Pants on Fire

10 Aug

Letterbalm Lying ProverbDear LetterBalm: I’ve been married for almost 18 years, and I love my wife very much. Throughout our marriage, I’ve told little white lies – I had to work late when I actually stopped by to swing a few golf balls, I had to go in to the office on Saturday so I wouldn’t have to do yard work, etc. – nothing really serious. I’ve never cheated on my wife or secretly run up debt or anything like that. I just felt telling her the truth on day-to-day stuff would start a fight. Recently, I went online to a dating site, posted a bogus profile (nothing like me) and started a chat with a couple of women. I figured it wasn’t a big deal because I was just doing it for kicks. Well, my wife found this on our computer and went ballistic. She said I had betrayed her, even if I had no intention of meeting any of the women. She says we have to go to couples counseling – the idea of which makes my teeth hurt. I think I did nothing wrong.

–Just a Regular Guy

Ms. L.B. bets there are a lot of regular guys out there who might find your ethics a little dicey. Lying is lying, whether big or little ones, and you are foggy about the distinction. You’ve been behaving like this for so long that it is difficult for you to blame yourself. Well, do yourself and your wife a favor: Just go to joint counseling and try mightily to keep an open mind. Indeed, you’ve done a lot of things wrong, and you need a major moral readjustment with the help of a neutral professional and a very patient spouse. In the meantime, take her hands in yours and give her the biggest apology you can muster. Something like this:

Honey, I’m so sorry that I lied about the online dating site. I don’t know what I was thinking. Even though I did it for laughs, I can see now that it would upset you. I’d hate it if you did that to me. So, I think your idea of counseling is good. Let’s go together and work on our marriage because I really love you and don’t want to lose you.

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