Lying Helps Couples Avoid Unnecessary Conflict

"Lies that build are better than truths that destroy." -- Senegalese Proverb

couple fighting

Most romantic relationships and marriages are difficult to maintain.

Couples do not always see eye-to-eye on every issue and conflict plays a large role in how well people get along with each other.

And couples argue about a lot of different things:

  • how they spend their time and money
  • how they make their plans and set their goals
  • how household tasks get done
  • how they raise their kids
  • how they communicate with each other
  • over their annoying habits
  • over how and when they have sex...

And if you really wanted to, you could spend a lot of time arguing with your romantic partner. People are always a little different from each other and arguments are not that hard to start.

No one, however, wants to be in a relationship marked by such never-ending conflict (but many people do, see myths about relationships).

couple embracingIn fact, for a relationship to work there must be at least 5 positive, friendly, and supportive encounters for every negative, indifferent, or hostile encounter. This 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative encounters has been well documented. And it demonstrates that for a relationship to last, people must get along and create a lot of positive outcomes (see Gottman).

Otherwise, what are people doing together?

Deception is an easy way to avoid conflict and the negativity that goes along with it (see Saxe, Solomon).

Rather than argue or fight about every issue that may come up, it is often easier to tell a loved one exactly what he or she wants to hear.

Who hasn’t lied from time to time about minor issues such as not getting a message, spending a little money, or how one spends part of their free time, just to avoid conflict?

Deception can be the path of least resistance when two people do not always agree.

In many cases, lying to a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, takes a lot less energy and effort than telling the truth and starting a fight over every issue that may arise.