He’s a liar but I can’t let go

My boyfriend lied to me and it’s affecting my mental health – but I love him. 

I was married to a liar myself, says our elder. Drop him and move on.


Dear EWC

I was betrayed last year by my ex-boyfriend. I found out that he was lying to me since the day that we started talking. He’s aware that I hate liars. After two months, I started dating again and he was aware of everything that happened to me and what my ex-boyfriend did but it turned out that he lied to me too and his reason is that he’s afraid that I’ll never say ‘yes’ to him. The betrayal made me a mess and not me anymore. I started being delusional, paranoid, and a lot of overthinking which was not my vocabulary back then. The guy that I started dating after two months, we are in a relationship again and I’m really afraid that he’ll lie to me again but there are things that I found out that he lied to me back then. He always says that he’ll never lie again and no matter how I want my relationship to end with him, he doesn’t want to. The reason I want to end it is because it is affecting my mental health but I love him.


Purple-Finch replies

I was married for almost 10 years to someone who lied, so your letter spoke volumes to me. Lying is absolutely toxic to any relationship. If someone is not telling the truth – or if you simply fear that they are not telling the truth then where does that leave you? One could almost say that lying destroys the very word relationship – because if one person is not telling the truth, then there is nothing being related. Nothing shared, nothing agreed to, nothing understood, nothing planned. 

If your sweetie lies once and you catch it, and they swear they will never lie again but they do, there is only one thing you can do: walk away. And do it as soon as possible. 

Some people are chronic liars. I can’t tell you why they do it. But you cannot fix it. They must  be the one who fixes it. And they won’t fix it until they see for themselves the damage they are causing to themselves and to their relationships. The man I walked away from (after putting up with it for many years) still lies on occasion. Sadly, the person who must put up with it now is not me but his daughter. I am grateful that she is astute enough to see it.

In your own case, of course he swears that he will never lie to you again. And you believe him, probably because he believes it himself. In the very moment that you are talking, he truly believes that he will never lie again. He truly feels remorse. But the moment it becomes useful (or keeps him from being “found out” about something), he will do it again.

I recall so badly wanting to believe my first husband. And I also recall so clearly how when I finally realized he had been lying all along, I felt as if my rib cage had just collapsed. All my constructs to keep him in the best light possible just came crashing in.

I am relieved that you are not married to this person. I had to ask myself if my marriage vows (“in sickness and in health”) forced me to stick with him. But I decided they did not. Staying with him was not going to fix the problem. Only my walking away (and his seeing that) could possibly lead to any improvement on his part.

You say that you don’t know what to do because you still love him. But you don’t love him. What you love is the man you wish he were. You love the positive traits that he does possess. But you have to keep telling yourself:  If you don’t know when to believe him and when not to, then you have nothing. Whatever comes out of his mouth has no value at all – even when he tells you he loves you. Even when he says that he’ll change because you mean everything to him. You do not. He is lying to himself as well as to you when he says this.

So please, for your own happiness, drop this relationship. Move on. You deserve better.

Article #: 483986

Category: Other

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