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Even though it destroys trust, we all lie sometimes. Lies range from “little white lies” to “big whoppers.”
The reason people lie varies, too.
We lie to avoid conflict, to save face, to pretend to be something we’re not and to hide actions we’re ashamed of or that have broken an agreement.
After catching him in a lie, take the time to get clear first. Get clear about what you know about the lie and the larger context of your relationship.
Lying often happens when one person (or both) feels unsafe telling the truth. This might be because of the other person’s jealousy, frequent arguments or past experiences that sent that message.
When you acknowledge your partner may be lying because of safety and trust problems in your relationship, this does NOT mean it’s all your fault.
He is responsible for lying and you also need to actively work to create an environment that promotes honesty and doesn’t prevent it.
The words you use when your partner communicates with you can help create a sense of safety and openness, even when you don’t like or agree with what he’s saying.
Use these four phrases to send the message it’s safe to be honest:
It’s tempting to follow up anything – including a statement of love – with the word “but” when talking about a sensitive subject. “But” feels like a negation of the words that come before it.
Substitute “and” instead, which helps your partner stay open and know you truly care.
“When you are upfront about what you
want, that’s what you tend to get.”
Get into the habit of being curious with your partner. If you feel triggered or worried about what he is telling you, ask for clarification in a way that isn’t blaming or accusatory.
Another curiosity phrase that keeps the conversation open and promotes honesty is a request for help. Ask your partner to help you understand instead of launching into a criticism or a dismissal of what he’s said.
When you are upfront about what you DO want more of in your relationship, that’s what you tend to get.
You can even use this phrase to create an agreement with your partner that banishes lying.
“Here’s what I’d like. I’d like us both to feel safe being completely honest with one another. What can I do to help make that happen?”