Part Two of leftover questions from my online chat, How Lying Affects Relationships (September 30):
My husband lies about where he’s going, where he’s been, and what he’s been doing.
If he comes home after work, three hours later than usual, he’ll say he visited a friend. But when I say that’s not true because his friend called while he was out, he just gets angry and says he’s not punching a clock in his home.
But I’ve been waiting with a cooked dinner getting cold and tasteless, and think I deserve an explanation.
He also lies about visiting his brother who’s a big drinker. He’ll say he’s going to the store, but then he returns four hours later reeking of beer himself.
I feel his lying shows me no respect.
Lying is the cover-up for his behaviour, alcohol the issue, and disrespect a by-product.
Your husband knows you disapprove of his brother’s drinking, so he lies about his absences, whether with his brother or on his own. When caught out, he distracts you with anger.
This repeated script, which ends with a fight, has become your pattern for living together.
Meanwhile, you both avoid seeing the elephants in the room – possible alcoholism of your husband, not just his brother, and the growing gulf between you two.
You need marital counselling to try to re-connect as partners, and, if necessary, your husband’s willing alcohol reduction or a recovery program.
If neither of you makes the effort, you’ll continue in this unhealthy way, till one of you leaves.
My husband of three years is always evasive about money. He won’t share a joint account for expenses; instead, he gives me a monthly sum to pay bills.
Then he periodically says he can’t give the full amount because he earned less. How much less? “It’s complicated.”
He’s had his own business for years and feels “the books” are private.
So when he buys a new, expensive techie “toy” for himself, or goes off on a fishing trip with friends, there’s still no explanation why there’s less money that month for our regular bills.
When I press for answers, he storms out the door. Isn’t this a form of “lying?”
Lies about cheating and money are the two most common ones that affect couples. Whether you define his evasions on money as lying, his behaviour regarding spending and bills can be the deal-breaker in your marriage.
Even if his business has long been his own, the budget that you two live on is not “private.”
(He’d find that out in a legal separation, whereby he’d have to open up his books regarding support.)
So, since your marriage is still young, you two need to get on a better footing about how you share incomes and expenses.
It’s worth the cost of a neutral advisor, or a professional money manager, to help you set up your budget and money-management, including personal added expenses.
Lies and mystery about finances are trust-breakers in a serious relationship. They can be as disruptive to the bond of trust as infidelity.
And trust is easily broken if one of the partners constantly lies about what’s supposed to be a mutual effort in your partnership, of making ends meet.
Your husband needs to learn that not being open about money creates problems that go far beyond whether he can spend as he pleases - your marriage is what’s at stake.
I lied as a child to avoid my strict mother’s punishments. Having to remember those lies made me very anxious.
But with school friends, I’d tell stories about things they couldn’t check.
Now, I’m having trouble with dating relationships.
I’ve had to end things with two guys I really liked because I knew they’d discover I’m not as interesting as I made up.
You’re on the right track of awareness.
Had you stayed in either of those relationships, you’d have become even more deceptive and more anxious.
You need professional counselling to break the pattern, and you’re ready for it now, so don’t hesitate.
There’s no shame in admitting and working to change something that can improve your life.
There were reasons why you made up stories. Now you need to build the self-confidence that proves those reasons unnecessary.
Therapy can help you, but most important is your desire to overcome this.
Tip of the day:
Lying comes with a huge cost of relationship failure and anxiety about being exposed.