When NOT to Tell the Truth

We’ve talked about Why People Lie, and 9 Steps to Telling the Truth. Now let’s talk bout if there’s any time that it’s ok to lie.

Up front, let me say thatthis depends on YOU most of all – your values and your own personal integrity. For some people, honesty is above everything else. Others see honest more on a scale.

The book we’ve been discussing, “Tell me No Lies”by Ellyn Bader and Pete Pearson, says that it’s ok to not tell the truth in three scenarios.

1.  It’s a white lie. Your partner asks if they look ok and even though you think that another shirt would be better, that one is fine. And you want to get out of the house, so you say, “Yep, let’s go.”

2.  When you’re leaving the relationship already and telling the truth would serve no purpose. Let’s say you had a one-night stand 10 years ago and never said a word about it. And now you’re getting divorced. Telling your partner about the one-night stand would serve no purpose.

3. You’re doing something about the situation before speaking up. This is what I call “truth delayed.” Let’s say that your partner’s weight bothers you. But you’re in therapy and you’re working on your feelings. Perhaps you’ll work through it and it will not be an issue. Perhaps you choose to speak honestly about it. The important point here is to be clear about your intentions before speaking about it with your partner.

Same can go with having an affair. Perhaps you’re working on ending it or understanding it and want to be clear about your intentions for the relationship and your marriage before you tell your partner.

With #3, don’t fall into the trap of “lies of omission.” If you know your partner prefers honesty in every matter, go ahead and tell the truth.

Peace and lots of understanding and no judgement,
Dr. Liz

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