How To Handle Getting Caught In A Lie
Can lying to your mate ever be justified?
Ask 10 different people the above question and you might get 10 different answers.
Some might make an exception for an exaggeration. Others might make exceptions for small white lies that "aren’t important”. Others, [like myself] might have a very low tolerance for dishonesty.
Because the fact is, being on the other end of that lie is painful. It leaves your mate confused, hurt and wondering how strong your commitment really is.
Unfortunately, even after all that said, people will still lie. And will still get caught. And their mate will be upset and disappointed in them. And they will feel ashamed and really uncomfortable.[pullquote align="right"]...it takes courage to admit the truth. That means you’ll feel uncomfortable and awkward. Do it anyway.[/pullquote]
If you find yourself in a situation like this, what you choose to do next can lead your relationship down a path of destruction or healing. The choice is yours.
Your first instinct might be to cover up your lie, especially if you don’t think your mate has all the answers. Bad idea. Remember that with each little lie, you build a wall between you and your mate that pushes you further and further away from being able to fix it.
Choose instead to fess up. I know it’s not ideal in the moment, but it’s really the best thing you can do. All your mate wants is transparency. Take the wall down and let them in.
Understand that it takes courage to admit the truth. That means you’ll feel uncomfortable and awkward. Do it anyway.
Your next instinct is probably to explain yourself. This is a good thing. Give your mate the opportunity to have some clarity so you can begin to build on the truth.
But there's a big difference between providing clarity and getting defensive. Whether you feel ashamed that you were caught or you feel like the lie was not a big enough deal for them to get upset about, leave the defensive reactions behind.
Responses like, “I did it because [insert something your mate did here]”, or “If you didn’t do X, I wouldn’t need to lie to you” simply shows a lack of regard for your responsibility in the situation.
Own what you did and speak from a place of compassion for how they feel.
Next, you need to apologize, if you haven't already. A sincere apology though. None of that, "I'm sorry I got caught" stuff. Your apology should show your mate that their pain has an impact on you. It should show how much you care.
So acknowledge that you made a poor choice. Express your disappointment with the fact that you hurt them. Reassure them you WANT to do better next time. ‘Cause you do, right?
Ask your mate to identify what they need from you to bring closure to the situation. It’s time to move forward, together. In order to do so, some things will need to be done differently.
They might ask you to be more transparent with them daily. They might ask you for reassurance more often than usual. If the lie was something tough to forgive, they might want you both to seek professional help.
Be patient with them. Be understanding. This is an integral part of the healing process, so it’s important to embrace it as such and not treat it like it’s a nuisance, even though it may feel that way to you.
Give your mate time and space to heal. It’s important to remember that the burden to rebuild that trust is on you. Trust isn’t something that’s given, it’s something that’s earned. You now have to earn it back, and that takes time.
Your mate might still be hurt a few days, weeks or even months from now, depending on how betrayed they feel. They might question your motives or whether what you say is true.
This is your opportunity not to chastise them for ‘still bringing up the past’, but to reassure them that you’re committed to fixing this together and that you have the best interest of your relationship at heart.
Most importantly, simply decide to choose honesty. Choose integrity and you’ll avoid all of the above to begin with.