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My boyfriend of 5 years lied to me


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Hello,

 

Two nights ago my boyfriend of five years confessed to me that he has lied about something from his past.

 

We've known each other for close to ten years, we had friends in common in high school but never really talked. It was only a couple of years into college that we started talking and really bonding. At first it was as friends and he helped me get through very dark moments in my life. At that time I told him things I had never told anyone before, traumatic events that had happened to me - and in return he trusted me with a traumatic event of his own past.

 

He's just confessed to me that that traumatic event he told me and all our friends is not true. When he met all of us he had just moved places, so he wanted a clean start. He didn't want to talk about his unhappy past, so he invented a story instead. We all believed he had seen one of his friends die in front of his eyes, so none of us ever dared to ask about his life before high school. This friend existed, but is very much alive, they simply parted on bad terms.

 

I believe he suffered from depression at some point but never sought help.

 

He's confessed his lie to me and our friends also. They all reacted positively, with words of encouragement. They said they understand how one can get caught up in a lie and that they felt sad for him that he didn't feel like he could open up to us and instead felt compelled to lie.

 

I, on the other hand, feel very betrayed. The intimate conversations about our traumatic pasts is what started us growing closer. I trusted him with a very real, very damaging event that still hurts me to this day and got a lie in return. We've been together for a long time, with trust and communication as the basis of our relationship, everyone around us envied us that open dialogue and honesty with each other.

 

Recently we've had serious talks with each other and our families about getting married next year. It's our upcoming engagement that prompted him to reveal his lie, he said he wanted to come clean before taking that step.

 

I'm disappointed and angry, but also scared that this revelation has destroyed something. I love him, he's a good man. He's kind, generous, hard-working and funny. His friends are my friends too, we're a tight knit group since high school. I absolutely adore his parents, and he loves my parents and siblings too. We were perfect together, it was easy and wonderful.

 

But now there is this lie and I'm confused. Forgiveness is important to me, yet I feel so betrayed. Does anyone have any advice?

 

Thank you for your time,

 

Lila.

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The time frames don’t make sense to me. You say you have known him 10 years , dating for 5.

 

Then you say ...

 

“When he met all of us he had just moved places, so he wanted a clean start. He didn't want to talk about his unhappy past, so he invented a story instead.”

 

 

So did he tell his story 10 years ago, 5 years ago or now?

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It is still relatively new and fresh since he has told you, so it has you shaken up a bit. It's important to let it sit, talk about it for a while before making any decision.

 

Are you worried that he may have lied about something else? That your intimacy and closeness was based on something that wasn't true? The key to accepting this and moving on, in whichever manner you decide, is identifying the fears this has brought out in you.

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Hey there,

 

I totally understand you.

 

You open your deepest scars to someone and they put on a mask for you in return.

 

That, to a certain extent, is betrayal as you say. And it hurts so much when someone you thought you were really intimate with was never honest from the start.

 

However, I would like you to look at things from another perspective.

 

First, he confessed. He would have chosen to keep quiet about it all his life and let things run as normal.

 

And maybe, just maybe, you would not have found that out at all.

 

Now that would have been the greatest betrayal of all time.

 

It is actually far worse than having someone admit he lied before taking things to a more serious level.

 

If my opinion counts, he decided to admit to his lies because he wanted a clean future with you.

 

Which means he is very serious about you.

 

Think about it. Why would you want to confess a really deep lie when you are not interested in someone?

 

Why choose to show your dirty side to someone when you know they won’t be happy with you and might leave you?

 

That is guilt, if you ask me. Guilt that is based on strong feelings of love.

 

The other thing, you have said that you are compatible with him in all ways.

 

Which means he is pretty much your "THE ONE" if you believe in that. I personally do.

 

Also, to find someone you are compatible with on 2 aspects is very hard, talk less of all the aspects you have told us.

 

You might not find another person like that anytime soon.

 

And then you will wish you stayed with him, long after you left him and things changed for the both of you.

 

My advice, keep him. You might leave him for another person you may think is better than him and find out he was much better than the second guy when it is too late.

 

Everyone is broken in some way. You have known where he is broken and he has proven he is willing to change. That’s real potential right there!

 

Just take time to soak it all in, and then come out of it but don’t lose the guy.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Cheers.

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I think we have all different versions of ourselves as life evolves.

 

We aren't the same people we were 5 years ago or even a year ago. We grow, we learn, we change.

 

What he did was wrong, it was a huge lie. But I also think it's important to take into account the context of the lie. He wasn't lying because he behaved badly or because he had done something criminal or was trying to save face.

 

He lied because he was trying to fit in. Trying to find a way to relate. To connect.

 

I don't think lying is okay and I am not trying to justify it, but on the other hand, he made a mistake. We are all guilty of that.

He also has done the right thing and owned up to it. It takes a decent man to do that as he could have easily kept it hidden.

 

But he wanted to do the right thing and come clean. That is admirable.

 

I, personally think this is forgivable. But it's important as well for you to ask yourself certain questions. Do you trust him? Has he lied since? Do you feel he is going to be an honest man from now on? Can you move past this?

 

This truly is for you to work out if you can forgive and move forward with him now, or not.

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The time frames don’t make sense to me. You say you have known him 10 years , dating for 5.

 

Then you say ...

 

“When he met all of us he had just moved places, so he wanted a clean start. He didn't want to talk about his unhappy past, so he invented a story instead.”

 

 

So did he tell his story 10 years ago, 5 years ago or now?

 

He moved across country in the summer right before the start of high school. New school, new friends, he invented a story to avoid talking to them about his life before the move. He only told me in college because we weren't close in high school. So he told his story to our friends 10 years ago and to me about 6 years ago.

 

Two days ago he's revealed to all of us that it was in fact a lie.

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Everyone is broken in some way. You have known where he is broken and he has proven he is willing to change. That’s real potential right there!

 

Just take time to soak it all in, and then come out of it but don’t lose the guy.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Cheers.

 

Thank you, what you said is really insightful. You're right, everybody is broken in some way, none of us are perfect...

 

I do believe he's the one for me and I don't want to lose what we have together. I really need to think more about it, and about what you said about guilt. Thank you again!

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Sounds like he has grown up and matured enough to deal with life better than making up stories to fit in.

 

On the one hand, I sympathize with your sense of betrayal. On the other hand, it's not good to base your relationship and your emotional connection to someone on mutual trauma bonding. A lot of young people do this and think it makes you close to share these things. However, as you get older, you start learning and realizing that your partner, spouse, bf/gf, aren't your therapists or confessors and you shouldn't treat them as such. If you want to share and talk about it, you should do it honestly yourself, meaning without expectations and without placing some burden on the other person. Expectations are best left to therapists who can actually help you deal with trauma.

 

So he has matured and owned up to some youthful things he has done. His friends get it. Now it's time for you to also mature into a healthier idea of connection. No partner is perfect, no relationship is without conflict. You have to learn how to deal and how to let go of things and move forward.

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So what we are talking about here, essentially, is a lie told by a 14 year old? New kid shows up in a new place, at a new school, and concocts a story that helps him fit in, helps him move forward from the past and into the present. Not the coolest, but pretty understandable. Fourteen is fourteen.

 

And, yeah, it kind of stuck and expanded, as happens with lies. Didn't want to tell his new fiends because he didn't want to lose them. Wasn't quite mature enough yet. He probably came to "believe" that lie, in ways, or at least find comfort in it—since, while not technically true, it was born from truth: a traumatic chapter in his life. So he was being honest about something (bad times) but expressing it through a dishonest story (dead friend).

 

This is all pretty understandable, forgivable, if you can harness some deeper empathy. This lie is not about you, not something he concocted to "get you," but something that predated you, had nothing to do with you. Yeah, it sucks that your initial bonding point was mutual trauma, and that's now a bit fuzzy, but it sounds like he was relating from a real place, a genuine place, just using different "facts" to express that. Also, hopefully by this state you guys have a lot more in common than just having traumatic pasts, a lot more to lean on and into.

 

If he's a good guy, if aside from this you haven't had reason to doubt him, I don't see this as a dealbreaker. More like a thorn from his past, his long ago past, that stayed in there a bit too long. Best part? He has removed it, owned it. That is admirable stuff, right there. Zoom out just a hair and what he just displayed, in telling you and his friends, is solid character—the best of stuff, the stuff we want from partners.

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I think we have all different versions of ourselves as life evolves.

 

We aren't the same people we were 5 years ago or even a year ago. We grow, we learn, we change.

 

What he did was wrong, it was a huge lie. But I also think it's important to take into account the context of the lie. He wasn't lying because he behaved badly or because he had done something criminal or was trying to save face.

 

He lied because he was trying to fit in. Trying to find a way to relate. To connect.

 

I don't think lying is okay and I am not trying to justify it, but on the other hand, he made a mistake. We are all guilty of that.

He also has done the right thing and owned up to it. It takes a decent man to do that as he could have easily kept it hidden.

 

But he wanted to do the right thing and come clean. That is admirable.

 

I, personally think this is forgivable. But it's important as well for you to ask yourself certain questions. Do you trust him? Has he lied since? Do you feel he is going to be an honest man from now on? Can you move past this?

 

This truly is for you to work out if you can forgive and move forward with him now, or not.

 

Thank you for your insight! He's always very honest, that's why it hit me so hard I think. I know he didn't lie to hurt me, only to protect himself in a way, to avoid being vulnerable and talking about unhappy moments. And you're right, he could have kept it hidden and nobody would have ever found out.

 

I want to forgive him, but for now there's disappointment and resentment in my heart and I don't like it. It's hard having such negative feelings for the person I love most in the world. I'm unsure how to process those feelings in order to forgive and move on.

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Sounds like he has grown up and matured enough to deal with life better than making up stories to fit in.

 

On the one hand, I sympathize with your sense of betrayal. On the other hand, it's not good to base your relationship and your emotional connection to someone on mutual trauma bonding. A lot of young people do this and think it makes you close to share these things. However, as you get older, you start learning and realizing that your partner, spouse, bf/gf, aren't your therapists or confessors and you shouldn't treat them as such. If you want to share and talk about it, you should do it honestly yourself, meaning without expectations and without placing some burden on the other person. Expectations are best left to therapists who can actually help you deal with trauma.

 

So he has matured and owned up to some youthful things he has done. His friends get it. Now it's time for you to also mature into a healthier idea of connection. No partner is perfect, no relationship is without conflict. You have to learn how to deal and how to let go of things and move forward.

 

What you said about bonding over trauma is very true. Your advice on maturing is very insightful and interesting. Thank you!

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So what we are talking about here, essentially, is a lie told by a 14 year old? New kid shows up in a new place, at a new school, and concocts a story that helps him fit in, helps him move forward from the past and into the present. Not the coolest, but pretty understandable. Fourteen is fourteen.

 

And, yeah, it kind of stuck and expanded, as happens with lies. Didn't want to tell his new fiends because he didn't want to lose them. Wasn't quite mature enough yet. He probably came to "believe" that lie, in ways, or at least find comfort in it—since, while not technically true, it was born from truth: a traumatic chapter in his life. So he was being honest about something (bad times) but expressing it through a dishonest story (dead friend).

 

This is all pretty understandable, forgivable, if you can harness some deeper empathy. This lie is not about you, not something he concocted to "get you," but something that predated you, had nothing to do with you. Yeah, it sucks that your initial bonding point was mutual trauma, and that's now a bit fuzzy, but it sounds like he was relating from a real place, a genuine place, just using different "facts" to express that. Also, hopefully by this state you guys have a lot more in common than just having traumatic pasts, a lot more to lean on and into.

 

If he's a good guy, if aside from this you haven't had reason to doubt him, I don't see this as a dealbreaker. More like a thorn from his past, his long ago past, that stayed in there a bit too long. Best part? He has removed it, owned it. That is admirable stuff, right there. Zoom out just a hair and what he just displayed, in telling you and his friends, is solid character—the best of stuff, the stuff we want from partners.

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer! What you said about the lie expanding was very interesting. I think he came to believe it himself a little bit, which was easier than to admit that he'd lied.

 

 

Our friends all reacted positively. They were glad he was honest and apologetic enough to tell them the truth. I probably would have reacted the same way if this lie had not been part of the start of our connection. But we do have a lot more in common. So much more. I guess I needed a reminder.

 

I'll meditate on it...

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DancingFool made a very good point about trauma bonding. It's very natural, especially when we're young, and presents a fast-track to intimacy and vulnerability. The problem with trauma bonding, though, is that you risk being frozen in that "broken" state, especially if you build heat and warmth with someone through sharing all those "broken" pieces. You kind of become mirrors to each other's pain and damage, rather than to each other's strengths.

 

Good news, here? It sounds like you guys have built so much more than that—and, in a way, his 'fessing up is just proof of that. He doesn't want to be "that guy" anymore, and probably hasn't wanted to be that guy for a long time. Because he isn't. He's the good, kind dude you've been building a special little universe with, the guy building a special universe with his friends too.

 

Him telling all of you the truth is a big show of strength, of maturity—that's the stuff to bond over, not the broken pieces, because it's strength and maturity that allows us to take those broken pieces and stitch them into a beautiful whole again. I know it's hard, and I sympathize with your emotional turbulence right now, but if you can breathe into this I think you may find this presents a place for you guys to get closer, go deeper—within yourselves, as individuals, and together, as a couple.

 

Growth sometimes hurts. Growing pains, we say. But pain recedes, while growth is forever. It's okay to feel some craggy feelings right now—the bitterness, the resentment, mixed in with the sweetness, the joy. That's human, and learning to let some contradictory feelings move through us—about ourselves, about another—without reacting immediately is a real skill. If you can find that skill in yourself, right now, alongside him I think you'll learn what it feels like to grow with and next to a person. Talk to couples who go the distance and they'll often tell you that it's that—far more than the hot sex, the supportive chats, the cuddles during movies, and so on—that is the most magical thing to share with another person.

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I want to forgive him, but for now there's disappointment and resentment in my heart and I don't like it. It's hard having such negative feelings for the person I love most in the world. I'm unsure how to process those feelings in order to forgive and move on.

 

I would avoid rushing it. Sure, we all want to feel better as quickly as possible when we feel lousy, but if you gulp it down in a rush to repair your relationship prematurely, you'll build resentment that will grow over time.

 

I'd tell BF that I love him, but I want some time alone for a while to let this set with me. Then go about your life while taking moments to process this appropriately.

 

I once heard a great quote, "Forgiveness doesn't mean that we need to have lunch yet."

 

Take some time to process, and take all the time you need.

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Sorry to hear this is going on. It's confusing. However his friends have the right attitude and do not take it personally. They have a good perspective that he had issues and now has decided to start righting them.

He's confessed his lie to me and our friends also. They all reacted positively, with words of encouragement. They said they understand how one can get caught up in a lie and that they felt sad for him that he didn't feel like he could open up to us and instead felt compelled to lie
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I love him, he's a good man. He's kind, generous, hard-working and funny. His friends are my friends too, we're a tight knit group since high school. I absolutely adore his parents, and he loves my parents and siblings too. We were perfect together, it was easy and wonderful.
Then do your best to not make the focus about you, I say that with your best interests in mind, instead focus on the above and be grateful that he had the ballzzz to fess up and set the record straight before you got married. (thereby giving you the chance to break up if you can't reconcile the truth with your feelings of being betrayed).

 

I dunno, good guys that treat you right, show you they value you, show you love, love your parents and they love him seem to be very hard to come by these days so do your best to do that reconciling and focus on the positive and leave this negative where it belongs... in the past.

 

Good luck. I hope you can move on from this.

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