Your immediate answer may be a hard “NO!” but like almost every other thing in life, this is not a simple black and white issue; there’s a lot of grey. I’ll be discussing at four situations in which lying is justifiable. It should be noted, however, that this article is not in any way encouraging lying, but may be controversial to some readers.
- For the survival of the relationship
I know of several persons who have cheated on their significant others, who never found out, and they went on to have long, strong relationships. Of course, it is likely that if their significant others had any knowledge of the cheating, the relationship would have ended immediately. I am not endorsing cheating. Rather, I am acknowledging that it happens for many reasons and sometimes it may be justifiable to keep it from your partner.
Lying about your cheating is not justifiable when you are obviously satisfied with having flings, which your SO is clueless about, or you are content with showing blatant disregard for the relationship you’re in. However, I have seen people mess up where they loved two people at the same time and were somewhat in a state of confusion about what to do. Obviously some of you are thinking, why not break up and figure it out? Yes, this is an option. Nevertheless, that may not be in the best interest of the current relationship. Shouldn’t you be 100% sure about how you feel before you make any big decisions that could have major implications for your future? When trying to figure out where your head is at, lies may be told so as not to jeopardise the current relationship. In a twisted way, I think this is justifiable so long as the person is actively trying to come to a conclusion, instead of merely stringing both parties along.
Another situation can be one partner lying to the other about a specific thing in his/her past because the person recognises that it could negatively impact the other or the relationship. For example, where a person lies about not having cheated in previous relationships when he/she knows that the current partner despises cheaters. If he/she were to fess up, that would likely put an end to the relationship. On the other, telling that lie could lead to wonderful relationship, not tainted by the past.
- To avoid drama
This situation usually arises where there is a particular thing that is annoying your SO and then something happens which would only worsen it. A popular example of this is run-ins with an ex that your SO despises. The truth is that you really should be honest with your SO. However, where bringing up the fact that you saw your SO out somewhere or she/he randomly messaged you would only create unnecessary problems, a lie (by omission) may be justifiable. If this is of no consequence to your relationship or your SO, except to make your partner mad, LEAVE IT OUT.
- For a surprise
I think this is the least controversial situation. Obviously couples generally share what they do throughout the day. Where one partner is planning a surprise for another, like a birthday party or a proposal, lies may have be to be utilised relating to his/her daily activities. Often times, persons will have to be creative with their lies to ensure that the surprise is not ruined! Don’t let the lies get too out of hand though, because you may lose track of what you said and mess up the surprise!
- To avoid being a nuisance
It is true that we all go through funks or rough times in life and these periods can be short, but sometimes they go on for a while. Of course if someone is having a rough time, he/she should share this with his/her partner because it is a necessary part of any relationships. Openness and support are so important. However, where the struggle continues for an extended period, to tell your partner that you are struggling on a daily basis may not only be undesirable and embarrassing, but it can be also feel like you are being a burden. Also, in situations such as depression or other mental health issues, it can be tough for the significant other to deal with. Thus, lies such as “I’m fine” and “I’m feeling so much better” are told and I feel like that is okay or justifiable to a certain extent. However, where the depression or other struggles get so bad that there can be severe implications for your life or the lives of your loved ones, then you should be honest about them.
Finally, I wish to underscore that in all of this, the key consideration is what is to be done in the best interests of the relationship. We can all agree that lies in relationships should be kept to a minimum. Generally, lies can put relationships in jeopardy, but there are some times where lies are used to protect loved ones or relationships. You, the reader, may think that lies don’t belong in relationships at all and act accordingly. Nevertheless, life often proves not to be so simple as people have real feelings, emotions and beliefs which they act on, and the implications from these acts can be far-reaching and/or detrimental to all parties, maybe unnecessarily so.