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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My wife told me a bold-face lie last night. It was something inane, to the extent that I don't even understand why she bothered to lie. I only found out about the lie when my daughter told me something contradictory the next day. I actually believed my 12yr old daughter, because she is generally pretty honest.

Anyway, when I spoke about it with my wife, she denied the lie, and then even called my daughter over and chastised her, telling her to get her story straight and not lie to her father. I still knew something wasn't right. Eventually my wife told the truth about the situation. Even then, she refused to be called a "liar", and instead said that sometimes she doesn't tell me the truth because she thinks I might get upset, or carry on about it. That in itself is a bit offensive, because I'm not a raving madman, I don't have a huge temper. I think I'm fairly placid most of the time.

Honesty is very important to me. We've had some trust issues in the past, so it's a sensitive topic for me. It wasn't infidelity, rather it was hidden credit cards, gossiping with her Mom about our marriage etc. As a human I can admit I've told white lies on occasion, but will always confess them, so I don't understand why it should be so difficult for her to do the same.

I'm at the point where I am genuinely considering separating from her. The main reason is that she said she feels her justification for the lie was fine, which makes me feel that she will continue to lie if she thinks that telling the truth will result in an inconvenience for her, and I will never know when she is being honest, and when she is lying. I really don't know where to go from here as I get stone-walled if I try bring it up. She refuses to accept responsibility and immediately starts deflecting, and somehow tries to make this about me. We have 3 beautiful kids, but this saga has played out in front of them, and she has even brought them into the conversation (well my older daughter anyway). I think it's horrible modelling for the children.
 

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My wife told me a bold-face lie last night. It was something inane, to the extent that I don't even understand why she bothered to lie. I only found out about the lie when my daughter told me something contradictory the next day. I actually believed my 12yr old daughter, because she is generally pretty honest.

Anyway, when I spoke about it with my wife, she denied the lie, and then even called my daughter over and chastised her, telling her to get her story straight and not lie to her father. I still knew something wasn't right. Eventually my wife told the truth about the situation. Even then, she refused to be called a "liar", and instead said that sometimes she doesn't tell me the truth because she thinks I might get upset, or carry on about it. That in itself is a bit offensive, because I'm not a raving madman, I don't have a huge temper. I think I'm fairly placid most of the time.

Honesty is very important to me. We've had some trust issues in the past, so it's a sensitive topic for me. It wasn't infidelity, rather it was hidden credit cards, gossiping with her Mom about our marriage etc. As a human I can admit I've told white lies on occasion, but will always confess them, so I don't understand why it should be so difficult for her to do the same.

I'm at the point where I am genuinely considering separating from her. The main reason is that she said she feels her justification for the lie was fine, which makes me feel that she will continue to lie if she thinks that telling the truth will result in an inconvenience for her, and I will never know when she is being honest, and when she is lying. I really don't know where to go from here as I get stone-walled if I try bring it up. She refuses to accept responsibility and immediately starts deflecting, and somehow tries to make this about me. We have 3 beautiful kids, but this saga has played out in front of them, and she has even brought them into the conversation (well my older daughter anyway). I think it's horrible modelling for the children.
Look up "people pleaser personality". I had EXACTLY this problem with my now ex, and over a period of years, realized it was not solvable. It is a pathological psychological condition, and unless the person doing it gets serious about dealing with it, you will feel her pull further and further away as her fearful avoidance of any form of conflict gets worse and worse. This is not a person you will get closer to -her lack of trust in you will spread to a lack of trust in others. Do look up that phrase and read the articles.
 

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Leaving your family isn't better model behavior. You set just as bad an example for them while claiming them being of some level of importance, but they obviously are not. Instead of leaving, consider marriage counseling. And your wife needs individual counseling.
 

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@DustyDog I can definitely see elements of the "People pleaser" in her, but that mainly seems to be with others, like co-workers, friends, and people that she engages with on a more superficial level. At home, she's the opposite (well, with me at least). She does spoil the kids a bit much, and I feel she likes the attention, but to me, she's very different.
 

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@StarFires - I agree, but I am human. I live for my family, work hard at my job, help around the house, look after the kids, and it feels like all I have now is a wife who trashes me to our oldest daughter and sets a bad example for her. This is one of those situations where I feel like we are staying together for the kids, but nobody will admit it. I don't even know how I would broach a conversation about counselling with someone so obstinate that they wont admit any wrong doing.
 

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@DustyDog I can definitely see elements of the "People pleaser" in her, but that mainly seems to be with others, like co-workers, friends, and people that she engages with on a more superficial level. At home, she's the opposite (well, with me at least). She does spoil the kids a bit much, and I feel she likes the attention, but to me, she's very different.
I don't understand this. What you described - the lying for convenience and the stonewalling - are the #1 trademarks of the people-pleasing pathology. There are no other stronger elements. What do you think is missing? Yes, most people-pleasers are selective in their targets of who to behave this way toward. Usually, it's people who they think have some power over them - bosses and spouses and other people who really need them to be honest tend to be the most common victims.

It is, in fact, a further evidence that she's this way with people she engages with superficially - there's even LESS reason to want to please them, and their conversations should never be about topics so delicate that she'd be uncomfortable telling them anything. "Who has to sign this document next?" If the right answer is Amy, but nobody likes Amy, does she lie and say "Susan"? If so, then she's a pretty bad case of it.

As I read your initial posting, I saw my ex-wife's face doing all that you said. You must come to terms with this. We went to a marital counselor, and it took over six months before my then-wife even admitted she had been behaving this way. We were 14 years into the marriage by then, and there had been so many cases of me not knowing the truth that I had completely lost track of who I was married to. Many things that she presented strongly with in the first few years were finally uncovered when she said things like "I always hated dancing, why did you insist we go every last Friday of the month?". "Uh, well, because in our first year of dating you said you loved dancing more than anything?" "I never meant that, I only said it to give you something to do with me." Seriously. That is where this is headed if you can't grapple with it soon.

Maybe I'm mis-inerpreting, but unless you provide, more or less word-for-word, the specific conversation, it's going to be hard to tell.

Look up Stonewalling, too, particularly articles by John Gottman. Tied directly to people-pleasing, and considered one of the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" that guarantees a relationship is headed toward divorce (98% probability, per Gottman's study of 100,000 couples).

One article I read said the people-pleaser is the most difficult personality issue to overcome. It's highly tied with irrational fears, which are very difficult to resolve.

DD
 

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My wife told me a bold-face lie last night. It was something inane, to the extent that I don't even understand why she bothered to lie. I only found out about the lie when my daughter told me something contradictory the next day. I actually believed my 12yr old daughter, because she is generally pretty honest.

Anyway, when I spoke about it with my wife, she denied the lie, and then even called my daughter over and chastised her, telling her to get her story straight and not lie to her father. I still knew something wasn't right. Eventually my wife told the truth about the situation. Even then, she refused to be called a "liar", and instead said that sometimes she doesn't tell me the truth because she thinks I might get upset, or carry on about it. That in itself is a bit offensive, because I'm not a raving madman, I don't have a huge temper. I think I'm fairly placid most of the time.

Honesty is very important to me. We've had some trust issues in the past, so it's a sensitive topic for me. It wasn't infidelity, rather it was hidden credit cards, gossiping with her Mom about our marriage etc. As a human I can admit I've told white lies on occasion, but will always confess them, so I don't understand why it should be so difficult for her to do the same.

I'm at the point where I am genuinely considering separating from her. The main reason is that she said she feels her justification for the lie was fine, which makes me feel that she will continue to lie if she thinks that telling the truth will result in an inconvenience for her, and I will never know when she is being honest, and when she is lying. I really don't know where to go from here as I get stone-walled if I try bring it up. She refuses to accept responsibility and immediately starts deflecting, and somehow tries to make this about me. We have 3 beautiful kids, but this saga has played out in front of them, and she has even brought them into the conversation (well my older daughter anyway). I think it's horrible modelling for the children.[/QUO

So incredibly sad when parents drag their kids into their personal issues, poor kid.
 

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Ex-wife had a habit of omitting the truth, evading the question, but never outright lying to my face. In the end today I still trust her, and hell even learnt how to "lie" from her through omission as to be much more diplomatic - by nature I'm too brutally honest to the point of being an insensitive sociopath.

But a bold-faced lie... there goes the trust.

So no, it's not ok for me either.

Everyone lies, but it's important to be honest when it counts. You confronted your wife and in that situation you depended on her to be honest, she wasn't. You can't work with that.
 

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Bringing the daughter in on the lie was beyond the pale. Unbelievable. Teaching the daughter to team up on lies to Dad?!!

She lies when she figures it pays. That's always the reason. Blaming you is called "blaming the victim". (You'll get mad if I tell you the truth). So of course you are offended. You get lied to, then told it is your own fault.

To answer your question, no - she has no business lying. It is catastrophic to marriages. The trust that is broken is just so far out of proportion to any gain that can be had from lying it proves what kind of character disorder you are dealing with.
 

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Being someone who values honesty a lot, I can relate to how you feel. It’s really unsettling that our spouses would lie or ommit the truth then justifies it by saying that we might not handle the truth. It takes away our right to handle the truth, and even if we might not react well, it could be an opportunity to learn to handle things together. By not being honest we would not grow as a couple. It’s also a justification for cowardy and thry need to be responsible of their own feelings too.

With that said I agree with @StarFires. Leaving a marriage over this issue instead of lerning how to fix it first is not a model behavior as well. It teaches the kids that at any more difficult issue they should just leave a relationship, and it also shows that your marriage is just it. Is there no value in your marriage that is worth trying?
Is your marriage fine otherwise? Or are there other issues?
 

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It depends. If it's a response to "Do I look fat in these jeans?" type of question, or perhaps to plan a nice surprise for your spouse, then lying for my convenience is fine. Pretty much everything else could do more harm (or jeopardize trust) than would justify any convenience to me. As for strangers ... well, it depends, but the criteria are far looser.
 

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Whatever the "lie" was is pretty much never discussed so I really couldn't comment on that. But several other things stood out which in any case would make me more upset. First off, it was chastising a kid and then undercutting them by coming clean. What a horrible example she has just set for that child. I an imagine the child is extremely confused about the message/ It seems to be cover my backside no matter what. If so it is sort of understandable why so many people defend their choices despite everything saying it is wrong, as in our current politics. The other thing is hidden credit cards. To me the act of having them would be worse than the lie of covering them up.
 

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You have a much bigger problem than a lying wife.

You have a woman whose willing to accuse her own kid of LYING just to cover her OWN lying ass.

That's Mother of the Year material, right there. :surprise:
 

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Let me add my voice to the chorus of posters who have honed on in your wife getting on your daughter.

This is your biggest problem. It's one thing to try to shade the truth (bad enough), but it's something else entirely to reprimand a child for being a child or, worse, just telling the truth. That's the worst possible example right there.

I agree, wife needs some counseling here.
 

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Years ago, my ex and I got into an argument because I found out that she would routinely tell the kids "don't tell dad", but it was all for stupid stuff. For example, she might buy a little something for one of them, then say "don't tell dad". One day, DS3 mentioned something to me and said that mom didn't want him to tell, I asked her about it, then all of the kids started singing like canaries about how their mom had done this. My ex did this because she was afraid that I'd get mad if I knew that she spent money on some trinket, or whatever, but I had never done so, wouldn't do so, and never did. For the life of me, I don't understand why she thought that or why she would tell the kids to hide something from me. It was not a good example to set and that made me mad. Of course, I later found that she had much deeper secrets and lies. In for a penny, in for a pound, I guess.
 

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My husband does this type of thing. I hate it I think it is demeaning to those who are lied to, but I have learned, as others have said, that it is a a strange conflict-avoidance behavior that others here have labeled "people pleasing". The irony is that in trying to avoid trivial conflicts, they ultimately causes deep conflict.

Unless this pattern is new or she is hiding adultery, you can pretty much let it go and deal with it as it arises to show her you know she is lying and that you don't like it. BUT....in your case she pulled your daughter in and chastised her for something she apparently did not do to cover up her own lie. To me, this is sick behavior and I would not want my kids around it.
 

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Just a little more on lying. Think of the lying process as a loop. You have the liar, the lie, the receiver, and the reaction. Liars:

- Lie for a reason, and that is to protect themselves or others from consequences.

- Make judgments about which lies are harmless (white lies), but almost only from their own perspective. They usually don't take the "receiver's" perspective into account. Therefore, people who tell a white lie that gets exposed are often surprised by the reaction of the receiver.

- Judge the weight of a lie on a spectrum, which ranges from "least harm" to "most harm", which is based on the moral perspective of the liar. Think of it this way. Many people would agree that it is ok to tell their grandmother that her cookies tasted great, even if they weren't. Why? To protect their grandmother's feelings. Getting caught may mean she doesn't make cookies for you again, but she will always love you. However, what about lying to their boss? The consequence bar for the fact, or action, being concealed would have to outweigh the consequences of getting caught in that lie. So, make a mistake at work? Most people will own it if they know it doesn't mean getting fired. However, make a mistake that is a sure firing? Lie to the boss.

- Don't think much about the consequences of the action of lying, but only of the fact, or action, being exposed. Many times, the consequence of the act of telling the lie turns out to be worse than what was being lied about to the receiver. For example, lost of trust.

When a liar is caught, lots of things can happen. But the liar's reaction is going to be proportional to the gravity of the lie. Think about the post lie situation as a reconciliation or divorce period. One can either remove the liar from their lives or stay with the liar but work to rebuild the trust that was lost. The key to dealing with lies is to get to and understand the real "why lie?" behind the lie. Having a rational discussion after understanding how the lying loop works can be helpful, but only if the liar is honest. Once liars get comfortable with lying, get away with lying, and avoids the consequences of the actions they are lying about, they get bold and are more likely to lie about bigger issues.

Not sure if any of this helps.
 
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