If I told you that lying was good for your relationship, would you believe me? Sure, we’ve all been told that honesty is the best foundation for happy and healthy relationships, and for the most part, that’s dead-on.
But telling the truth has the potential to create unnecessary conflict, breed insecurity, and humiliate or hurt your partner’s feelings.
Well, that probably explains why couples don’t tell the truth and lie to each other an average of three times a week. Researchers call it “deceptive affection,” because it comes from a place of deep love and caring. In fact, most agree that telling little white lies for the right reasons can actually strengthen your bond.
Nevertheless, fibbing about sexual or emotional fidelity, financial issues, or lying to manipulate your partner (or to save your own butt) are major no-nos. But truth be told, there are certain scenarios where it can behoove you — and your relationship — to withhold the “whole” truth.
Here are five times when it’s okay to omit some of those details:
1. When he asks about your exes
Curiosity pertaining to your previous relationships is normal. But does he really need to know that you once dated a professional athlete or that your most recent ex-boyfriend was great in the sack?
It’s fine to drop a name or two, briefly mention the span of time you dated, and a quick explanation for the break up (with an emphasis on the latter). However, divulging too many details can conjure up comparisons and lead to feelings of jealousy, insecurity, and inadequacy.
So, even if it’s not entirely true, quickly changes the subject by saying exactly what he’s longing to hear: “Why are we even talking about this, babe? You know you’re the best I’ve ever had!”
2. When you have a secret (but harmless) crush
There’s nothing wrong with checking out other guys when you’re in a committed relationship. Who doesn’t? And don’t think for a nanosecond that your partner isn’t checking out other women.
But your man doesn’t need to hear about your hot new co-worker with the six-pack abs. Your crush will pass and your relationship will be stronger because you didn’t go for total honesty and avoided making your guy jealous over nothing. So, zip it! Or, if you must, gush to your girlfriends.
3. When you seriously dislike his friends
Unless his pals are outright rude or try to hit on you, dissing them can come across as insulting or even make your guy feel pressured to “choose sides.” These are his buds and he’s not likely to dump them.
Besides, chances are, you have a few gal pals that drive him nuts too. So, to keep the peace, squelch your true feelings. And if you can’t stand his friends, spend more time with yours!
4. When you hate the gift he got you
It stinks to get a gift you’re not into, but the last thing you want to do is crush your guy’s feelings or his giving spirit. Instead, grit your teeth and remember that it really is the thought that counts.
Nobody’s saying you have to gush when he totally misses the mark, but smile, hug him, and express appreciation for the time and effort he put into choosing something for you. Then get to work at dropping blatant hints before the next special occasion arrives.
5. When your most recent sexual encounter was just meh
In long-term relationships, lovemaking is sometimes just so-so. That’s normal. Mind-blowing sex doesn’t happen every time you jump in the sack. But that doesn’t mean you need to comment, “Wow, you were a bit off your game tonight, huh?”
Better to snuggle up close and tell him how much you love him. Then, next time, guide his hand to your hot spots and tell him how much he’s turning you on. That’s bound to boost his confidence to the point that he makes your toes curl. No lie.
Coach Todd Reed, CPC, has expertise in communication and relationships. His book, Conversation is Sexy, offers tips, tools, and techniques for couples in committed relationships on how to discover/rediscover the joys of being in love.