A book by a founder of this site.
Advantages of Self Deception
A certain degree of self deception is critical when it comes to maintaining a romantic relationship.
Potential problems exist in all close relationships (see relational problems). People, who put the best possible spin on things, usually handle problems better.
Self deception is useful because it allows people to ignore everyday mistakes, flaws, and failures. Self deception allows people to see “the best” in a spouse or partner, even when “the best” may not be there (see love is blind).
Holding such positive illusions helps make a relationship work (see denial makes the world go round).
All of the evidence shows that people who are positively self-deceptive about their romantic partners have more satisfying and longer lasting relationships (see Krebs & Denton; Murray; Murray & Holms; Simpson, Ickes & Blackstone).
Or think of it this way:
Who would you want to be in a relationship with?
Someone who is slightly delusional and thinks that you are the BEST person around?
Or someone who sees your every flaw and mistake?
People who see the world more clearly, are less happy and satisfied than individuals who engage in positive self deception.
In fact, depression is often linked to more accurate social perception (see Ackermann & DeRubeis; Sweeney, Anderson, & Bailey). People who are clinically depressed have a better read on situations than non-depressed individuals. But, this accurate social perception comes with a cost – negative feelings, cynicism and despair (see for review, Krebs and Denton).
Simply put, people who do not engage in positive self deception are difficult to deal with in a close relationship. Such individuals are more likely to focus mistakes and dwell on problems.
As such, lying to one’s self, to a certain extent, is useful when it comes to love and romance.
Self deception helps couples cope with life’s problems, it helps people maintain a positive self-concept, and it helps romantic partners get along better.