Relationship Connection: How do I deal with my husband’s constant lies? 

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Question

My husband drinks too much alcohol, which he is ashamed of because he knows it’s not a healthy behavior. So he lies about it. He’s never aggressive or gets mad when I bring it up, but when I ask if he has been drinking, he lies every single time. Never once has he said “yes” the first time I ask if he’s been drinking. It’s been going on for eight out of the nine years we’ve been married, so trust is almost nonexistent.

I’m confused about how I should act. When I know my husband has lied to me, do I then act like everything is fine and wait until he is ready to come to me? This would probably take months or years, if it even happens at all. Or do I acknowledge the lie? I’m so tired of having to catch him in a lie, but I can’t just pretend like my feelings aren’t hurt. Any advice would be great, thank you!

Answer

It’s agonizing to know that your husband refuses to be honest with you even though you both know the truth of what’s happening in your relationship. You’re both caught in a familiar dance of cat and mouse that somehow keeps going despite your desire to end it. However, you don’t have to stay in this maddening cycle with him. He’s not the only one keeping you both stuck

I hear how awful this is for you to watch him choose to drink and then continually hide it. It truly is heartbreaking to witness a loved one choose to stay in a destructive pattern. Recognize, however, that you’re both choosing to stay in this pattern. Both you and your husband are active in choosing how you’ll behave every moment of every day. Neither of you are powerless against the forces that appear to keep you trapped in this miserable dance.

Please recognize that you’re both making choices in this situation that perpetuate the endless cycle of disconnection. You are in the role of checking on him and asking about his behavior. He’s in the role of avoiding and pretending it’s not happening.

However, you’re the one who appears to hate this situation more than he does, as you’re the one who is reaching out for help and support. Instead of trying to get him to admit the truth, it’s important for you to decide what you’re going to do in response to his lies.

I don’t have a specific recommendation for how you should respond him, as I don’t know more of your story. However, I do want you to know that you can respond to him and that your ownership of your own ability to act will be your ticket out of this painful cycle.

You may decide to be more direct with him and let him know how his behavior affects you. You may choose to intervene and get professional help. You may just ignore it and carry on with your life. You may feel it’s best to separate and protect yourself from the constant lying and disrespect. 

Whatever you choose, you don’t have to keep choosing to avoid and hope he does something different. He’s showing you what he’s going to choose, even though it’s deeply painful for both of you. It’s normal to hope the other person will do something different. But remember, he’s not motivated to do something different about this pattern. You’re the one who wants it to change, and you have the ability to do something different. 

The options in front of you are not your ideal options. They’re not going to fit the dream of what you had hoped for when you married him. Sometimes the fear of the unknown is more terrifying than the familiar present, even as awful as that may be. Moving out of an unhealthy pattern will require walking into the unknown.

We enter relationships not knowing how they’ll turn out. We work to change ourselves and our relationships hoping for the best. We sometimes have to exit toxic relationships and situations facing yet more uncertainty. All you can decide is what you can personally handle. 

Keep moving forward. You don’t have to stay here in the belief that your husband needs to do something first. Even though he will need to do things differently if the marriage is going to heal, you can still move forward toward health and healing and hope that he’ll decide to join you in a better way of living.

Stay connected!

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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