My husband isn’t completely honest with me

My husband and I have been together for 10 years and have 3 beautiful children together. I knew that he would lie to me about things here and there to spare my feelings. I haven’t always agreed with some of his choices and have made that very clear. Over the years, the lies and deception have become increasingly common. I don’t feel like I can trust anything that he says anymore.

I don’t even believe that he is at work when he says he is. I think he leaves early to go fishing or hang out with friends. He lies about it out of guilt or because he doesn’t want to deal with my reaction. I feel like a complete idiot for being deceived for so long! Over the past 2 years, it has really started to weigh heavily on me. As far as I know, he has never been unfaithful and it has only been lies to cover up little things. Unfortunately, I can’t be certain.

I have told him that if he can’t start telling me the truth and being open with me, that I am going to leave him. I don’t want to leave him, though. I just want honesty, but no matter how hard I push for it, it isn’t going to happen. Is it possible for him to be truthful? Should I give up on my idea of having an honest relationship? Is it possible to be happily married to someone who isn’t trustworthy?

Response:

The research on this is abundantly clear—the best relationships are built on both the use of truth and deception. Its important for couples to share the important things in life—their goals, desires, and wishes. It’s also critical for couples to share their feelings, frustrations and disappointments.

With that said, relationships are complicated. Just because you are sharing a life with someone doesn’t mean you completely give up your need for privacy and autonomy. Most people like to feel they still have aspects of themselves outside of their relationships. And most people like the intimacy that relationships provide. The trick is to balance the need for intimacy with the need for some autonomy. Balancing the need for intimacy and privacy in a relationship is a common and difficult thing to do (we have a book coming out soon on this very topic).

Our best advice is not to use threats or ultimatums to get your husband to disclose everything to you. Being fearful of losing a relationship has exactly the opposite effect—being fearful leads to more concealment. Its human nature to conceal information when one lives in fear.

A better way to get your relationship back on track is to plan new and exciting activities to do with your husband. Try something the two of you have never done before. It can be a weekend camping trip, volunteering a soup kitchen, taking a class together, and so on. The activity has to be something that is novel for both of you, but something the two of you might enjoy. Again, the research shows that doing such novel activities together can lead to feelings of closeness and intimacy and greater disclosures.

There is no such thing as a completely honest relationship (people are complicated). However, you can do things to make your relationship more enjoyable, healthy and fun.

 lying husband | troubled relationship | trust issues

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