourself, looking at what is done, and decide if this is good for you or not.
Don’t decide based on what he says he’ll do.
Decide based on what he is actually doing.
Best but very stern (!) wishes,
Maj Wismann – Clinical Sexologist and Couple’s Therapist with own private practice since 2006.
Did you find the article useful?
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★ I'm lying to my boyfriend - how do I stop it?
★ I don't trust my boyfriend - what do I do?
★ Have you also been in a relationship that’s been riddled with lies? Big lies? Little, white lies? Did you perhaps manage to turn things around and solve the problem? Or did you find that your partner wouldn’t stop lying either? It’d be great to hear from both men and women who are, or who have been, in a situation similar to this one. I’d love to hear your story and your experiences.
*Please remember to keep a nice tone. ALL negative comments will be deleted immediately. I wish to create a positive and supporting space where we can support each other, and I therefore have a zero-tolerance policy towards rudeness, condescension, negative inputs and disrespect.