“Technically….I didn’t lie to her….”
Is there such a thing as lying by omission?
I’m not talking about harmless white lies here, as in “Does my butt look big in this?” I am talking about the omission of truth that, if known, has the potential to hurt someone deeply, and to cause them emotional pain and anger.
I believe that there is. In fact, I believe that the person who omits the truth when he or she knows damned well that his or her partner would be crushed if he or she knew it, is as much of a liar as the person who looks you squarely in the face and tells a big whopper.
When we are connected with others and we are not fully forthcoming about matters of the heart, matters that serve to hurt and deceive them, we can accurately be branded as liars even when we omit information rather than speak lies from our mouths.
Silence can be good at times, but in instances when the mechanics of a relationships are involved, silence is tantamount to telling a serious lie…especially when our partners want to know the truth, ask us outright what the truth is, and receive evasion or silence.
Any relationship that is sustained on lies is no REAL relationship at all….at least, not a healthy, respectful one. These types of relationships are sustained on insecurities and on sick psychological dependencies that have nothing to do with love. Committed partners simply don’t do it to one another.
These types of lies, the silent ones, should not be confused with maintaining a sense of privacy in a relationship. No one should be obligated, for example, to give his or her partner their passwords, or to reveal personal information that does not threaten the relationship. That is invasive and frankly, just silly. Everyone deserves privacy, but one should simply be able to state that openly. “No, I don’t feel comfortable giving you my Facebook password, because I’d like to maintain my privacy.” There is nothing wrong with that.
However, if someone is having an affair, it is different.
I have a good friend who exists in an untruthful relationship. He fears his partner, so virtually never tells her the truth. As a result, my friend is tied into knots half the time, miserable and unhappy, confused, hemmed in, resentful and living an inauthentic life that doesn’t even remotely resemble who he really is. He is in the relationship because of guilt, obligation, psychological dependency….but not because of a conscious, adult choice. He is in the relationship because he fears his partner, not because he loves her. But does that excuse his lying? I can only speak for myself when I say that I would never remain in a relationship where I could not be my authentic self. If I feared my partner, then I would not really consider that person to be an actual partner….and I can see infidelity being the result of that…but why not just split? Some people won’t split because their relationships are abusive. They have been convinced that they have no power without the abuser.
Just as a lie is a misrepresentation of the truth, so is remaining silent in those instances when doing so might make the other person believe something that is far removed from the truth. Spoken or unspoken…a lie is a lie.…and if someone is doing something that his or her partner would break up with him or her over, then the union is a farce.
I cannot, for the life of me, justify or even imagine being in a relationship where I had to lie to my partner…either spoken or by omission….just so I could go ahead and do what I wanted to do behind that person’s back! Why on earth would I want to be with someone who would not allow me to be myself….to talk to the friends I want to talk to….to go the places I want to go? To me, partnership means sharing one’s life…not hiding it….and if you’re involved in a relationship where you have to hide your authentic self, it isn’t really a partnership, and it isn’t a love relationship. The whole thing is a lie.
Misleading statements are also lies.
A misleading statement is a tricky kind of lie . It occurs when there is no outright, obvious lie told, but it still retains the purpose of getting someone to believe an untruth….and what is the point of that? If my husband/partner cannot accept what I do, tough. I am an adult, and I am in a partnership, not a prison. It is not my place to tell him what to do, and it is not his place to tell me what to do. I am faithful because I want to be….not because I have to be. I am faithful out of a sense of respect for my marriage.
What about partners who issue ultimatums? Is that a good reason to lie or to withhold the truth? Ultimatums are for faux relationships that are unsteady and unbalanced. Ultimatums that exist for the sole purpose of controlling another person should not exist. Honesty should. There is nothing wrong with having boundaries. There is no fault in someone’s saying, “If you do that again, I will not participate in the relationship any longer,” but there is a distinct difference between setting boundaries to maintain one’s own sanity, and tossing out ultimatums to control the person you are involved with.
Fortunately, I have enough respect for my husband to be honest with him. It makes me sad to see friends who are in relationships where they do not respect their partners enough to tell them the truth. That, to me, is tantamount to living in hell. I simply wouldn’t do it….even in the case of my friend who lies because his partner creates hell when he tries to be honest.
As adults, we all have the right to privacy. When another adult asks a question about something that we don’t want to answer, each of us has the right to say, “I’d rather keep that information to myself.” However, in the case of fidelity between couples, I don’t think so. If you are in a committed relationship and your partner is lying to you…either with word or deed…or in silence….my advice is to beat it to the nearest door. …unless you are helpless and dysfunctional. Then, you are apt to simply wallow in it while other people whisper about what a fool you are……forever. And they do. You can count on that much.