Telling Your Partner the Truth: Why it's Not So Easy...
I was trying to recall when was the first time I heard this phrase:
“Liar, liar, pants on fire.”
I know it was sometime very early in grade school.
And I got to thinking that in grade school we would have sensed or heard something that in our grade school heads was an alarm going off that Billy was telling a lie.
I mean we were seven years old or whatever.
But we still had this innate Jedi sense that Billy was fudging a bit on the truth.
What a Lie Feels Like:
We've learned very early on in our lives to tell the truth but sometimes we veer off that road.
Wittingly or unwittingly.
And when you do, you know it.
If you examine this closely, the first perception you will have is how the truth you’re about to tell has trouble getting all of its clothes on before it goes out the door.
You know what you should say, but because of some imagined consequences or whatever from your spouse, partner or colleague, you alter or omit some of the truth.
“Honey, I’m going to be a little bit late. Just finishing up some work at the office. Be home in about an hour.”
See, most of this is true. It’s when you say “finishing up some work,” which is not true, that those little truth cells you uttered, freak out.
You know this feeling.
Just as you begin to alter the truth, it’s like all your truth cells mid their mission to tell the truth, get bug-eyed.
It happens so lightening fast that part of the truth morphs into a lie in nanoseconds and it’s now out there in your wife’s ear canal as she listens on the phone.
Your wife replies, “Okay honey. Thanks for letting me know. Don’t work too hard. See you when you get home.”
And this “finishing up some work” part?
They’re phantom truth cells gone rogue.
They’re in this liar limbo leprosy colony or something now.
They don’t really exist in the real world because you in fact are not "finishing up some work."
You’re off to a sports bar with your buddies.
So these truth cells are like WTF?
See, these truth boys parachuted out of the plane as part of the Whole Truth and Nothing but The Truth Team and now are stranded in this Liar’s Limbo Land.
The Truth Has a Job:
The truth has a job.
The truth boys have had the same job since the beginning of Time.
Their job description is:
“To tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me god.”
So they’re a bit whacked right now.
Your husband asks if you went over budget on your shopping trip and you did but you reply, “No.”
So, now these truth cell gals are forming their own colony in the women’s bathroom in a parallel universe putting their make-up on in a continuous loop into Infinity.
Lies Can Be Habit Forming:
See, it didn’t “hurt” the wife when she heard her husband explain why he was going to be late.
So what’s the big deal?
The big deal is if you can create a truth and then alter it just slightly you form a habit.
I’m sorry, but you will.
Christine: “Honey, I’m going to meet Jennifer at the gym. She needs some girl time. There’s leftover stroganoff in the fridge.”
Jim:“Okay babe, have fun.”
Christine doesn’t go to the gym. She meets Jennifer for drinks. But see her husband hates when his wife has more than one glass of wine, so she changes the story line a tad.
Yes, right now Christine thinks her husband is working late at the office.
And Jim thinks Christine is meeting up with Jennifer for some girl time at the gym.
But see it’s not so much where Jim and Christine were.
It’s what they each did when they came to the moment of truth.
Yes, at first blush when you look at their stories you might think to yourself:
“But it is important where they were...they lied!
Yes, they did lie. But in order of importance's, I would not care so much where my wife was.
But I would care very much if she could not tell me the truth.
The Moment of Truth:
The next time you tell the truth and feel this ancient strand of DNA urge you to alter or omit because of your fear of consequences, just remember this:
Fear is one of man’s most basic instincts.
It has kept him alive when his life was in fact in danger but also made him act irrationally when there was no danger.
So, when your internal memory strand of DNA produces this feeling of “He’ll probably kill me” or “She’ll never let me hear the end of it,” (which is from some past moment) and that strand is woven into your conversation in present time, you have just abandoned your integrity to yourself and your partner in present time.
You will either tell “the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” or you will continue to create a parallel world of liar lepers that wonder, “When the hell are you “finishing up some work?”
Now what happens is the joy of your present time life is being glibly co-opted by some past event.
And this begins to form your default habit of slightly altering the truth.
Don’t look now but as Jim watches the football game with his buddies his pants are on fire.
And as Christine reaches for her glass of Kendall Jackson her nose bonks the edge of her wine glass before she can take a sip.
Because in truth when you form a habit of slightly altering the truth, you know your nose gets longer than a telephone wire.
And truly, it is why at seven-years old on a school playground we said:
“Liar liar pants on fire.”
Because somewhere a long, long time ago they actually were.
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