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Why Does He Lie?

Question:

Hi Dr. Schwartz,

I am a 45 year old divorced woman. I recently ended a relationship with a man I dated for 8 months. It was “love at first sight.”  We had been dating for 2 months when I took a vacation. we talked while I was on the trip and I thought we were very much in love.  However, when I returned home I found he had been viewing dating sights. When I confronted him, he responded that he was “bored” while I was away. He also said it meant nothing. 

I stayed with him but my gut instinct was to be more cautious and take things slower. I began to notice that he told lies very easily, such as, telling me that he had back surgery after he hurt is back. He also said that a car he was selling had NEVER been repaired when in fact it had been wrecked, etc.

I ended the relationship last week when he returned from a 2 week motorcycle trip that he took alone. He had previously mentioned an old girlfriend from college and I remembered her name. I thought it was somewhat odd that he mentioned her from time to time. Also, I thought it somewhat odd that someone would take a trip like that alone.  

My instinct told me that something was “not right.” Then I found out that this old girlfriend lived in the same state he was visiting. I called the hotel where he was staying and asked if anyone by the woman’s name was staying there? I was shocked when they transferred me to her!  She is a married woman, to the best of my knowledge. When he returned home I ended the relationship and I was accused of being paranoid and insecure. I would like your opinion on situations like this?

Thank You, Sad in WV

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Answer:

Hello Sad,

In my opinion, it is better you learned about this man before the relationship became more serious. If you had married him the circumstances could become awful.

I cannot explain why he lies to you. There could be thousands of reasons. People lie because they feel a need to lead secret lives. Others lie because they are sociopathic and are unable to be honest. Yet other people may lie because they are paranoid and trust no one with the truth. Others harbor horrible secrets about their past lives that they are attempting to keep covered over. There are probably thousands of other reasons for this.

One thing you can learn from your experience is that, “love at first sight” is to be treated with suspicion. The great 19th century philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, wrote that infatuation, love at first sight and romance, are all natures trick to get us to mate and have children in order to perpetuate the human race. Of course, I do not share his dim view of nature and love but there is a lot to be said for not trusting infatuation.

In order to know if another person in a new relationship is right for you, it is necessary to continue dating until the rush of infatuation wears away and good judgment returns for both of you.

I understand that you are sad. But, to counter that, think of yourself as lucky and move on with your life.

Best of Luck

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