A few months ago, during a conversation about the past, I asked him if his ex had any children from a previous relationship, to which he replied quite quickly with: “No, why would I get with someone who has a kid?” I told him I’d found out his ex partner had mentioned “her daughter” on Facebook, and he said it was probably her current boyfriend’s child. So, I brushed it off. I later found out that he had lied to me about another personal issue and we had a tiff. I reminded him again that I have trust issues, and he told me he had nothing else to hide and that we could hopefully move forward.
Two weeks later I noticed he had unblocked his ex from bloody Facebook and searched her. The next day I searched his ex myself and found more info about “her daughter.” I asked my partner to tell me truthfully if he had a child, to which he admitted that his ex had a daughter but said he didn’t want to tell me because it hurts him. I’m not fussed about the ex or the daughter — I couldn’t care less; I’m more annoyed and angry that he lied to my face. I have since found out that he basically brought up the girl as his own!
In addition to lying to me, he has told–I heard him–what he classifies as “white lies” to his friends and family, making me wonder what else he might be lying to me about. I guess his lie about the ex’s daughter could have been worse — the child could be his, but I’m annoyed at how he has treated me. He said he doesn’t know how to act when he gets nervous and that’s why he lied. He really is a genuine bloke and looks after me and treats me better than I was treated in my previous relationships, but with the recent lies do I throw the towel in now and maybe regret it or do I give him another chance? — Dating a Liar
After spending a collective 11 years in shitty relationships that left you with “bad trust issues” and took you to a dark place where you had to fight so hard to find yourself again, you’d think you’d have a no-tolerance policy to bold-faced lies and would be especially sensitive to red flags signaling someone’s a big ol’ liar. And your boyfriend is a big ol’ liar. Rather than get sucked into another years-long shitty relationship with someone you can’t trust, why not break the cycle and MOA before you get even more invested? You know the guy lies. Why would you stay with him? Why, when you have admitted difficulty trusting people, would you deliberately stay with someone who has already, in less than nine months, shown you he is not worthy of the hard work it takes for you to trust? MOA!
And beyond that, you need to figure out why you keep falling for liars. Three lying men is a pattern. And when you have to stop and debate whether to stay with the most recent liar, despite all the pain and hurt the previous liars caused you, that’s a red flag that you aren’t in an emotional place to date. You can’t trust your own judgment. You keep falling for the wrong kind of guy — the SAME wrong kind of guy. It’s almost like you’re addicted to liars or addicted to the bad feeling you get when you’re lied to, or maybe the feeling you get when your lack of trust is validated. At any rate, I suggest therapy. And I suggest taking a break from dating anyone until you and your therapist feel confident in your ability to date outside the unhealthy cycle you’ve grown comfortable in.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
Skyblossom June 15, 2015, 8:39 am
One thing I learned the hard way was that a guy who lies to his friends and family will lie to you. It is his character to lie. I thought we had a special relationship, we loved each other, and that meant he didn’t lie to me. I was wrong. The way a partner treats the other special people in their life is exactly the way that they will treat you.
He may treat you better, in many ways, than your previous boyfriends but he still isn’t good enough. Don’t settle for a liar. As soon as you see the red flag move on so that you don’t waste your life dating the wrong guys.
Try reading the book “Is He Mr. Right?: Everything You Need to Know Before You Commit” by Mira Kirshenbaum. It will help you see why you need to break up. I also second Wendy on the fact that counseling would help you work through why you are picking guys who are liars and help put you on a healthier path.
Cleopatra Jones June 15, 2015, 8:42 am
I agree with Wendy BUT IMO the LW engaged in some pretty bad behavior herself.
She was searching FB for info on his ex and her kid? Seriously? Why does LW even care if the ex had a kid? How did you happen upon a remark she made about her kid? Are you two friends? I’m in no way condoning the boyfriend’s lying behavior but LW should also look at her behavior as well. She was a little over the top on a topic that had absolutely no bearing on her current relationship.
If LW doesn’t trust the boyfriend, then end the relationship and move on. She didn’t need to go all Sherlock Holmes to ‘verify’ that he’s a liar. I think before she enters another relationship, she needs to really get a handle on her trust issues and why she keeps picking bad relationships.
Skyblossom June 15, 2015, 8:47 am
I think that when someone has trust issues they don’t know whether their gut feeling is correct or they are seeing something where there is really nothing. So she was compelled to confirm her suspicions. It means she has trouble relying on her instincts.
Cleopatra Jones June 15, 2015, 9:05 am
I don’t disagree with that but I think that not taking responsibility for her behavior puts all of the focus on the BF’s lying behavior and not her own very bad behavior in the relationship.
IMO, it let’s her think, well he’s a liar so that’s why I am doing mad FB searches on his ex instead of how did I end up in a relationship with someone who kept tripping my internal red flag system?
It’s a horrible cycle, I’ve seen friends caught in the same cycle and it never ends until they can learn the difference between untrustworthy behavior or their personal anxiety about relationships.
Skyblossom June 15, 2015, 9:08 am
I agree and it is why she needs counseling.
Ale June 15, 2015, 8:50 am
Exactly this. Her behaviour isn’t that good either.
Skyblossom June 15, 2015, 9:18 am
Hopefully it will help her to see that her instincts can be right and then she wouldn’t feel the need to snoop in order to move on but definitely she should go for counseling.
booknerd June 15, 2015, 9:28 am
Is a public Facebook search really going all Sherlock Holmes? If that is out of bounds, I think the majority of Facebook users are in trouble. She has issues, but he’s a liar, she had intuited the lie and confirmed it. Why is that wrong? She didn’t hack into his phone or email or install spyware. And I would also say it does have a bearing on their relationship. He lied about his past for no reason, and that should concern her.
Dear Wendy June 15, 2015, 10:32 am
I don’t think searching public Facebook accounts is Sherlock Holmes-y or what I would consider “bad behavior” at all.
Cleopatra Jones June 15, 2015, 11:44 am
But if it’s public FB searching, how did she come across the comment from the ex about her kid? That’s where it feels like something other than innocent FB searching to me.
If they were friends then LW would have known that she had a child already. Even if they were friends of friends, why FB stalk? She could have easily said, ‘hey, your ex’s comment about her kid showed up in my feed because we have a mutual friend. Did she have a kid when you were dating?’
I feel like the being super secretive and going out of her way to verify that he had a kid is what seems like bad behavior to me.
booknerd June 15, 2015, 3:04 pm
If someone has no privacy settings, you can see their pictures and comments.
dinoceros June 15, 2015, 4:17 pm
If any of them have mutual friends, which is not at all unlikely, then it wouldn’t be hard to see the ex posting a comment on a friend’s status or getting a news feed item about someone posting on her status.
Nookie June 15, 2015, 11:20 am
But what if, she had intuited a lie and found out he was telling the truth? Would we still be getting a letter from her? Or would’ve she have just have checked on him next time? Lying about raising a kid is pretty heinous, but knowing that my partner was checking out every thing I said to catch me in a lie? That’s not cool either in my opinion.
Ale June 15, 2015, 11:37 am
Exactly what I think. What if she goes and investigates and what her boyfriend told him was the truth? She would have waited until next time she doubted him to do it all again. So, she was actively looking for a way to find he was lying.
booknerd June 15, 2015, 3:06 pm
Ehh, I think if she caught him in a truth, that might make her more susceptible to actually believe him. But really, what’s the lesser evil here? Lying about being a big part of an ex’s child’s life, or looking on Facebook?
Bostonpupgal June 15, 2015, 10:42 am
FWIW, I think she logged into her boyfriend’s Facebook account, noticed that HE had unblocked the ex and searched for her, and the LW then searched for the ex herself from her own Facebook account the next day. So this is not a case of innocently looking someone up. She was snooping through her boyfriend’s Facebook account.
LW, you are the common denominator among all these lying men. You are in yet another relationship with a liar. It sounds to me like this kid is very likely your boyfriend’s child, and he’s denying it. He’s a jerk. Dump him. Snooping through your boyfriends things, obsessively looking into his past relationships, and admitting you still have major trust issues are NOT healthy or normal behaviors. Wendy is right, you need counseling, and you are in no place to date right now. Take the next 12 months and focus on yourself and your own healing, learn what a healthy relationship looks like and how to trust yourself, your instincts, and how to find a worthy partner for yourself. Then get back out there.
Nookie June 15, 2015, 11:21 am
But why was she logging into her boyfriend’s FB? Some couples are cool with each other looking at their FB accounts but many more are not, I think that’s a bit of a invasion of privacy unless they expressly had this arrangement.
Ale June 15, 2015, 8:57 am
I think the LW should address her own trust issues before entering a new relationship. She didn’t before, and she somehow deposited those issues into her new boyfriend, hoping that he would solve them by behaving all perfect.
Her trust issues are her own and no one else’s. She entered a new relationship without solving her problems first. I am not justifying the boyfriend’s behaviour, but like Cleopatra says, if you don’t trust people then why bother being in a relationship? Why decide to be in a relationship with someone who enlarges those issues? The LW has a lot to work on.
Texas T June 15, 2015, 10:07 am
Your story rings with familiarity; a cycle I was in for a while. Break the cycle! I did. I went completely opposite of what I am used to and what I would normally do and now I am in the healthiest relationship of my life!
Wendy is ABSOLUTELY correct. MOA NOW!
An insane person thinks they can do the same thing again and gain and receive different results. You dont! Its time to get logical. Dump the bastard.
FireStar June 15, 2015, 10:08 am
There is a difference between the “No your ass doesn’t look fat” type of lie – which benefits you – and the deliberately lying to your face about something because he felt the lie was better than the truth FOR HIM. If his lies benefit HIM then that is a character flaw and you just can’t fix that – you walk from that because that won’t change. Quite frankly your question was innocuous – what do you care if a past girlfriend had a kid? When the truth actually WILL matter (did you cheat on me? what did you do with the money in the joint account?) how can you ever rely on what is said?
Skyblossom June 15, 2015, 10:16 am
Yes! It doesn’t matter that what he lied about wasn’t relevant to their relationship. What did matter about the lies is that she can no longer trust him. There will always be doubt about everything he says and she will end up analyzing everything he says to see if it seems honest. It is no way to live.
Eve June 15, 2015, 2:24 pm
This explains in a very concise and accurate way WHY lying is so damaging to relationships, regardless of the exact nature of the lie and how relevant it is or not to the relationship.
Sue Jones June 15, 2015, 10:34 am
MOA. You’ve been there, done that already. Chalk this guy up to a disappointment and move on. This is only insane if you continue to be involved with a liar. Now that you know what it is like, activate that zero tolerance policy for bullshit and move on.
Bittergaymark June 15, 2015, 11:22 am
Eh. NEWSFLASH everybody lies. And those who claim they don’t — do it the most. Honestly, why the fuck does the LW even care whether or not some ex of his had a kid? And using your significant other’s facebook account to STALK their exes is batshit crazy bullshit. I find it so FUCKING lame that whackjobs with “trust issues” are constantly given a pass by so many on here… At any rate, LW, you will soon learn that some people wind up VERY alone for good reason, Bittergaymark my word.
PS. I suspect that he lied as she also “has issues” about being with guys who have dated people with kids in the past or something equally stupid. It sound crazy — sure. But WHY even ask the question to begin with…?
Cleopatra Jones June 15, 2015, 11:47 am
I gotta agree. She seemed like she was looking for verification that he was lying. If you feel like he’s lying-MOA. You don’t have to do all of this to have a reason to end the relationship.
Raccoon eyes June 15, 2015, 12:27 pm
Yeah, I know the line is tough to draw of what is “snooping” per se, but in my opinion, if you are looking for something to, well, throw in someone’s face, then I think you have stepped out of bounds. If you find what you are looking for, then…good for you, I guess? But if you dont find what you are looking for, then are you the *sshole? I dont know, also, I believe that I am thinking myself in a circle.
Bottom line, I think LW should be more concerned that the BF raised some child as his own for some amount of time, but then had unfriended his ex/child’s mother on FB. I mean, I suppose each situation is different, but the guy (presumably) abandoned the child too, for lack of a better way to word it.
Also, Im bad at Facebook, but how in the world can you look at someone’s searches? Or, why would you? Blah
Cleopatra Jones June 15, 2015, 1:19 pm
But the thing is…we really don’t know if he helped raise the child. The ex may not even have had the kid when they were dating, so he could be telling the truth.
I think the focus on ‘he lied about the ex having a baby’ is probably a more black & white excuse to end the relationship instead of the gradient of white lies she’s used to hearing from him. Those things may not have felt like enough of a reason to end it BUT this one, yeah now she has a reason to trust her gut and end it. Which is fine but she should recognize that she engaged in some bad behavior (IMO) to get to this decision.
FTR, there could be a thousand different ways that she has a kid that didn’t involve the ex. She could have gotten pregnant shortly after breaking up with him, she could have taken in a kid, or the new dude she’s with may have a kid. There’s just a whole lot that we don’t know in this situation.
Skyblossom June 15, 2015, 11:56 am
Honesty is one of those foundational things in marriage. The lack of it will ruin the marriage. If he was lying because she couldn’t accept the truth then he was in the wrong relationship and should have moved on instead of telling lies.
Raccoon eyes June 15, 2015, 12:10 pm
Im with you, BGM. Having “trust issues” isnt some badge of courage you get to carry around, thrusting into new suitors’ faces and then asking them to proclaim their allegiance to truth and justice or some sh*t. In the same vein, stalky behavior does not equal caring and love. Both of the last two statements, I wholeheartedly believed for a few years, circa 19-22ish years old. You have to grow out of it, or else you get stuck in some weird relationship merry-go-round. Step off, LW, while you can.
LW, seriously, what does it mean you “fought so hard to find out who I was again…to be able to try and trust someone again. On the verge of nearly giving up,” you met this guy? You understand that this isnt some Shakespearean sonnet right? What were you about to give up on- yourself? Please dont do that, if that is what you mean.
SailBobo June 15, 2015, 11:26 am
I’d advise him to get out … There is nothing worse than constantly being grilled by someone with “trust issues” … In 30 years of marriage and dating, my wife has rarely asked about my exes (and I haven’t really asked about hers) … I can’t help but think that the whole discussion stemmed from “trust issues”, and that he is indeed walking on eggshells, wondering how to answer … (The obvious answer is, “Answer with the truth.”, but sometimes even the truth does not always solve someone else’s trust issue problems) …
Eve June 15, 2015, 2:46 pm
First thing’s first, dump him – it shouldn’t even be open to discussion – just do it asap. Once a liar always a liar, trust me on this. He told you that when he gets nervous he lies – well, this is a sign of a coward who can’t face the consequences of telling the truth or just doesn’t care about you enough to want to deal with them, so chooses the easy way. This is a huge character flaw and just as Firestar mentioned above – he will get “nervous” about other, more important topics (although tbh the whole daughter thing to me is a pretty big lie) because uncomfortable topics and questions always come up at some point in every single relationship – trust issues or not. You can therefore guess what the future holds for a relationship with a liar.
Second, regarding the trust issues, it would be best if you work on them before entering new relationships, just as Wendy said. I get that you have apparently done a lot of work, I assume in therapy, to solve your problems and end up in a better place, and this is super admirable. It’s great that the big things are out of the way, but the remnant trust issues are something which I believe can be fixed as well, so you may need to get some help in solving them. You have already gone a long way, these are the final steps, don’t give up now. This guy also broke you trust which doesn’t help, but imagine one day you will meet a great guy who you will push away because of your trust issues, and you don’t want this, do you?
I can’t believe how judgemental people are being about her problems, it is difficult enough to admit (to yourself mostly) you have real trust issues. This makes you question your intuition. People usually say “Just trust your intuition, it’s usually right” – but not being able to do so and doubting your own instincts is a truly horrible feeling (hence why help should be sought in order to be in a better place to start and maintain healthy relationships).
wobster109 June 15, 2015, 10:39 pm
Exactly. LW, if you’re “on the verge of giving up” you are in no state to be dating. That’s like blood in the water for sharks. It makes you stick out like a bulls-eye for manipulators.
Ange June 15, 2015, 11:00 pm
That’s why I like this advice site, everyone is so reasonable and prepared to look at both parties. I was on one recently where everyone thought it was perfectly reasonable to put keylogs on computers and tracking devices on phones. LW the guy sounds dodgy and you should MOA but you were heading into the above mentioned territory and that’s not healthy either.