By Jody Valley
Living a lie
Q: I am a middle aged woman that has a big problem. I don’t know what to do or how to get out of it. My problem is that I can’t seem to tell the truth, to save my life. I know this seems strange, but it is true. Many times I end up lying about things when it would be just as easy to tell the truth. I haven’t always been this way; it seems like it just started up in the last few years, and I think it is getting worse. The lies I tell are not things that get me out of trouble or anything like that. For instance, the other day, I lied about having a partner. I said I had one for the last five years when I don’t. The problem is the person I lied to is a person that I might have been interested in getting involved with. I was with a group of my friends at the bar and this woman asks me to dance. While we were out on the dance floor, she asked me if I was involved with anyone and before I knew it I said yes and started making up a story about who I was with and how long we were together. I just went on and on. The longer that we danced the bigger and more involved the story became. I knew that I was doing it and wanted to stop, but couldn’t seem to. Well, needless to say, she didn’t ask me to dance again. My friends all realize I do this and they just think it is funny. Whenever I tell them something, they try to guess whether it is true or not. Sometimes this is funny, but other times it is down right scary. I laugh, too, but I think it is a real problem because I sometimes say things that are really embarrassing and many times I end up needing to lie even more to cover up my lies. Why do you think this happens to me and how do I learn to tell the truth?
A: You didn’t give me a lot of information about when you lie, or what is going on when you lie. Is this just something you do all the time or is it something you do when you get nervous? Pay attention to when you find yourself lying and how you are feeling right before you start to lie. Try to figure out when it happens, so you can catch yourself before the lying starts. If I were you, I would also enlist your friends’ help. Let them know you see this as a problem, not something that is funny. They can help you catch yourself when you lie. If this is a problem you can’t seem to get a hold of, I would suggest that you find a competent therapist and get professional help with this problem.
Your issue or others?
Q: Do you think it is OK for me to date someone who is married? My friends think it is fine, a very few say I shouldn’t. The man I am dating is unhappy with his life and wants to someday come out, but is just waiting for the right time to get a divorce. His wife is a nice woman and he gets along with her well. She doesn’t know about me or his sexuality. He doesn’t want to leave his marriage until the children are grown. They are teenagers and really need him now. I really understand his need to take care of his kids, in fact, I applaud him for it. I have agreed to see him whenever he can get away; we have a really good time when we are together. I actually like the way it works out because it gives me a lot of free time, but I still have a relationship that is satisfying to me. Would so you think of this?
A: Frankly, it probably doesn’t matter what I think about this relationship. It sounds like you have made up your mind, and it appears that you are both happy with the arrangement. What is your need to ask me about this? That’s the real question here.