Doctor Love: Pants on Fire

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

Readers email your question to [email protected] Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling, and length

Dear Doctor Love,
My marriage is in trouble, and it’s my fault. I have a habit that I know hurts my wife, yet I don’t stop. I promise to stop, but I don’t, she finds out I’m still doing it, and then I tell a lie or make an excuse to get out of it. Naturally, this hurts her even more. It has become a terrible cycle of lies and hurt.
I’m disgusted with myself when I fail to stop, but I constantly look for new ways to hide my actions. Then I feel even worse when I see the look in her eyes when she knows I’m lying to cover it up.
She doesn’t deserve to be treated so badly, and it kills me to know that I betray her trust. If I lose her, I lose the best thing in my life. But I know I’ll do it again and try to hide it. If she asks, I’ll lie again. Every other part of our marriage is wonderful. How do I get control of this thing that can ruin us?
/s/Pants on Fire

Dear Fire,
Everyone lies. Little white lies help us save face, they protect the feelings of others, and they get us out of uncomfortable situations. Little lies are a normal human attribute.
It’s when little lies become big lies, we tell to hide a secret that lying threatens a relationship.
Continuously lying makes you feel terrible but lying is usually not where the problem begins—it’s used to cover up the real problem.
You lie to hide behavior from your wife, so the first step is to understand why you can’t control the behavior. Was there a life-altering episode in your childhood or youth that makes it remain part of your mental make-up? Do you believe that your habit shouldn’t be an issue, so you do it in protest her demands that you stop? Figuring out why you do it to the detriment of your marriage is the key to stopping the lies.
Trust is fragile, and you must ask yourself why you break the trust of a woman you obviously love very much. Honesty may be painful but not as painful as the results of a lie. Try to get to the root of the problem together in a calm and reasonable discussion and if you find it too difficult, get online help with a relationship counselor. Anonymity might make you more comfortable and allow you to open and find out the real reason behind your behavior. Breaking the habit will end the lies.

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