Lying is not uncommon when navigating relationships and dating, but depending on the nature of the omission and the frequency, it could harm your partnerships, one expert says.
Before many even get into a committed relationship, we often lie in dating profiles and even lie about ourselves when meeting in person, said relationship and sex expert Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, host of the @SexWithDrJessPodcast.
“In dating, we are quite likely to lie about age, income and interests,” she said, adding that people aren’t just filtering their photos, they’re filtering who they truly are.
A poll by research firm OpinionMatters found 53 per cent of people lie on their online dating profiles about jobs and incomes.
“In dating we tend to lie to make ourselves more attractive, partly because we believe those things or we want to believe those things,” said O’Reilly.
If you find that you’re often lying about who you are when dating, it may be an indication of who you want to be. It’s important to ask yourself why you want to be those things, she said.
“It can show you your aspirations,” she said, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
But lying too much in this way can impact how you see yourself and can affect your self esteem, as the lies are an indication that you’re not happy with who you are, explained O’Reilly — especially if the topics you lie about are your job, income, achievements, or even family.
Lying in your relationships
To figure out whether your lying is harmful to your relationship, determine what kind of lies you’ve been telling, said O’Reilly.
“Pro-social” lies are statements we say to make someone else feel good or to feel better, as opposed to “anti-social” lies, which we tell to avoid consequences for our own actions, she explained.
Previous reports have found that Canadians are particularly untruthful when it comes to discussing finances with their partner.
Thirty-six per cent of Canadians surveyed in 2018 said they’ve lied about a financial matter to a romantic partner according to market research firm Leger.
Common offences included lying about running up a credit card or about their income, according to The Canadian Press.
Some lie about money to avoid their spouse criticizing them, said Selina Gray, an Edmonton-based personal finance expert in a previous Global News report.
“People often feel compelled to avoid fights, or shield themselves from judgment, so the need to … lie about spending can escalate,” said Gray.
A research study from 2009 found that 25 per cent of people reported telling one to two lies a day, while 60 per cent claimed they don’t tell any lies.
We sometimes tell lies because we don’t want to make ourselves vulnerable or further engage about an issue, explained O’Reilly.
But the consequences of those lies can be serious, she said.
“What happens when you tell a lie, is that it leads to another lie, and another lie and then a disconnect between people,” she said, as it not only will affect your self esteem and perception of yourself, it will likely hurt your partner.
For more information about why we tell lies in relationships, watch Jessica O’Reilly in the video above.
— With files from Global News reporter Laura Hensley