Love the Way You Lie


Dear Dharma, 

I am having a problem with my girlfriend.  I have noticed for a while that she occasionally tells me things that are not quite true. Things like she was at the library when she was really at the mall, or had lunch with Sue when it was really coffee with Mary (I have changed the names).

Now I realize that it is much more common, and always about really stupid small things – she bought gas at the Shell instead of the Esso or the groceries are from Save-On when I can see the bags are all from Loblaws.  I confronted her and she laughed it off, like I was the weirdo for caring where the groceries came from.

Obviously, I don’t care where the groceries came from, and if it wasn’t for the lying, nothing she has done would cause me any concern.  Am I overreacting to something that really is no big deal?

Sleepless in Seattle (actually Restless in Redmond)

Dear Redmond,

Yeah, it’s not really a big deal, you’re the one with the problem, and you are totally overreacting.

Ha, see what I did there?  I lied to you.

Not cool, right?  You asked me questions, looking for honesty and guidance, and I gave you crap.  Is that a problem?  Yeah, I would say that it is!

I can’t tell if your girlfriend is a compulsive liar or a pathological one and the differences between the two seem very grey from the things I’ve read.  But this kind of sounds like her, non?

“Pathological lying can be described as a habituation of lying. It is when an individual consistently lies for no personal gain. The lies are commonly transparent and often seem rather pointless.

Grocery bags from Loblaws and the claim to have shopped at Save-On… Transparent and pointless, right?

Another characteristic is to manipulate the situation to make you feel like you are the one overreacting.  It takes the focus off her behaviour and makes it all about you.  And it works!  You start defending yourself, the conversation swerves all over the place, and the next thing you know it’s another unresolved argument, with you feeling oddly guilty and probably more than a little steamrolled.

You are completely right, it doesn’t matter one whit where the bacon comes from, nor where she fuels up (except that they take Aeroplan at Esso, so really, why wouldn’t you).  However, the fact that you are constantly dealing with these micro lies must make you wonder if she’s being dishonest about things that really could matter.  Over time, how can this not destroy the foundation of your relationship?  Without trust, what have you?

So first you have to make a decision – is this a deal breaker?  If no, well then, carry on and find ways to not care.  However, if it’s going to eat away at you on a regular basis, then I recommend you re-evaluate your position.

If yes, it’s a deal breaker and you don’t want to live this way, you need to explain your stance to your beloved and then give her some choices of her own.  Like first admitting there is a problem – or not…  That in itself should tell you how to proceed.  If she can bring herself to man up, that would be a great start, and should open the door for a constructive conversation about what the next steps are.

Which I really think involves a counsellor – either for the both of you, or just her… but I don’t know, if it was me dealing with a possible compulsive or pathological liar, I think I would want to be part of the initial sessions… you know, just in case.



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  • Anonymous says:

    to turn it around and make this about your reaction is for sure her way of deflecting, and this is a problem that needs to be addressed. If she won’t then I think it would be a pretty hard situation to live with for the rest of your life. it would drive me crazy.

  • wasn't me says:

    Life is way too short to be stuck with some kind of batshit crazy ass lying cow!
    Whatever you think the benefits are of this relationship, the drawbacks are WAY more!
    4th and long buddy! time to punt. just sayin’ from experience, anyone who can’t help but lie over the small things, can’t help but lie over the big things too…

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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