Sometimes it seems very hard to leave an unhealthy relationship. Sadly, I could make an incredibly long list of the dangerous lies people tell themselves to excuse staying in a relationship that’s bad for them. After all, that’s the basis of the work I do.
What I’ve found is that everyone wants to be in a relationship so much so that they will stay in one that’s unhealthy for them, even if they’re miserable.
And while it would seem that we would be wise enough to walk away, doing so is easier said than done because of the stories people tell themselves to justify staying.
15. Should Change For Him
Sometimes it seems like love is more important than staying true to ourselves. This is especially true because society still tells women that getting a partner is one of the most important goals of her life. Women are also told that it’s totally acceptable to change themselves to be someone their partner will like or like better. So, the lie that we should change ourselves in order to attract or keep a partner is a lie we tell ourselves a lot. We should change our appearance so we’re more conventionally attractive. We should be less outspoken and more agreeable. We should eliminate our “annoying habits.”
In truth, this is one of the most dangerous lies we can tell ourselves in a relationship. If a prospective partner doesn’t like us for who we are, then the relationship ultimately won’t succeed. If our partner wants us to fundamentally change who we are to please them, they’re not the right person for us. That doesn’t mean we don’t all need to make some changes in order for a relationship to succeed. But we should be making those changes with our partners, growing together, not changing for them.
14. They’ll Change For Me
Our partner can’t expect us to change for them, so we also can’t expect our partner to change for us. This is one of the most common lies that we tell ourselves in relationships. We believe that our love will be enough to make the person want to change to keep the relationship going. Again, being in a functional relationship means that both people have to make some changes to make the relationship work.
But bigger changes, like changes to their personality, are unlikely to change no matter how much they love you. This is especially true if your partner is abusive, emotionally or physically. Abusive behaviors require a lot of hard work to change and usually, the people engaging in these behaviors are unwilling to put in the work necessary.
If there are things you can’t stand about your partner or they are being abusive and they haven’t given you any reason to believe they’ll change, it’s time to stop lying to yourself. They aren’t going to change for you.
13. They’re Better Than I Think
When our partner turns out to be someone we didn’t think they were, we often tell ourselves that it’s not true. We trivialize their bad behavior is our own minds. We gush to our friends and family about how awesome they are, even when we know in the back of our minds that they aren’t that great. We deny their bad behavior so much that it almost seems like the truth. But it’s not the truth. Our partner isn’t the awesome person we’re making them out to be in our heads and in our conversations with others.
There are plenty of reasons why we tell ourselves this lie. Maybe we’re afraid to leave the relationship. Maybe we’re embarrassed that the relationship isn’t working and don’t want other people to know. Maybe we’re afraid that we don’t deserve any better. Whatever reason we have to lie to ourselves about who our partner is, it’s better to face the truth that they’re not the person we thought they were. If you don’t like who they really are, and you know they can’t change for you, it’s better to move on then be stuck in the lies.
12. I’m A Better Person Than I Really Am
The hardest truths to face are the truths about who we really are. Want to know one of the best kept secrets in the world? We’re all F’d up. Every single one of us is a flawed person. We all have our faults and we all try like hell to hide them from everyone around us. Nobody is perfect, but we’re all taught that we should try to be perfect. And we all try to convince everyone else that we are perfect. It’s all a web of lies.
In the beginning of the relationship we all try to put our best self on display. We hide our faults from our love interest because we want them to like us. This is perfectly normal and we all do it. But we can’t hide ourselves forever. In order for a relationship to work long term, we have to be willing to show our faults and we have to be willing to let someone love us in spite of our faults.
If you’re pretending to be better than you are so your partner to like you, you need to stop lying to yourself and them. It’s time to let your guard down and truly be seen.
11. It’s Okay If They Lie Sometimes
Just like we all have flaws, we all lie sometimes. We lie to avoid arguments. We lie to make other people happy. We lie to make ourselves happy. But when we start believing that lying is okay, that’s where the problems begin. Especially if we begin to believe that it’s okay for our partners to lie to us. Or that they aren’t lying to us when our gut tells us they are.
Honesty is the foundation of any good relationship. Honesty builds trust and trust is essential to sharing your life with someone. When two people aren’t honest with each other then there can be no trust and if there isn’t trust the relationship will eventually fail.
If you’re lying to yourself about your partner’s level of honesty, get honest with yourself. If they’re lying to you, call them on it and make it clear that you need honesty. If the lie you’re telling yourself is that it’s okay that your partner lies to you sometimes, work to believe that you deserve honesty. Because you do.
10. I’m Being Totally Honest With My Partner
Our partners will lie to us sometimes, just like we’ll lie to them. The important thing is to come clean about the lies eventually. Secrets are corrosive to relationships. It may feel like telling the truth will tear you apart, and it might. But if you really love each other, being honest is the only way to work through your problems.
Often, when we’re scared of talking about something with our partner, we’ll lie to ourselves and say that it’s no big deal and we don’t need to talk about it with them. Or maybe we’ll try to convince ourselves that nothing happened at all. We lie to ourselves to enable us to lie to our partners.
This is dangerous territory. If we listen to our own rationalizations enough it will become easy to think our way out of being honest with our partners. Ask yourself if you really are being totally honest with your partner. Chances are you aren’t. I’m not saying they need to know every thought in your head, but they do need the truth about your feelings, your needs, your actions, and your assessment of the relationship.
9. They Love Me
We all want to believe that our partner feels the same way about us as we feel about them. If we love them, we want to believe they love us too. If we want a future with them we want to believe that they want a future with us. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true.
One of the biggest lies we can tell ourselves is that our partner loves us when they really don’t. We almost always know the truth. We can feel it in our gut, in our heart. We know that they don’t love us even though we love them. But this truth is too painful to face. We may tell ourselves a variation of this lie: someday they will love me as much as I love them. Usually, this won’t happen.
It may hurt to acknowledge that our partner doesn’t love us, but it’s liberating to let go of a relationship that isn’t give you what you need.
8. I Won’t Get My Heart Broken
The sad truth is that there’s always the possibility that our hearts will be broken. When we love someone and we love the relationship we’re in, it’s easy to tell ourselves that there’s no way it could end in heart break. This lie is hopeful and comforting, but it’s still a lie. I’m not saying we all need to be cynical pessimists and believe that every relationship will end in heart break. I am saying that we always need to acknowledge heart break as a possibility.
We’re human and so are our partners. Humans make mistakes and humans hurt each other. This has always been true and will always be true. It’s how we deal with those mistakes and those hurts that count. Your partner will make mistakes and they will hurt you, but if you’re both willing to work through the mistakes and the hurt, the relationship can last. But lying to yourself and believing that heart break isn’t even a possibility is naive.
7. I Can Live Up To Their Expectations
We all have expectations of each other and we all have expectations about how people will behave in relationships. That’s just human nature. Basing a relationship on living up to someone else’s expectations, however, is a straight shot to disappointment. Of course, we want to meet our partner’s expectations for us, but if their expectations are too high, we’ll never measure up.
Often, we blame ourselves when we don’t live up to other’s expectations for us. We tell ourselves that we’re not trying hard enough instead of acknowledging that the bar is set too high. This is the lie we tell ourselves; that if we just try harder we’ll live up to their expectations. The truth is that we can try our hardest and still fail to reach our partner’s expectations. The truth we need to find is whether they expect too much. If they do, we need to be honest about our inability to meet those expectations and see if they’re willing to adjust. If they’re not, there’s no point in continuing to feel like a disappointment.
6. I’m Fine With These Circumstances
Relationships all have difficult circumstances. Some circumstances are more difficult than others. When we’re swept away by our feelings for someone we may agree to date under circumstances that we wouldn’t agree to normally. Or perhaps we think that we can handle the circumstances without issue. But when it really comes down to it, the circumstances are too much for us to handle.
We lie to ourselves, saying that we can do this, we can get through it, that our partner is worth it so we’ll deal. Perhaps this lie serves us so well that we adjust to the circumstances and it really becomes okay. But if this lie is preventing us from seeing that the relationship isn’t working, it’s time to face the truth.
Sometimes this means the end of the relationship, but sometimes it’s the wake up call you both need to adjust your circumstances so they work for you both.
5. I’ll Never Have Feelings For Anyone Else
Monogamy is the default in our society and we’re taught that being in love with someone means that we can’t ever have feelings for someone else. If we do have feelings for someone else it means we’re not in love with our partner. So, if you develop feelings for someone else while you’re in a relationship, you’ll probably lie to yourself and say that you don’t actually have feelings for them.
The idea that we’ll never have feelings for anyone else because we love our partner is ridiculous. Being attracted to people is a completely natural impulse. Whether you believe in monogamy or not, you’re likely to develop crushes on other people, even though you love your partner.
It’s what you do about these feelings that matter. Stop lying to yourself and acknowledge that you have feelings. Tell someone (other than your partner or the person you have a crush on) about your crush and then move on! You’re not a garbage person for having a crush, so don’t lie to yourself about it.
4. I’m Fine Not Being Their Only One
Infatuation and love can cloud our ability to judge what we are and aren’t okay with. We think that we can handle a complicated relationship because we want the person so much, but once we’re in it, we find out we can’t handle the heartache and the drama. This is especially true if we’re involved with someone who’s in another relationship.
You may believe that you want someone or love them enough to make being their side chick okay. You may think that monogamy is BS anyway, so what’s the big deal with being a side chick? Beliefs and thoughts are very different than experience.
If you’re really okay with it, that’s your business. But if you’re telling yourself lots of lies to make it okay, it’s time to just admit that you can’t handle this relationship. Coming clean with yourself and your partner will save a lot of future drama and heartache.
3. This Is Easier Than Being Who I Really Am
Sometimes, we’ve been lying to ourselves about who we are for so long that we don’t even know what’s true. Being our true, authentic selves is so scary that it seems easier to pretend to be someone we’re not. A lot of people in this world are so scared of admitting who they truly love that they spend years pretending to love someone else. They deny their authentic selves and hide from everyone around them.
This kind of lying to yourself is particularly painful. Denying who you really are will slowly eat away at your soul until there’s nothing left. It may seem like admitting who you really are and who you really love to your partner and everyone else would cause too much drama and pain. The truth is that continuing to pretend to be someone you’re not and love someone you don’t, is much more painful.
Free your true self and love whoever you love.
2. Staying Is Easier Than Leaving
When we’re in long term relationships, a lot of our lives are tied to our partners. If you live together then you may feel like your housing is dependent on them. If you rely on them financially, you may be scared of making it out there on your own. If your friends are there friends, you might believe that you’ll be all alone if you leave your partner. So, you lie to yourself and say that things are fine, just so you can continue to live the life you’re comfortable with.
Often, this is a pretty transparent lie. It’s hard to keep a relationship together on practicality alone. We need intimacy and connection for a relationship to thrive. If you’re trying to convince yourself that you’re happy just because you don’t want to find out what it’s like to live without them, the relationship will eventually atrophy. It’s up to you how long that takes. When you’re ready to stop pretending your happy for convenience’s sake, you can get honest and move on.
1. I Can’t Be Alone
Many women believe that they are supposed to be dependent on a man. Even women who see themselves as fairly independent often end up believing this because they’ve internalized society’s gender roles and gender expectations. This often leads women to fear being alone. Even women who are in relationships that make them unhappy believe that being with someone is better than being alone.
The lie we’re telling ourselves is that we can’t be alone; that we’ll be miserable if we’re alone; that we can’t handle our lives on our own. Here’s the truth: you can handle being alone. Being alone is better than pretending that you’re happy just so you’re not alone. You deserve to be happy and if being happy means ending this relationship and being alone that is totally fine.
You can do it on your own. If they make you unhappy, walk out that door.
When we’re lying to ourselves about the state of our relationships it always means that there’s a truth we’re unwilling to face. Lying to yourself is a perfectly natural way to cope with truths that seem too scary to confront. But if you continue to lie to yourself about your relationship, you’ll stay stuck in an unfulfilling place. At some point, lying to yourself is more painful than facing the truth.