Trust is an important part of every relationship, and when one partner lies to another, the damage done to their relationship may be irreparable. However, it is not impossible to mend things once again. With vulnerability, a new attitude and a willingness to make things better, partners can be reconciled and the hurt caused by dishonesty can be healed. Though in some cases it may be best to seek professional advice about relationship issues, these steps may put you on the path towards reconciliation.
Confess to telling the lie. Covering your tracks with more lies will only damage your relationship further. Being honest with your partner will start you on the path to repairing your relationship. It may be difficult to confess, but continuing in dishonesty will only make matters worse. Brace yourself for your partner's reaction. Even if she knew that you were lying, talking about it may stir up emotions that you may not otherwise expect such as anger, sadness and hurt.
Apologize for telling the lie. Don't simply apologize because that is what you are supposed to do, but say you are sorry because you really are. Be open and vulnerable with your partner as you apologize. Don't blame him for the lie, but let him know that you understand that lying was the wrong thing to do. Talk about why you lied. What caused it? Explain that you want to work together toward a more trust-filled relationship.
Explain to your partner that you hope to never lie to her again. Talk to her about why you felt that you had to lie. Discuss the situation and talk about the effects of your lie. It is good to be realistic and to realize yourself that no one is perfect. But it is even more important to let your partner know that you do not plan to repeat the same mistakes. Explain that you are willing to grow and change and to be a better partner for her.
Ask your partner how he feels about the lie. Listen carefully as he talks and show him that you believe that what he is saying is important. Be an active listener. Lean forward and tune in to what he is saying. Your partner may have a lot to say about this and other issues. Listening is the most important step toward solving relational problems and in mending the relationship. Failure to listen may lead you to repeat the same mistakes. Engage in the conversation. Ask questions that encourage your partner to continue speaking. Try not to dominate the conversation, but let him vent.
Explain to your partner that you understand that trust may not be instantly regained. Tell her that you plan to work to rebuild your relationship. Try to remain honest and to be open and sincere with you partner. Be realistic. Be patient with your partner as she works through her feelings. Show that you are faithful, dependent and truthful more than you were in the past. Continue to listen to your partner and to respect her feelings. Communicate with your partner if you feel hurt, ignored or frustrated during the healing process. This may strengthen your relationship and open up communication barriers between you.
- Psychology Today: Why Lying Hurts So Much; Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., September, 2012
- PsychCentral: 7 Steps to Healing Broken Trust
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Lying to the One You Love: The Use of Deception in Romantic Relationships
- PsychCentral: Does it Really Matter If You Lie?; Donna M. White, LPCI, CACP