Honestly Dishonest

Honestly Dishonest


Lies come in all shapes and sizes and everyone tells a lie at one time or another, but there’s a difference between a “little white lie” and being blatantly dishonest.

Honestly Dishonest

Stocking / 123RF Photo

This week, my dear Singularians, we deal with LIARS. True, we all have our “fudge” moments, but if they’re piling up, trust me, there’s a rocky road ahead! Proceed with caution …


Marnie: I’ve been dating this guy for a couple of months, exclusively. When we’re together things are terrific. What bothers me thought is that he holds back information. For example, if I ask him where he went to dinner with a client, he resists saying, “Why does it matter?” Or he’ll just name any place and then I’ll find out later that he went somewhere else. It’s the same with almost anything I ask him, like where did he buy something, or which film he rented. It’s silly since these things aren’t that important. My question is, why does he feel the need to lie about such superficial things? Should I worry? –Disturbed in L.A.

MARNIE SAYS: Should you worry, you ask? If I were you I’d be quaking — all the way to a different zip code! The man is guilty of the Little Lie or the “LL.” Honey, LLs scare me more hearing the sound of rattles when walking through tall grass.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

* Assuming these questions arise naturally, there are several possible reasons:

1. Control. He’s lying, covering up and wants to keep it that way.

2. Control. He resents losing it. Even the smallest attempt to pinpoint him pushes his control buttons. He’s the head honcho and power isn’t a partnership.

3. Control. He’s training you for his “space” program. By lying, omitting, forgetting, he’s making space so he can do what he wants, when he wants, where he wants, and with whom he wants – now and in the future.

4. Control. Confusion creates chaos — in you. And chaos can be a nifty way to muck, muddy and control information, small and large. (See the pattern here?)

* Little Lies suggest Big Holes. A lifestyle of side-stepping the truth, even over the silly stuff is a major character flaw. Not only is it a slap, but frankly, I wouldn’t trust this guy to sell me a used car.

* Forgive me for aggravating you further, but better you flee this control-o-zoid now, than to wonder where your IRA went on your 25th anniversary.


Marnie: Four months ago I met this incredible man online. We emailed and messaged for weeks, then moved to talking on the phone. The clincher? I’m 21 and he led me to believe that he was the same age as me. Now, after several months and feeling like I’ve fallen in love, I find out he just turned 59! But I fell for who he is, not how old he is. So, do I move forward with plans to meet him for coffee or do I end it now and just enjoy the memory of the wonderful fantasy we had together? —Misty-Eyed

MARNIE SAYS: Honey, Honey, Honey! Has all that mist fogged your vision? Exaggeration? A man going from 21 to 59 is more of a stretch than Lisa Lampanelli in spandex. However, meeting him face-to-face could afford you a reality check and that all-important ability to pick him out of a line-up.

Getting it! Your Personal Strategy:

* First, block him from emailing you for two months — minimum. You need to cool off those hot wires so you can get things in perspective

* As for him. 1) He could be a victim of our “youthenizing” culture, so he leads with a lie. 2) He could be a hound dog on the hunt for barely legal age Lolitas. (Yup, that’s the one.)

* As for you: The sheer chutzpah of this canard is astounding. Ask yourself, 1) Is the need to connect so overwhelming that you’re willing to side step a gap in his story larger than Hoover Dam? 2) Are you quaking in fear of being alone, knitting cat booties till you’re … 22? And 3) Could it be that at your tender age, you still buy the old saw, “Love Conquers All,” including truly bad liars?

* Finally, if this tool thinks nothing of shaving off a few years (like 38) ask yourself what else he might exaggerate about. Instead of meeting him for coffee, I suggest you stick with milk and check the cartons for photos of “missing” 21-year olds who still believed in the possibility of “real love” with a man whose reality, not to mention his math skills, hail from Pluto.


Marnie: A female friend of mind is seeing a man who always goes away on weekends. He’s supposed to be separated, yet his wife and child live in the same area he goes to. Do you think he’s lying and carrying on a double life? He doesn’t keep it a secret. He tells her he is going to see his little girl, but he never speaks of his wife. Is she being deceived or not? – Suspicious Pal, Ken

MARNIE SAYS: Well move over J. Edgar! By George, you’ve rousted the rotter! A father who would dare spend his weekends in the vicinity of his child?  (Please!) Worse, one who might think it intrusive, unwise and yes, tacky to invade his child’s soul with every woman he shares a café latte with? And to top it off, is smarmy enough to actually tell his girlfriend where he’s going!

Or could it be that you’re jealous? After all, why else would you have the time, the energy and the chutzpa to slink around someone else’s life with your sniveley little suspicions? Unless of course, you need to get one. Or maybe you fancy the lady yourself. But then, such is the nature of idle speculation.


Marnie: I’m a single mom with a 6-year-old son. He’s a great kid, but lately, I’ve caught him lying. Not big things and not often, but a lie is lie. Once he took a toy from a friend’s house and made up a story about how he got it. He’s also lied about his homework, breaking a vase, and yesterday, he told me that our neighbor (a pilot) is going to let him fly his plane. What’s going on with him?  —Worried Mom

MARNIE SAYS: Well, your little fibber certainly has flair! But, while we want to encourage his fertile imagination, we can’t have him spreading too much “fertilizer.”

Getting It!  Your Personal Strategy:

* Why the lie? Before visions of orange jumpsuits dance in your head, we need a heads up on the truth behind his lies. 


– Is the little nipper allowed to tell unpleasant truths? How many times has a child said, “I HATE … broccoli, gym, my cousin” only to be told, “No you don’t!” or “What a rotten thing to say!” The lesson? Lying is the best policy. How much “truthing room” do you give your little imagineer?

– Is he a DL (Defensive Liar)? He took his pal’s toy. You spied the heist. Do you third degree him or state the facts? Extracting tough truths provokes Defensive Lying, elevating him from sticky fingerer to liar.

– Is he getting something from these fictions (“I can fly!”) that he’s not getting in fact or wishes he could?

Encourage truth:

– Let him tell it, the good, the bad, the ugly. He “hates” his cousin? He does, but only for the moment.

– Don’t compound his misdeeds and accidents by interrogating him like a rabid Veronica Mars. Instead of … “DID YOU TAKE ELIOT’S WHISTLE?” it’s far better to state firmly: “I see Eliot’s whistle sticking out of your pocket. Return it, now.”

– He tells you he can fly. We know he can’t. He knows he can’t. How much more helpful to define the fact without condemning the fancy?  “You wish you could fly” allows him to dream with his feet on terra firma.

And after all, isn’t that what we want for your son and for all children?  Character, certainly, but also the capacity to dream without getting lost in the fog.

Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2013 Singular Communications, LLC

Marnie MacauleyAdvice guru Marnie Winston-Macauley — therapist, author, speaker — has been a radio, TV, and syndicated advice columnist and counselor for over 20 years. Witty, wise and totally irreverent with a self-professed loathing for psychobabble, she’s written over 20 books and calendars, along with  hundreds of relationship columns and features for prominent publications.  She has her MS degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work.  In media, her work has garnered her Emmy and Writer’s Guild Best Writing nominations. She is widowed and now living single. For personal advice, you can also find Marnie Macauley on Liveperson.com or on Presto Experts. She invites you to join her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 
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One thought on “Honestly Dishonest

  1. Take heed of this wise woman. With an inveterate liar and theif as an ex — run like hell for the next stagecoach TO Dodge. I am serious.My life got mucked up seven ways to Sunday. This is the real deal, life-saving advice. Please, take it.

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