Dear Amy: My husband of many years, “Franklin,” has a strategy of lying to me in order to get his way or avoid confrontation.
Three examples, all this week:
We make an annual, very substantial contribution to an arts organization where he’s on the board.
When I reviewed this, he told me that most of the board members give this amount (if not more).
I then discovered that we give 20-times more than most of the other board members.
Franklin was planning a party. I have some social anxiety and asked him about the growing guest list.
He told me that the caterer had a minimum requirement of 20 people. I asked the caterer – no minimum.
One of Franklin’s brothers will be in our area for one night.
Franklin neglected to tell me that not only will his brother and wife be staying with us for a full week, but that other members of his family will also be staying with us for the week.
When I found out about the family invasion, Franklin's response was he was looking for the right moment to tell me, in order to avoid an argument.
This has been going on for decades, including lies that I found out about 10 years later.
This is really starting to affect me.
It's obviously a matter of being able to trust him.
On his part, I get the feeling that he sees me as an impediment that he has to figure out ways of manipulating his way around.
Everything else in our relationship is pretty wonderful, but this is gnawing at me more and more. Is there anything I can do?
– Tired of Being Lied to
Dear Tired: You are (somewhat kindly) seeing this as manipulation.
Manipulation is persuasion plus pressure.
Outright lying saves “Franklin” the trouble of trying to manipulate you.
And inviting family members to stay for days on end in your home without your consent is a flat-out power grab.
You see this as a trust issue, and I agree. You don’t trust Franklin, but he also doesn’t trust you to react predictably to his various schemes.
Lying or hiding the truth from you until it is too late for you to have a say is cowardly.
Because you two have an otherwise wonderful relationship, I sincerely believe you can work this out, especially with the help of a qualified counselor.
Mediation can show each of you how to communicate differently. You can practice truthful conversations where you resolve challenges, and where you compromise – instead of him lying and you reacting.
Dear Amy: I'm in my 30s. Almost four months ago, I ended a very serious five-year relationship with the man I thought I would marry one day.
He and I lived together.
These last few months have been hard, but I firmly believe I am better off having left the relationship (the only serious relationship I've ever had).
My question is: Is it too soon to move on and start dating again?
I have been in therapy and no longer cry regularly about the breakup.
I will probably always love this man but I'm no longer *in love* with him.
I feel ready and excited to move on, but some have advised me to wait longer.
What do you think?
Dear Ready: If you’re ready and excited, then Godspeed!
However, I think it’s wisest to approach this next period of your life as one where you continue to get to know yourself.
I hope you don’t set your goal to quickly find another partner, but to learn how to date, how to get to know new people, and how to be a good communicator and a great listener. Apply all of these skills to your various friendships, too.
Dating involves exploration, discernment, communicating, coping with disappointment, and – fun.
This is your opportunity to fully embrace a fresh start.
Dear Amy: “I’m not Cheap” was a self-described “minimalist” who didn’t know what to give a child who already had everything.
I loved your suggestion of giving “coupons” for experiences to share with this child.
I had an aunt who used to take me out – away from my siblings – and do fun things with me. We went to the ballet once (I felt so grown up!), and out to dinner afterward.
I’m sure she also gave me gifts, but honestly, I don’t remember any of them.
Dear Grateful: I had an aunt like that. And I’ve tried to be an aunt like that.
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