A book by a founder of this site.
Lying and Deception Destroys Trust
Using deception in a romantic relationship or marriage is problematic because it often leads to a loss of trust and it makes people feel less close to each other (see Bok).
Trust is vital in a romantic relationship.
It is impossible to have a close, healthy relationship without trust. You need to be able to trust what a partner tells you. Unfortunately, the best way to destroy trust is by getting caught deceiving a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend.
In fact, relationships often come to an end when someone gets caught lying.
On the other hand, while deception destroys trust, our relationships survive, in part, due to the fact that people rarely get caught, or catch their spouses, when they do lie. Despite what many people think, detecting deception is very, very difficult to do—especially when it comes to love and romance (see catching lovers lying).
It also helps to point out that it is possible to rebuild trust once deception has come to light—difficult, but not impossible (see rebuilding trust).
However, even though we aren’t likely to get caught when we mislead others, using deception can still be problematic even when it is not detected.
Using deception, whether it comes to light or not, creates distance in a relationship.
Lying to a husband or wife has serious consequences. The more people engage in deception, they tend to feel less close to their partners and they tend to feel more misunderstood. It is hard to feel like a partner knows you, gets you, understands you—if you are constantly lying to him or her (see Cole).
And ironically, the more we lie to others, the less we trust them. We project our own deceptive tendencies on to others. If you think that your romantic partner is being less than completely honest—it can be a reflection of your own deceptive behavior (see Cole).
Overall, using deception, even when it is not detected, can cause problems. It can lead to a loss of trust and increased distance between partners. And these problems are made much worse when deception actually comes to light (see consequences of discovering deception).