Dear Readers - Two very different Readers’ Commentaries on honesty in a relationship - Regarding the man who lied about changing his dating profile photo to attract more women while dating someone for several months (March 10):
Reader #1 – “At age 30, after a breakup from a long relationship, I met someone new. He was different from any other man I’d known or dated. There was an immediate attraction between us which we both acknowledged. However, though he’d separated from his wife six months earlier, he said he was worrying over the effects on his two children.
“I quickly stated that his kids came first, and we shouldn’t get more involved with each other or it’d become complicated and cause pain to both of us. That was 12 years ago.
“A couple of months later, a friend of his whom I’d met suggested I join a small group celebrating one couple’s engagement. He pointedly said that my very short-term “interest” was out of town with his family. That night, I foolishly drank too much and had sex with his so-called friend.
“I hated myself for my behaviour and avoided that man ever after.
“More than three years later, the man who’d haunted my dreams phoned me, saying that he’d divorced his wife, had joint custody of his children and had developed a decent relationship with them. He wanted to meet. I was terrified but knew I’d have to be honest even if it meant losing him again.
“We met in a park and I immediately told him of my shame. He said I had every right to be out with that person that night; I was a single, mature woman and that whatever happened was unrelated to him at that time.
“I couldn’t believe how quickly he accepted my unpleasant truth!
“We’ve been married for eight years now and he’s still special in so many ways. His children are doing well, both of them comfortable with me. I feel incredibly lucky.”
Reader #2 – “My ex-husband lied to me regarding where he and his parents lived when we first met. To cover up his lie, he did not take me to his parent’s house for three months. We would visit his sister instead.
“When he finally did take me to meet his parents, was when I became aware of the lie.
“But I blinded myself to it, married him and endured 13 years of listening to his lies to me and to others.
“Based on that experience, I believe in the saying, “Once a liar, always a liar.” The reason that I blinded myself to the initial lie because I had low self-esteem and felt that no one else would want me.”
Ellie-Self-esteem is within you to develop and grow.
As children, we unknowingly assess ourselves through our parents’ attitudes towards us. Unfortunately, some aren’t positive sources.
But as we develop opinions, we discover some facts - e.g., you’re a person who doesn’t trust people who lie. That trait becomes part of your self-esteem for being honest. And brave, too, because you finally recognized your own value and left a husband you couldn’t respect.
Glenn R. Schiraldi, PhD, author of The Self Esteem Workbook, describes healthy self-esteem as a realistic, appreciative opinion of oneself. He writes, “Unconditional human worth assumes that each of us is born with all the capacities needed to live fruitfully, although everyone has a different mix of skills, which are at different levels of development.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who told the marital therapist he saw no reason for a separation (March 12):
Reader – “There are glaring clues here about this man, the most obvious one being that he says he’s “now dating a woman I like a lot and may eventually marry.” He does NOT say, “who I may ask if she will marry me.”
“His life is fine and if someone else's isn't fine, that isn't his problem!”
Ellie - You’re correct that this husband has no clue about the differences that existed between him and his wife.
They’ve separated. But at least he finally wants to understand what went wrong.
As I said in my column response: In most breakups, it’s not so much about one person’s fault(s) as about a lack of open/honest communication about feelings and situations left to build up and come between the couple.
Tip of the day:
A difficult truth may be hard to confess but withholding it, easily damages a relationship.