If our childhood lessons hold true into adulthood, then we are supposed to always tell the truth and always be nice. But what do we do when those two things are in conflict? Are there times when it's OK to lie to your partner?
In this type of situation, most of us will opt for a little white lie, according to Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. in an article for Psychology Today, who says that non-married partners lie, on average, once in every three convos, while spouses fib about once every 10 conversations. And this is the average for all relationships, not just troubled ones. Even healthy couples who are very close and value trust and honesty tell these small lies.
Small lies are key, according to DePaulo. Small lies don't make you a dishonest person; they make you a kind person who works hard to hold true to your values. For example, if you value being a kind and loyal friend, it may be more important to you to tell small lies and protect your sense of self than to tell truths that are in conflict with your personality. And this can be a healthy part of all relationships, not just romantic ones. It's the big lies, the lies that constitute betrayal or break down trust, that matter.
So the next time your partner makes you the driest birthday cake ever, you don't have to feel bad that you claimed to love it. Here are some more examples:
1. Deceptive Affection
Deceptive affection is one of the types of lies that keeps partners close and relationships running smoothly, according to Reader's Digest advice writer Chelsea Stone. This includes lies such as "I love you more than anyone in the whole world" when you may actually feel like you love your mom or child more. The average couple does this about three times per week, and it's cool because it helps keep you feeling close, according to Stone. And it's not like you can measure your love with a scale.
2. Sexual Lies
It's OK to tell your partner that he or she is the best sex of your life, even if it isn't true, according to lifestyle website MyDailyMoment. It's fine because it improves your partner's sexual confidence and self-esteem, which in turn, improves your sex life.
3. Lies Of Omission
Lies of omission happen when you don't necessarily lie but you don't tell the whole story. For example, if you're at the florist getting your partner flowers and you get a text asking where you are, it's OK to say that you're just running late. Another example is saying "you're always gorgeous," even when your partner is vomiting from the stomach flu for two days straight. These types of lies are ways we are kind to each other, according to Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., in an article for Psych Central.
4. To Avoid Arguments
If you say "you're right" or "sorry, that was my fault" to end or avoid an argument, even when you don't mean it, that can be OK, according to Stone. If it's a serious situation, this is never the correct approach, but if it's something trivial and the outcome doesn't impact your trust or your lives together, giving in to shut down a fight can put a pin in a situation that doesn't have to explode.
5. How You Feel About Their Friends
According to lifestyle site Elite Daily, it's better for your partner to think you don't think about his friends at all than for you to tell him or her the truth. This goes for whether you think the friends in question are super hot.
6. Protecting Your Partner, Not Yourself
If the lie you tell is meant to protect you because you did something wrong, it's not OK, according to Tartakovsky, but if it's meant to protect your partner, it can be a good and healthy lie. For example, if your your best friend calls your partner an idiot and you say instead that they didn't say anything at all, you're protecting your partner's feelings.
Only you and your partner can determine which kinds of lies are tolerable and which constitute betrayal in your relationship, but knowing that everyone does it and that it's usually from a place of good intentions can help soothe your guilty conscience.
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