Monday, January 25, 2010

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

It's not the sex, it's the dishonesty, say many women who've been cheated on. Which is why even emotional affairs, in which there's no sex, can be as devastating a blow to a marriage as full-frontal betrayal.
It seems counterintuitive. When we have yet to be struck by betrayal, and we're hypothetically working out how we might respond, few of us, I would guess, say, "the sex is okay, but he'd better not lie to me about it!" We think that it's the sex outside the marriage that's the biggie. Then it happens. And a lot of us realize that it's the dishonesty – the steady buildup of outright lies, lies by omission, blurring of truth – that creates the biggest hurdle to get over.
When your reality turns out to be fiction, your whole world seems topsy-turvy. And betrayal becomes trauma. Nothing feels safe. No-one is to be trusted.
It's important to recognize that believing someone you love isn't stupidity. It isn't gullibility. It's generally loyalty. And trust.
But it's equally important to recognize if there was a voice, even a really quiet one, urging you to question. To investigate. To delve deeper into something that just didn't feel right.
That voice is your wiser self. The one we need to learn to listen to. The one too many of us have silenced over the years.
I've often heard betrayed wives, post-betrayal, note that they knew their husbands were lying because their mouths were moving.
Liars will lie. Once we know this, we act accordingly. And protect ourselves.
If your spouse, who's lied in the past, expects you to trust again, he needs to recognize it won't be easy.
It will require complete transparency on his part. He will have to answer any and all questions with absolute honesty and be prepared to prove that he's telling the truth, if you ask.
Your new code of conduct? Trust but verify. Need to check his cell phone messages? Go ahead. Want to see his Facebook messages. Right on.
Be careful you're not pain shopping (more on that in a later post – basically it refers to behaviour that prolongs the agony unnecessarily). But if you're genuinely feeling anxious and need proof that he's being honest, then he should be happy to give it to you. Each time you question and he proves himself moves both of you a bit farther along the path of healing.
If he's giving you a hard time about it, he clearly just doesn't get it. He lied. He betrayed. The onus is on him to support you in your healing.
Betrayal is a bitch.

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