My girlfriend promises to stop lying
Hi, my girlfriend and I have been dating almost three years and my trust for her is at its low point. When we first started dating, she was lying about everything, not always big issues, but everything.
So we had a talk, and she promised me that she would stop lying to me. Things were good for about a year, but then I caught her in another lie. We had another big talk, and she promised again that she would stop.
Now it’s about another year later (last week) and I caught her in another big lie. We sat down and had the biggest talk this time. I asked if she has been lying to me the whole time, and she claims that this was the only time, and once again, she promised that she would never lie to me again.
Right now, I need some help with the following questions:
Should I believe that those are the only lies she’s told me?
If she has lied about these things, how do I know she’s not cheating on me, and just not telling me?
What are steps that she and I can take to rebuild trust again?
Most people lie from time to time for a variety of reasons—to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, to avoid conflict, to cover one’s mistakes, and so on (see advantages of lying).
For most people, however, their natural response is to tell the truth, especially in a close relationship. If your girlfriend’s typical response is to lie, you may want to consider the possibility that she has a problem with compulsive lying (see compulsive lying).
As for your questions, you’ve probably only discovered a small fraction of the lies you’ve been told. As a general rule, most lies never get detected. For a variety of reasons, liars have the advantage when it comes to concealing the truth in a close relationship (see love is blind).
But, just because your girlfriend has been lying to you, does not necessarily mean that she has been unfaithful to you. While infidelity causes people to lie, lying doesn’t necessarily indicate that a person has been cheating. With that said, chronic lying in a relationship DOES indicate a willingness by your girlfriend to put her needs ahead of yours. Overall, it is probably in your best interest to gather more information before you make any decisions about your girlfriend’s fidelity (see catch a cheating partner).
Finally, trust is very difficult to rebuild, especially when an issue keeps reemerging. Making matters more complicated, trust is almost impossible to rebuild until you are confident that you’ve been told the truth (see surviving infidelity).
Confronting the problem and talking to your girlfriend are probably not going to solve the problem (see confronting a partner). Most likely, she will make promises to change her behavior. Such promises, as you have discovered, rarely result in a change in behavior. Changing one’s behavior requires understanding the reasons underlying one’s actions and taking steps to address those underlying motivations. This, of course, is always easier said than done.
And if you haven’t done so already, it might help to read the section on rebuilding trust.
We wish you the best of luck.
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