My boyfriend won't stop lying and being dishonest with me.
December 18, 2009 2:54 PM   Subscribe

I've got a big problem. My boyfriend won't stop lying and being dishonest with me.

As I have posted here before (see:, I have been trying to work on re-building trust with my boyfriend.

He has lied to me about several major things over the last year and half we have been dating, including not telling me his best friend was in-fact his ex (and doing everything to avoid us ever meeting), to lying that he had finished high school when he didn't. There's lots of detail in other thread.

So, this August, I broke the relationship off because I couldn't deal with his dishonesty anymore. The final straw was him going to a nude beach with one of his ex boyfriends/friends (not the one already mentioned) and not telling me about it. The only reason I found out was because we ran into someone on the street that night who recognized him and made a big scene about it. I had no idea he had gone, let alone with his ex.

So, that was it for me. We broke up and he told me 10,000 excuses. That he never was nude at the beach anyway (which I believe), this was just a friend (lie), they went hiking, and it was all really harmless.

As well, he told me (as he does often), that he feels like he can't tell me anything because I freak out about everything that he does.

One month later -- this October -- we got back together. It seemed like he had realized what he was doing was unacceptable and really did believe that he could change and I began to trust him again. We have been going to couples' counseling once a week for the past two months and it has been helping. There hasn't been any more lies that I know of, until now.

Late last night after a particularly heated counseling session, he drops the bomb that during the day, he went out for lunch with another one of his exes. Just the two of them, and someone I wasn't even aware was his ex and have met once.

I admit this makes me uncomfortable but the biggest problem is that my boyfriend and I talked several times during the day about how each of our respective days were going/what we were up to, and he never mentioned this. He completely omitted it.

He says he never did anything wrong, because he DID tell me, just not the two times that I asked him during the day on the phone what he was up to. I think it's a lie by omission and considering all of the trust issues we have (especially with exes... this is the third one where there has been something similar), I am completely unsure about what to do now.

I feel like we should continue working on things because we got back together and are going to counseling but on the other hand, I feel like all of the trust I have rebuilt in him over the past couple months has been completely violated and he will never change.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
after reading the previous question i'm curious what you're getting out of this relationship. so: what are you getting out of this relationship?
posted by beefetish at 2:59 PM on December 18, 2009 [6 favorites]

I really, really hate to be a Metafilter cliche, but you really need to move on. Healthy relationships bring out the best in people, not the worst. You clearly do not trust him, he clearly thinks you are being unreasonable, and you can't change him. Only he can change himself and it seems pretty obvious that he doesn't want to change.

Why not channel all this energy that's going into a crappy and ultimately doomed relationship into finding and building one that actually makes you happy?
posted by Kimberly at 3:01 PM on December 18, 2009 [20 favorites]

I've got a big problem. My boyfriend won't stop lying and being dishonest with me.

Well there you go, I think you answered this for yourself.

Dump the motherfucker already.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:01 PM on December 18, 2009 [13 favorites]

I've got a big problem. My boyfriend won't stop lying and being dishonest with me.

This is only a problem because he is your boyfriend. DTMFA. Go find someone who doesn't lie to you.
posted by Dasein at 3:04 PM on December 18, 2009 [16 favorites]

He is driving you batshit. You are probably driving him batshit. Let him be with his ex, he obviously likes her company. Are you staying with this person just to have a relationship with someone?

Joining the chorus of DTMFA.
posted by benzenedream at 3:04 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

DTMFA. I am amazed at all these relationship posts where the OP is willing to turn a blind eye to or excuse a galling series of trespasses for some reason or another.

Lying to you? DTMFA.
Cheating on you? DTMFA.
Stealing from you? DTMFA.

The list goes on and on and on.

People of AskMe: Having a trusting, supportive and kind relationship with your partner is a fundamental fucking human right. I swear to you, there is someone else out there. It's never worth all this bullshit.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:05 PM on December 18, 2009 [63 favorites]

You tried to work on things, you really tried, but he went back to his old behaviors of lying and cheating.

Let the relationship go and move on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:13 PM on December 18, 2009

My boyfriend won't stop lying and being dishonest with me.

That's right: he won't stop. You can continue "working on things" but he's not going to stop. This is not okay, and as you said, it will never change.
posted by grouse at 3:13 PM on December 18, 2009

[Folks, use complete sentences, please. One-acronym answers generally aren't gonna cut it, so make an effort.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:15 PM on December 18, 2009 [4 favorites]

Yeah, this is not working.

He is choosing to continue to lie to you. He is choosing to be dishonest with you. He is choosing to hide the fact that he is spending time with exes when he knows that bothers you.

As an old friend used to say, "It takes a mighty good husband to be better than none."
posted by shiny blue object at 3:20 PM on December 18, 2009 [16 favorites]

He says he never did anything wrong, because he DID tell me, just not the two times that I asked him during the day on the phone what he was up to.

This is the kicker. He *has* to know that this would be a trigger for you. Either he's really, really stupid or he is insensitive, but either way, you're better off without him.
posted by desjardins at 3:21 PM on December 18, 2009

To be fair, he could have *omitted* the bit about lunch because he figured you would unreasonably freak out about it and, because it meant nothing romantically to him, decided it would be best for everyone to just not bring it up and ruin an otherwise pleasant evening. I'm not saying this is good or bad, but it doesn't seem that it was especially malicious or sneaky.

That said, it seems that your need for exclusivity and transparency are probably not compatible with his desire to stay in touch with past lovers. If you don't trust him to tell you everything you need to know, and he can't trust you to not sweat the small stuff, then this just isn't going to work.

Now I don't know all the details here - and lying in a relationship is really wrong. However, I might add a bit of advice: jealousy can quickly take any relationship down the tubes. I have been there. If this guy wanted to be with his ex, well he'd probably be with his ex. But he chose to be with you. He might be a schizo crazy pants, or he could just want to keep people who were once close to him in his life - and he may feel weird about this while falling for someone with trust/jealousy issues.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:29 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hm. On the one hand, obvious trust problem == DTMFA today. On the other hand, you do sound like you're being jealous/controlling, which is feeding his secretive behavior. If this is the only problem you've had since getting back together, and if you think the lunch date was basically innocent — that is, if it would've been completely OK if he'd told you about it more freely — then I think you should explore the idea of giving him a bit more rope. If I were in your BF's place, it would totally not be OK with me to have to check in with you before socializing with any exes.

The way I see it, either he's not cheating on you, and you owe him an apology for freaking out about his having lunch with a friend. Or he is (or would be) cheating on you, for some value of "cheating", and you should DTMFA.

I think you should try to strike a deal where you assume better faith in him in return for him being more upfront with you. Bring this up during counseling. Try to be at least a little bit concrete about what you want from him information-wise. And if he doesn't hold to it, or if you can't hold to your end of the bargain, then give the relationship up and move on. Also, give yourself a time horizon— say, three months— and if, by that time, you don't feel you trust him more, give the relationship up and move on. Even if he's pure as snow, you don't want to torture yourself indefinitely with a relationship you don't feel comfortable in.

(And I apologize for criticizing your relationship based on a couple of brief posts, but the above is how it comes across to me. Take it with a grain of salt.)
posted by hattifattener at 3:30 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

You definitely have a problem. That problem is that you are dating a dishonest liar.


Stop dating said dishonest liar. You gave him a second chance, and you got more of the same. You know the old saying "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me?" If you didn't before, now you do.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:31 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

He seems to be conflating the statement:

"You freak out whenever I tell you something"


"You freak out whenever I tell you I did something really fucked up and dishonest"

and if he doesn't understand the difference by now, it's unlikely that further counseling is going to help.
posted by electroboy at 3:35 PM on December 18, 2009 [7 favorites]

if you're in couples counseling after a year and a half, you are not in a good relationship. the first year is supposed to be the honeymoon phase. relationships shouldn't be that much work. i'm not saying they should be easy and skipping through meadows all the time, but they shouldn't be constant hard work.

it seems that you are partially asking for our permission to be not ok with exboyfriends. you don't need our permission - you are allowed to have a partner who approaches former lovers with a distant past sort of eye. it doesn't make you right and him wrong - it just makes you different in that value system.

but no matter what his opinions are about exes as friends - lying to your partner just isn't ok. you keep talking about rebuilding trust, but if you look at your relationship like a timeline, it seems like every few months (and now being sped up to every few weeks) there is something he does that he knows will hurt you, so he lies about it. what is he doing to earn your trust? it doesn't seem like anyting besides lip service.

this relationship is over. it's been over for a long time. you both are standing over the dead horse with bats in hand, thinking if you pummel it enough, the mare'll jump back up and start sprinting along. this isn't going to happen.

things to keep in mind for your next relationship - you can't change your boyfriend. if you meet someone who seems to always have an ex boyfriend around, that won't suddenly stop because you've shown up. it's ok to have deal breakers - just be honest about what yours are and when you come upon one, make sure it's still how you feel, and then move on. life is too short to try to remold yourself to fit with someone. relationships should be fun and comforting and safe. it's easy to get addicted to the drama of a tumultuous relationship, but sooner or later the thrill will die and you'll just be suffocating in the trenches. finally - it takes more that two people who love each other to be happy. if love is all it took to make a long lasting, successful relationship divorce rates would be 1/3 of what they are and everyone would marry their high school/college sweetheart. love is necessary, but if it's all you have, you don't have much.
posted by nadawi at 3:40 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

What's the question?
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:51 PM on December 18, 2009 [4 favorites]

Lying about his shady actions is bad enough. But acting like it's *your fault* he lies, because you won't react well to his shady actions? That's a whole higher level of messed up.

1. He doesn't take responsibility for his actions.
2. He's manipulative.
3. He's flat out stated that it's more important to him not not have to face the consequences of his actions, than to be honest with you.

I don't know him, but I have known other people who meet this description, and I've never heard of any of them changing.
posted by Ashley801 at 3:56 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

Love is a funny thing. Sometimes it even makes you make irrational decisions. It makes you blind to the truth.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:56 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

You know what? Let's just do this: let's set aside the perception of lying and the potential jealousy and all that. Biiiiig pile over here. There.

What do we have now? Well, you're fucking miserable. He doesn't sound like he's skipping through the daisies with happiness either. Ultimately, I think in some instances it's important to take a step back and acknowlege, "This relationship makes me feel ucky." And that's what's going on here, right? Regardless of whether it's a lie lie or an omission lie or a misunderstanding lie or you're potentially possessive or potentially jealous or whatever label you want to put on it, you feel like crap in this relationship. Repeatedly. A lot. Pretty much...all the time?

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say he probably has some good qualities, since most humans seem to me to be neither all good nor all bad, with exceptions here and there like Mother Teresa and Pol Pot. But there is some element in your personalities that doesn't mesh well, and this happens even when two people are in fact very good people individually. So, let's say, best case scenario, he's not really lying and it's just some Huge Misunderstanding...well, there's a meshing issue here that just ain't goin' away. We don't know you and we have no way of knowing the big ultimate story here, but in a way, the end result is the same regardless of who did what to whom and who perceived what incorrectly: misery.

So my advice to you is to remove yourself from this situation entirely and find someone with whom your goods and bads mesh better. Easier said than done, I know, because this will involve your extricating yourself from someone who probably does have some nice stuff to him which will be hard to leave behind. But, as someone else said above, it really shouldn't be this hard.
posted by December at 4:16 PM on December 18, 2009 [8 favorites]

I didn't need to read past the first two sentences of this post to answer your question. (I did anyway.)

You are being a doormat. You can do better. You deserve to do better. You can't change him. Dump him yesterday, and don't look back.

Or, you know, keep giving third and fourth and fifth chances to a guy who has amply demonstrated that he doesn't respect you. In which case, you deserve every bit of suffering you get. Harsh, but true.
posted by ixohoxi at 4:55 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

In my experience, gay guys generally do the "friends-with-an-ex" thing well. You seem uncomfortable with that. So move on, not because he's wrong but because it's what you need.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:57 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

This question seems so easy to answer that I'm not even going to even read all the other answers. (And I ALWAYS read all the answers.)

DTMFA. You will feel so much better once this guy is out of your life and you find someone new who is worth your trust.
posted by pitseleh at 5:51 PM on December 18, 2009

It might be possible here to end this dysfunctional and poorly matched relationship without making him or you into a demon.

Clearly, he has failed to meet your expectations for disclosure and exclusivity. That's definitely sufficient grounds for you to call it off.

Perhaps, from his end, he simply doesn't understand your requirements or considers parts of his past and his emotions to still be private. Hell, I got married this year and was interested to discover that this did not immediately make me want to lay bare absolutely every corner of my past, my mind, my things, etc.

It seems like he's made some efforts to do things your way and you've made some efforts to give him space to be his way, but there's just too much damage and too little common ground for things to functionally work out.

It seems like new incidences hit you with particular force, because old incidences get dredged up and you have to feel those negative emotions all over again. This is a sign that you never actually forgave or resolved the old incidences. You just buried them and hoped they wouldn't recur. If you had actually arrived at common ground over those, perhaps you'd have a path forward. But it doesn't sound to me as if you do.

I also think you're well-founded to demonize him if you wish, if that helps you. But sometimes in our efforts to see the best in people we just miss the fact that the best in them doesn't bring out the best in us, and vice-versa. Maybe he's not a pathological liar, and maybe you're not a shrill, jealous ninny. Maybe you're just different.
posted by scarabic at 6:07 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've got a big problem. My boyfriend won't stop lying and being dishonest with meI keep trusting my boyfriend and getting back together with him even though he keeps lying to me over and over and over and over.

Your boyfriend is not compatible with you; you are not compatible with your boyfriend. End it again and leave it that way.
posted by davejay at 9:24 AM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

« Older Friends shouldn't have an expiry date   |   Where to see Shakespeare? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.