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From boyfriend to ex to friend, but he still lies!


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Hello everyone, I could really use some advice here. 

To give a brief rundown of the situation, I (F, 46) have this friend (M, 57) whom I really get along with, except for the fact that he lies. He might be a compulsive liar, I'm not sure. For full disclosure, we met about 12 years ago, dated briefly, he is not a settle-down type of person so it didn't work out, we didn't speak for years, then we reconnected again years later, dated for about 2 years, he cheated, I caught him, dumped him, we didn't speak again for over a year, then a couple of months ago he reached out to apologize and we decided to stay friends. I know you will ask me why on earth would I be friends with a guy who cheated - well, because in spite of the romantic aspect being a disaster, we have always been great friends. As in, he is the only person I feel comfortable chatting with about mostly everything under the sun, I can be myself with him, we have lots in common and share many of the same personality traits, and he feels the same way. 

I assume y'all will think I am still talking to him because I still have feelings for him, but let me reassure you - I don't. For me, nothing kills romantic feelings faster than cheating. I don't give second chances in such instances, which is why I was able and willing to try and maintain a friendship with him. I have completely moved on in my heart and mind, and there is nothing he could do to change that. The thought of him dating others doesn't bother me one bit, in fact I wish him the best and I'd be willing to befriend the woman, if the situation arose. 

The problem is that even though I made it clear from the moment he reached out to me, 2 months ago, that the only way for this friendship to work is for him to be truthful with me about everything, he still lies. He lied about the circumstances around his cheating (he claimed it was a one time thing when I know it was ongoing), which ok, I get it, he was embarrassed and tried to say whatever put him in a more positive light. But he is still lying about seeing that woman he cheated on me with, even though I know without a doubt that he still does. She has been his friend with benefits for over a decade, he didn't stop seeing her while he was with me, and I reckon he will never stop. Which I'm fine with, and I told him so. I do not care about his sex life, if he likes women like that so be it. I made it clear that I will be dating as well and that nothing romantic or sexual will ever happen between me and him (and I mean it), so I don't understand why he still feels the need to lie! The reason for my post is that last night he once again told me a fib, and it was such a bad lie that I got reminded how much I hate this character flaw of his.

So, I'm confused as to what to do here. Him seeing the woman doesn't bother me at all, it doesn't affect my life in any way. So then, is there any point in confronting him about this issue and reiterating that unless he stops lying, I will walk away from this friendship? Or should I just let it go because it's none of my business? What bothers me is that he thinks I'm gullible when I'm quite the opposite of that, but I feel too embarrassed to call him out on his lies. On the other hand, I feel like he's insulting my intelligence when he lies, and it annoys me having to pretend I believe his lies and carry on as if it's ok.

Also, his lying makes me think that he is holding on to some sort of hope that I will eventually get back together with him romantically and/or sexually, a thought that makes my skin crawl. I just don't see him as a man at this point, I see him as a female friend that I vent to and gab with. 

If any of you would like to share what you would do in my shoes, I'd be very grateful. Sure, ending the friendship is an option, one that I'm not too fond of at least not until the pandemic allows us to resume our lives as normal, because needless to say life is boring these days. Plus making friends is not easy at my age, and especially now with everything at a standstill.

If you made it this far and read my post, I thank you and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts :)

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1 hour ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

The problem is that even though I made it clear from the moment he reached out to me, 2 months ago, that the only way for this friendship to work is for him to be truthful with me about everything, he still lies.

People like this don't respect words. And what else can you really expect from a liar? They use words to lie!

You can't con a conman. He's calling your bluff.

If you really meant it when you said that you wouldn't tolerate his lies, you wouldn't be worrying about this. He'd be long gone. 

If you want him in your life, I think you have to lower your expectations. He's not going to change.

 

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Thank you for your reply, and yes, he will never change. I don't really expect much from him, but given that the relationship ended because of his lies, I would have hoped he'd be more sincere as a friend (he swore he would never lie to me again no matter what). 

I tend to avoid confrontation as much as possible, which is why I generally don't call out my female friends either when I know they aren't being truthful. I just hate being taken for a gullible fool when the reality is that I am extremely aware of the reality around me, but I have to pretend to be dim just to placate people and not embarrass them.

 

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12 minutes ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

I have to pretend to be dim just to placate people and not embarrass them.

Why do you "have" to do this?

Is the idea of "losing" a friend terribly upsetting to you?

Do you lie to your friends?  If not, why tolerate it from them?

I'm wondering if you might have codependent tendencies.

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You need to sit down and define what a friendship really means to you.

You mention you trust him with your secrets and can tell him anything, yet he's not to be trusted because he can't be honest with you.

I'm not sure why you seem so surprised that he still lies even tho you've redefined your friendship a few times over the years 

He's shown you his moral code of conduct and he's a compulsive liar.  Changing the titles of your relationship with him doesn't change how he operates 

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck is probably a duck.

It's not that complicated. Don't make it so.  I'm not friends with people I can't trust.

Your focus seems to be on figuring him out and why he does this.  if you took a step back I think you might find that you're confusion comes from you trying to twist yourself in a pretzel to justify staying friends with somebody that you don't trust.

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2 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

his lying makes me think that he is holding on to some sort of hope that I will eventually get back together with him romantically and/or sexually, a thought that makes my skin crawl. I just don't see him as a man at this point, I see him as a female friend that I vent to and gab with. 

Broaden your social circle rather than stringing him along or trying to fix and change him. Date other men, instead of hanging out with this guy.

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The basis of friendship is respect. 

This man has shown you repeatedly that he does not respect you. It's true that he owes you no details of his love life these days, but he disrespected you by cheating to begin with. I can't fathom why you would trust him with your secrets - you know he is not trustworthy. 

Why do you want a person like this as your "friend"? What do you gain by hanging on to him in any capacity? You are really selling yourself short by having even let this clown back into your life. Respect yourself more and don't keep people like this around. 

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36 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Why do you "have" to do this?

Is the idea of "losing" a friend terribly upsetting to you?

Do you lie to your friends?  If not, why tolerate it from them?

I'm wondering if you might have codependent tendencies.

You hit the nail on the head - yes, I don't have many friends especially now that we can't really go anywhere and see anyone - in fact, I have only one good, trustworthy friend and a couple of "fair weather" female friends who barely keep in touch because we can't do the one thing we have in common (that involves going out).

So basically for the past year I have been talking to only one person, and now him, for the past 2 months. My family lives on a different continent, so my options for social contact are extremely limited. 

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17 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Broaden your social circle rather than stringing him along or trying to fix and change him. Date other men, instead of hanging out with this guy.

I will most definitely date other men, but for the time being we are on strict lockdowns where I live which makes dating impossible.

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4 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

The basis of friendship is respect. 

This man has shown you repeatedly that he does not respect you. It's true that he owes you no details of his love life these days, but he disrespected you by cheating to begin with. I can't fathom why you would trust him with your secrets - you know he is not trustworthy. 

Why do you want a person like this as your "friend"? What do you gain by hanging on to him in any capacity? You are really selling yourself short by having even let this clown back into your life. Respect yourself more and don't keep people like this around. 

You are 100% right, part of me feels like he doesn't deserve my time - mind you, I haven't seen him in person since we started talking 2 months ago, and I don't intend to, until the pandemic is over. But I guess even the fact that I agreed to staying friends gave him the false impression that what he's done in the past is water under the bridge, when it's not - the trust wasn't going to be there anyway, let alone now that I realize he continues to lie.

The more I talk about this, the more I realize I need to reduce the contact slowly, until it fades completely. If he was honest with me about his life, I would have been interested in this friendship, yes. But he is not honest and this is not a friendship I am proud of. Darn lol.

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2 minutes ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

If he was honest with me about his life, I would have been interested in this friendship, yes. 

Sincere question, but can I ask why?

This man has not treated you right. You might want to think about where your boundaries are and what happened to your self-esteem that make you interested in having this person in your life at all. 

I find it strange that you give him the time of day at all, let alone want him to be your friend. 

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2 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

I made it clear from the moment he reached out to me, 2 months ago, that the only way for this friendship to work is for him to be truthful with me about everything, he still lies

- Yah, good luck.. He is a liar.  Some are.  My son has a friend who is like this.  he still deals with him- but is well aware of his behaviour... So, he knows now, where & when not to go with this guy.

 

2 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

He lied about the circumstances around his cheating (he claimed it was a one time thing when I know it was ongoing), which ok, I get it, he was embarrassed and tried to say whatever put him in a more positive light. But he is still lying about seeing that woman he cheated on me with, even though I know without a doubt that he still does. She has been his friend with benefits for over a decade

Fact is: He lies.  And is YOUR choice to remain friends, then you WILL hear about everything!

As for all he is saying.. as you two continue.. to talk about your past, involvement.. why does it matter?  Why does it still bother you?  ( You say you are over him....).

How about you just stop talking about your past? It's done.. don't go there.

 

2 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

So then, is there any point in confronting him about this issue and reiterating that unless he stops lying, I will walk away from this friendship? Or should I just let it go because it's none of my business? What bothers me is that he thinks I'm gullible when I'm quite the opposite of that, but I feel too embarrassed to call him out on his lies. On the other hand, I feel like he's insulting my intelligence when he lies, and it annoys me

- He is well aware of his behaviour - no need to point it out. ( some ppl do this so they can try & remain some sort of innocence- I feel an insecurity, because they know they're at fault).

- YOU are annoyed by this 'friend'.  Then stop dealing with him- as it is causing quite a disturbance on you.

So, he is just not someone for you - to be in your life.

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18 minutes ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

I haven't seen him in person since we started talking 2 months ago, and I don't intend to, until the pandemic is over. But I guess even the fact that I agreed to staying friends gave him the false impression that what he's done in the past is water under the bridge, when it's not - the trust wasn't going to be there anyway, let alone now that I realize he continues to lie.

 

You haven't seen him and don't intend to- until the pandemic is over??  Why would you even entertain the thought?

YOU are still deeply affected by him.. what he has done to you.. As you say.. YOU "agreeing to 'stay friends', gave him the false impression that's what he's done in the past is water under the bridge, when it's not"

- Think on that.

You are obviously still bothered by ALL of this with him- of your past.

I don't feel you two can be 'true friends'.. you're putting up a front, when him being a friend- isn't possible.

Back off then, stop giving him your time/energy and be honest.. That this is a no go!

 

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1 hour ago, MissCanuck said:

Sincere question, but can I ask why?

This man has not treated you right. You might want to think about where your boundaries are and what happened to your self-esteem that make you interested in having this person in your life at all. 

I find it strange that you give him the time of day at all, let alone want him to be your friend. 

Yeah, it makes no sense to say to a liar, "I just want you to lie and say that you'll be honest with me."

Sure, that's pretty easy for a liar to do--but where do you expect it to lead you?

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2 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

You hit the nail on the head - yes, I don't have many friends especially now that we can't really go anywhere and see anyone - in fact, I have only one good, trustworthy friend and a couple of "fair weather" female friends who barely keep in touch because we can't do the one thing we have in common (that involves going out).

So basically for the past year I have been talking to only one person, and now him, for the past 2 months. My family lives on a different continent, so my options for social contact are extremely limited. 

So you can't see him or any of your friends in person, nor your family.

The means of communication with him is the same as with your family who is on a different continent, correct?

So if you can communicate with other people electronically, I don't see the point of hanging onto this person who you know for a fact lies.  It's not like you see him in person because you don't.

I'm trying to figure out why this makes sense.

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3 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

Sincere question, but can I ask why?

This man has not treated you right. You might want to think about where your boundaries are and what happened to your self-esteem that make you interested in having this person in your life at all. 

I find it strange that you give him the time of day at all, let alone want him to be your friend. 

He is easy to talk to, and very available (because he doesn't have much else going in his life other than his work - no kids, no friends other than the woman I mentioned). I haven't been able to make any new friends in years, and those I did make proved to be about as unreliable as this guy or worse, so I kind of gave up on the idea of ever meeting worthwhile people to befriend. 

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1 hour ago, boltnrun said:

So you can't see him or any of your friends in person, nor your family.

The means of communication with him is the same as with your family who is on a different continent, correct?

So if you can communicate with other people electronically, I don't see the point of hanging onto this person who you know for a fact lies.  It's not like you see him in person because you don't.

I'm trying to figure out why this makes sense.

Lol you make a good point,  I haven't thought about it this way! The thing is that the day has to come when everything opens up, and when it does he is one of the 3 people I can actually do things with in person. 

But really, I think it's mostly wishful thinking on my part. I envisioned us being able to have this successful friendship to replace the failed relationship, a friendship based on honesty and trust. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be the case, so I have to rethink everything :(

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40 minutes ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

I envisioned us being able to have this successful friendship to replace the failed relationship, a friendship based on honesty and trust. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be the case, so I have to rethink everything :(

You nailed it. Your "vision" is just a fantasy.  Like you say, wishful thinking.  It ain't gonna happen.  This guy is never going to change his ways.  He's shown you how he operates.  It's not too impressive so I struggle to understand why you would even want a friendship with him.  

Raise your standards. You don't need cheating liars in your life.  They bring you down.  

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9 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

Thank you for your reply, and yes, he will never change. I don't really expect much from him, but given that the relationship ended because of his lies, I would have hoped he'd be more sincere as a friend (he swore he would never lie to me again no matter what). 

I tend to avoid confrontation as much as possible, which is why I generally don't call out my female friends either when I know they aren't being truthful. I just hate being taken for a gullible fool when the reality is that I am extremely aware of the reality around me, but I have to pretend to be dim just to placate people and not embarrass them.

 

Why are these people you "friends?"   It sounds like your picker is really off and you make very poor choices.

I am 57 and am still making new friends-well, pre pandemic.   I met many new people through volunteering and mutual friends. .  You can also meet others through Meetups, class, clubs (hiking, walking etc..)   There are a lot of great people out there, you just have to be more selective.   Tolerating lying and other shady behavior should be a deal breaker.   This is why you have bad experiences as you allow crappy people into your life.

Another red flag should be someone that does not have any friends.  Just like your ex.  There is a reason why he doesn't have friends.

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10 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

 But really, I think it's mostly wishful thinking on my part. I envisioned us being able to have this successful friendship to replace the failed relationship, a friendship based on honesty and trust. 

I would dig a little deeper and figure out why it was important to you to hang on to this man. 

You're right, it was wistful thinking, but it bears exploring why it was ever an appealing option for you to begin with. 

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14 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

I envisioned us being able to have this successful friendship to replace the failed relationship, a friendship based on honesty and trust.

Well, that whole premise is flawed. Given his personality and your experience with him, it is not realistic to expect a friendship based on honesty and trust. He's a liar, and you're lying to yourself about what you want from this relationship. That dream was over before it even started!

It's possible to get along great with someone who is a total liar--but you have to have REALLY, REALLY good boundaries and be very aware of what you're dealing with, their limitations, etc. It's a lot of effort, and the only time it's really worth doing is if it's someone you can't get rid of, like a family member, or a coworker, or an acquaintance that you have to deal with because of mutual friends. Or possibly if it's someone who shares a unique hobby with you, or you have a really long drive ahead of you and their a good copilot, etc.

But you don't invite a liar into your life unless you have to. Those are the people who bring pain and suffering and unnecessary complications. They are the ones to cut out of your life. And when you want a friendship based on honesty and trust, the last person on the planet that you approach for that is a liar. 

 

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10 hours ago, Hollyj said:

Why are these people you "friends?"   It sounds like your picker is really off and you make very poor choices.

I am 57 and am still making new friends-well, pre pandemic.   I met many new people through volunteering and mutual friends. .  You can also meet others through Meetups, class, clubs (hiking, walking etc..)   There are a lot of great people out there, you just have to be more selective.   Tolerating lying and other shady behavior should be a deal breaker.   This is why you have bad experiences as you allow crappy people into your life.

Another red flag should be someone that does not have any friends.  Just like your ex.  There is a reason why he doesn't have friends.

This is what I intend to do as well, once things open up - join meetups and whatever other places that can help one meet new friends. I wish I did it pre-pandemic but I was too lazy and complacent.

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