My girlfriend lied to me about seeing her ex

I have been dating my girlfriend for about seven months now. I am very much in love with her but she is a compulsive liar. She has only been in one previous relationship that lasted about three years, which she claims was miserable about half way through.

In the past six months she has lied to me several times about many things. Things such as seeing her ex, going for car rides with her ex to "just talk." She claims that the reason she lied is because she felt like she had to, and that she was ashamed of her actions and afraid of my reaction.

Most recently when at her apartment I found some sexual items in her underwear drawer, edible body paints and massage oil. I wasn’t snooping either, I was leaving love notes for her to find after I left.

When I asked her where the items came from she replied that she had gotten them from a friend for us, but was embarrassed to tell me because she didn’t want to seem like she couldn’t please me without help. That was the first lie.

I called the supposed friend and she said she never gave my girlfriend any toys. My girlfriend then said she got them herself. That was lie number two.

Now finally the truth cam out about two months later that they were a 3 year anniversary gift from the ex. But every time she tried to explain her story as to why she hid them, and held on to them, her story changed. I refused to accept that she received them as a gift in the first place, that she would hold on to them in the second place, and that they were never used as they were open.

She claims she opened them, intent on never using them, just to have a taste. After all that garbage she finally comes out and says “I lied to you because I was ashamed, I didn’t want you to think I was a freak, or a slut, and that I had cheated on you." I don’t understand this logic.

It seems to me that someone who was innocent would not go to such great lengths to lie about something, if she was innocent.

I see this as her confessing to being unfaithful without saying it.

Mind you I have continued to take her back and forgive her for all her lies about everything else, but my instincts are that she has cheated, but won’t admit it because she knows I will leave her.

What should I do? Assume that she has cheated, even though she claims she has only been with her previous lover, and me?

Or should I give her the benefit of the doubt that she is being honest?

Please help, this is killing me inside. Thank you.


Unfortunately, your girlfriend is lying to you about issues that couples commonly lie to each other about.

Romantic partners often lie about their sexual history and contact with an ex (see what lovers lie about). In fact, it is common for people to keep in contact with an ex—given that they shared a history together (see why talk to an ex).

And from our perspective, the lying you describe sounds more like a relational issue than a problem with compulsive lying (see compulsive lying). Lying is often a relational dynamic in the sense that deception occurs because of how both partners respond to situations.

If you behave in ways that seem invasive (i.e., going through her things, double checking her stories with her friends) and she fears how you are going to react to the truth, it might help to look at how your behavior contributes to the problem at hand (see when lovers lie).

How do you typically respond when she tells you something that you don’t like to hear? Are you accepting and understanding or do you punish her somehow (i.e., sulk, pout, get upset, display anger)? There are many things that you can do to get your girlfriend to be more honest with you in the future, rather than blaming her entirely for what happened (see get others to be honest).

And it may help to consider that all relationships, even very healthy relationships involve some deception and concealment. Love is both rewarding and constraining, and as such, all close relationships require a delicate between openness and privacy, truth and lies (see why people lie).

Finally, if your girlfriend was with her ex for three years and the items you discovered were from their third year anniversary, why would you assume that she cheated on you?

Overall, the more freedom, acceptance and understanding you can provide—typically, the more honest and candid others will be with you. And it might help to consider the possibility that the problems you are currently experiencing are more about issues of control and respect than truth and honesty (see relationship dynamics).

We are not trying to say that your girlfriend is not at fault—just that the fault often falls somewhere in the middle—both people are typically responsible for what happens in a relationship. Realizing this can help you solve the underlying problem and avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over.

 control issues | her ex-boyfriend | past sexual history | suspect cheating | unpleasant discovery

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