“Men, unlike women, lie to protect themselves. They use a lie as a ‘power’ tool to preserve their freedom, get what they want or because lying is easier for them than telling the truth.” Dory Hollander, PhD (author of “101 Lies Men Tell Women: And Why Women Believe Them”)
Donna’s Navy husband started lying to her three months into their marriage. They subsequently divorced due to serious trust issues 22 months later.
Gina was living with an Army soldier she planned to marry at Christmas last year. She didn’t walk down that aisle because her fiancé couldn’t stop lying.
Tanya’s experience with a man in the Marine Corps, afflicted with the same difficulty to tell the truth, is as recent as six months ago.
All three of these women living in Hampton Roads admit they’re afraid to ever trust a man in uniform so completely again.
Honesty in committed relationships
Four simple innocent words that carry a heck of a lot of weight when it comes to trust, faith, confidently investing your heart and soul in that “one and only” someone you love. Especially someone who will potentially spend a considerable time away from you because of the military uniform he wears to work each day.
When you share total honesty, a relationship is said to be as solid as granite. When you don’t, that relationship might as well be a rowboat foundering on the open sea for all the bailing and paddling you do just to try to stay afloat while getting nowhere, fast.
How long can relationships realistically last when a partner is a chronic liar?
Chances are, not very long. Sure, we can try to make relationships survive without real honesty, but in the end, all we really get is disillusioned. Bitter. That much more cynical about commitment in general.
Surveys show that most women who lie do so to protect the feelings of others. Men, on the other hand, lie to protect themselves, their privacy or their freedom.
A poll for She Magazine, for instance, revealed that 55 percent of women didn’t mind being told a lie when asked about weight or the size of their backsides, but 33 percent would rather not know the true reason for a man ending a relationship. Also, 36 percent of female respondents admitted lying about the sexual performance of the men in their lives.
For Donna, sex had nothing to do with the lying that ruined her marriage
“He lied constantly about stupid things,'” Donna said. “The more he lied, the more distrustful I became about the whole relationship. If I had known the truth from the start about his platonic relationships with other women, the drinking and partying overseas or the calls he got from his ex-wife when he was at work, our marriage might have become stronger because he cared enough to be that honest with me.”
Instead, lies piled up until Donna couldn’t trust her husband any longer.
“He’d go out the door, supposedly to work, and I was so suspicious that I had to call him a half hour later just to make sure he was there,” she said. “It got to the point where I was so insecure because of his lying, I was calling to check up on him everywhere he went.”
When her husband wouldn’t put the effort into being more truthful with her, the only answer for Donna was separating and ultimately, getting a divorce.
There’s an honor code just as crucial to women engaged to military men that, according to Gina, is every bit as sacred and bonded as marriage.
“He lived with me for over a year before we got engaged,” she said. “I was also best friends at the time with a Navy wife in our apartment complex whose husband was often at sea.”
Several months after the fact, Gina discovered that her fiance secretly visited this Navy wife and a private relationship had developed between them. He’d lie constantly about where he was going and with whom he was spending his time.
“When I confronted him, he called his relationship with her ‘comfort’ because we’d had an argument or some sort of disagreement,” she said. “I just plain call it cheating. If you turn to somebody else and keep it a secret for whatever reason, you’re being unfaithful. When a friend is involved, it’s inexcusable. What may or may not have happened sexually is really immaterial.”
Gina and her fiance currently live apart, but they’re trying to bring their relationship back into focus. Even though she hopes she will eventually be able to trust him again the man she loves, the Navy-wife best friend Gina once had is now out of the picture for good.
Tanya, married for four years, is also a victim of lies
In her case, those lies were due to a serious omission of truth on the part of her husband.
Six months ago, she found a handful of letters from her husband’s ex-wife that described in detail several secret rendezvous they’d shared while Tanya was out of town for her job. These letters were kept inside a box of odds and ends that her husband brought home when he left the ship at his last command. A box Gina had accidentally come across while reorganizing the closets in their apartment.
“I thought we were happy when those letters were written, but it was obvious they’d seriously considered getting back together, even though he was supposedly committed to me at the time,” she said. “Had I known he was still involved with his ex after we got married, I would have made different choices for myself, believe me.”
After several weeks of tears, sleepless nights and days spent agonizing over those letters, Tanya says the best decision she ever made was leaving a man who could look her in the eye every day for well over two years and not feel any kind of need to be honest with her.
She swears she’ll never make the mistake of so blindly trusting a man this way again. Or for that matter, trust a man’s ex-wife so completely, either.
Honesty. It comes in all shapes, sizes and forms. The bottom line still seems to be the same: Lose trust and you’re looking at a long walk back, no matter where you thought you were going.
I took a survey of the first ten military wives and girlfriends I could get my hands on this week
I asked them what they would do if they were suddenly faced with the knowledge that their partners had been lying to them. Initially, the response was unanimously the same. No second chances, no explanations – suitcases belonging to their military men would be packed and waiting at the door.
And yet, every one of those ten women had to admit that, once they’d really given it some serious thought with genuine emotions attached, the solution wasn’t quite that simple. It turned out none of them were exactly sure how they would react or what they would do in such a situation.
That’s the funny thing about commitment. You never really know how important it is or how little it might actually matter until it gets tested in some really huge way.
So just where do these three women who lost complete trust in the men they loved go from here?
Gina says she still wants very much to marry her fiance sometime next year as a result of the new understanding they’ve been busy working on together.
Donna, who has a new man in her life, says next week is as far as she’s willing to go toward making any concrete plans for the future. Someday, she might be ready to trust a man enough to get married again.
As for Tanya, still separated, she says her husband wants to make their marriage work so badly, she’s at least willing for now to take things day by day.
She can’t rule out the possibility that a new beginning might be waiting down the road for her marriage – if her husband can actually learn to be honest.
If you think you might be dealing with a liar in your relationship, visit Top 6 Books About Lying.