Addicted to Lying

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Male
For the second time in the past three months I lied to my wife about taking prescription drugs. After the first time I felt like she trusted me again and thought I would do the right thing and stop. I had been taking them for the previous three months and decided one day that the right thing to do would be to tell her. At the time I thought the truth was the wrong thing to tell. She didn't react very well and was more upset about the lies than the drugs. So I promised not to lie or do drugs.

About three months later she caught me on the internet buying prescriptions on-line. I lied by saying it was a pop-up add and preceded to tell lie after lie after each one was more unbelievable than the last. In total, I told about five lies in 20 seconds. After finally telling her that I was doing drugs again she again said it wasn't the drugs but the lies that upset her.

Now I don't know if she'll ever trust me again. I would never cheat or anything like that and I thought that the little lies (not that drugs are little lies) wouldn't hurt. For the second time I proved myself wrong. I've lied before we were married about my financial situation and she brought that up after our last conflict. I don't know what to do as far as making her trust me again and i'm starting to believe that i'm a habitual liar. When I look back at my childhood I remember lying to my parents alot to avoid getting in trouble. But my parents also lied to each other constantly. I don't want to lie but i'm afraid it's a habit that's too hard to break. I'm also afraid that my addictive personality will cause me to continue lying for the rest of my life.

Do you have any advice for me? I love my wife and would hate to lose her because i'm "addicted" to lying. Advice
It definitely sounds like you are addicted to the drugs and I would seek medical help with that. There are many, many programs to help people break addictions and it can really save you some serious health problems. You really don't want to have to deal with a broken body that addictions can cause. It's not a happy way to live.

As far as the lying goes, that isn't an addiction. It's just become an easy way to avoid conflict. You grew up seeing that it was a 'normal' thing to do and it's built into your way of dealing with conflict. All of us have our coping methods. Some people hide and retreat. Some people yell and scream. Some people try to stay calm. For you it's lying. It's a habit, like any other, and just like any other it can be broken. You can actually break a habit like that in as little as a month, by deliberately choosing a new way of doing things each time the old way tries to crop up. The new way becomes a 'habit' very quickly.

The bigger issue is that you've already broken your wife's trust many times now. Trust is THE most important thing in any relationship. You have to be able to believe in each other and stand with each other against the world. It is extremely hard to rebuild a broken trust and now that you've done it so many times, she may be unwilling to try again. You'll need to do something serious to show her you will really change this time.

I would sign both of you guys up to talk with a therapist. Tell your wife that you are willing to work with her and the therapist on forging a new relationship together. That will show your wife that you're not just making 'empty promises' again - that you are taking real, concrete steps to find a solution. It will give her a place to vent with someone that will listen. And it will give you some support in changing your ways - the therapist will be able to help you find new ways of dealing with conflict.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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