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Love Lies Betrayal and Deceit - Why Do We Lie to Those We Love

Love Lies Betrayal and Deceit - Why Do We Lie to Those We Love

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Published by Edward Shaw

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Published by: Edward Shaw on Jan 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/22/2012

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Why do husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, lie to each other?Our romantic relationships are seldom what they seem. We all want a relationshipthat is built on openness, intimacy, and trust, but the truth is, our relationships donot always work that way. More often than not, our intimate relationships involvesecrecy and deceit. In fact, if you want to look for deception and betrayal in yourown life, the best place to start is close to home. Husbands and wives, boyfriendsand girlfriends, often lie about their true feelings for each other, the feelings theyhave for others, and their level of commitment. Indeed, it is safe to say that peoplesave their biggest and most serious lies for those they love.For better or worse, our romantic relationships are full of paradoxes which we try tooverlook, downplay and ignore. For the most part, this strategy works well. Untilthe day comes when it doesn't, and with little warning or preparation we have toconfront face-on the reality that our close relationships are not exactly what theyappear to be.Eventually, almost everyone will catch a spouse or partner in one of their lies.Inevitably, we have a difficult time coping with what we have learned and dealingwith the fact that someone close has betrayed our trust. We do not expect ourpartners to mislead us, nor do we have insight into how and why deception occurs.In fairness, it should also be mentioned that it is just as likely that a partner orspouse will catch you in one of your own attempts to deceive. And ironically, weare just as unprepared to deal with this kind of situation.Ignoring the paradoxes inherent in our romantic relationships turns out to be acostly strategy and most people pay the price for this decision, unexpectedly, andall at once. It's not so much that coming to terms with the use of deception inromantic relationships will solve all of the problems you are going to encounter, butit will certainty help to reduce the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty that occur whendeception eventually comes to light.In fact, when it comes love and romance, most of the things we believe, are nottrue. Most people believe that all of their marital or relational problems can besolved through communication. We believe that deception is difficult to achieve,that misleading a partner requires a lot of effort and thought, and that romanticpartners can tell when a lover is lying, and so on. None of these widely heldbeliefs, however, are supported by the evidence. Rather, our romanticrelationships are held together by a delicate balance of both candor and deceit.And both are critical to making our intimate relationships work.In reality, romantic relationships entail two important features which allowdeception to flourish: abundant opportunity, as well as the need to deceive. As weget close to another person, we intentionally and unintentionally provide them witha great deal of information about who we are, revealing ourselves through both our
 
words and deeds. Creating this kind of intimacy or shared knowledge is critical, asit serves as the foundation for a lot of important rewards. Through our closerelationships, we create gains with respect to our health, wealth, and emotionalwell-being.Because relationships provide so many important rewards, it should come as nosurprise that people are inclined to view their romantic partners in a positive light.We place a lot of trust in our romantic partners. We think we know them well. Butwhile our trust surely provides us with a sense of security and comfort, it also laysthe ground for deceit. For as we trust our partners more, we also become moreconfident but less accurate at determining when the truth is being told.Every relevant study attests to the fact that lovers are terrible at telling when theirpartners are lying. In fact, detecting deception with anyone is difficult to do, butlovers manage to take this general failure to a spectacular low. Again, as webecome more confident that we can tell when a lover is lying, the exact oppositeturns out to be true. This truth-bias or blind faith provides the perfect opportunity forromantic partners to engage in deception. After all, who makes a better victim thansomeone who is eager and willing to trust everything you have to say?Not only do close relationships create a wonderful opportunity for deception tooccur, they also create the need. While romantic relationships offer many rewards,they also tend to be overly constrictive. Most everyone has felt the constraints of aclose relationship from time to time; quite simply you are no longer free to do whatyou want, when you want, and with whom you want. So intimacy providestremendous rewards, but at an enormous cost ñ the loss of your freedom andautonomy.Lying to a romantic partner helps us deal with the constraints that our intimaterelationships impose. Quite frankly, deceiving a romantic partner turns out to bethe most efficient and effective way of maintaining the rewards we get from ourromantic relationships while pursuing extra-relational goals and activities behind apartner's back.How do we decide when to lie and when to tell the truth? Well, most of the time wedo not intentionally think about misleading our partners. Rather such decisions aregoverned by our emotions and just seem to happen when the right situationpresents itself. Often a sense of excitement, opportunity, and exhilaration can leadus down paths we had no intention of traveling. A sense of fear, loss, andtrepidation, on the other hand, prompt us to cover-up what we've done and be moreconservative in the short-term. Luckily our emotions are very good at readingsituations and keeping our deceptive behavior within limits. Our emotions promptus to regain some of our freedoms while also allowing us to maintain the benefitswe get from our intimate relationships.When you take a step back and put it altogether, the picture that emerges tends to

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