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The Truth About Deception: Website About Deception in Romantic Relationships

As always, to get the most out of collaboration, one needs to understand the conflicts of interest.
At the same time, it's important not to get too cynical about relationships.

I have been reading this website for a while:
https://www.truthaboutdeception.com/

Maybe Lucio has come across this website before.

I think it's quite challenging to summarise the whole website in one post.
I haven't fully read through the whole website and understood the principles.
I found it very interesting.

Some interesting articles:

Is Telling the Truth Always Best?

Most of the time we lie to ourselves in order to maintain a sense of control. After all, no one likes feeling vulnerable or helpless.

Very true. Sometimes I have to come clean to myself.
I think one must be aware that any constructed self-image will never correspond exactly to reality (which arguably is subjective in itself).

Why People Cheat?

Catching A Cheating Spouse

On not confronting a cheating spouse until you have solid evidence:

If you suspect infidelity, do not confront your spouse until you have proof.

While it is helpful to talk to partners about most relationship problems, this is NOT the case when it comes to infidelity. A cheating spouse will almost never admit to infidelity, unless presented with evidence to the contrary.

Even when presented with evidence, some spouses continue to lie (see husband won’t confess).

Along the same line, while there are many tactics that you can use to get a partner to be more truthful, these tactics fail to work when it comes to infidelity.

On focusing on the underlying issue rather than the lie:

Confronting a partner about his or her occasional use of deception can sometimes make things worse.

To begin with, no one likes to be accused of lying. Most of the time people lie with very little awareness of what they are doing. So, it can be difficult for people to acknowledge their deceptive behavior.

In fact, lying is often portrayed as a character flaw—it is wrong, evil, a shameful thing to do (see Solomon). Accusing someone of lying puts people on the defensive. Accordingly, when people are accused of lying they tend to shift the blame by attacking back (see pointing out the truth). And these types of interactions can take their toll on a relationship or marriage. Confrontations can create a lot of negativity and and frustration.

Pointing your spouse's deception out can give them great feedback on how to lie better:

And related to this point, accusing someone of lying gives them great feedback. Pointing out a spouse’s lies gives a partner better insight, ultimately helping him/her lie more effectively in the future. Simply put, confronting partners about their deceptive behavior often helps them avoid making the same mistakes (see detecting deception – common mistakes).

Again, when parents catch their kids lying and they focus on the deceptive act rather than the underlying issue, kids tend not to change their behavior they just learn how to lie more effectively.

Adults are very similar to children. Spouses get better at lying the more often their lies are pointed out—not exactly the outcome most people are aiming for when confronting a spouse or partner about their use of deception.

Recovery and Repair

This section also covers how to apologise effectively.

People tend to apologise too fast:

When trying to rebuild trust—it helps to give the right type of apology at the right time.

Unfortunately, most people do not know how to apologize or say "I am sorry."

Typically, people make the mistake of apologizing too quickly. People say "I am sorry" at the moment they are caught in a lie or caught doing something wrong. Apologizing too quickly—especially when in trouble often comes across as being insincere.

It's best to understand your partner's feelings, give sufficient thought & consideration and show remorse.
The timing is very important:

Apologies work best when given after some thought and consideration. Especially, after you have made your partner feel understood—that is, after you explicitly acknowledge how your partner’s feelings have been hurt.

Related Articles on ThePowerMoves Website

7 Reasons Why People Cheat: An Analysis Of Betrayals
How to Prevent Cheating In Relationships: 12 Steps-Guide
Facts About Cheating & Cheaters (Science VS Myths)
13-Steps Guide to Surviving Infidelity As a Couple (Science-Backed)
How to Forgive a Cheater: The Definitive Guide


In case you are wondering, I did this reading mostly out of interest and curiosity.
And of course for applying this practically if I need to.
Not because I needed this knowledge during this period.

Lucio Buffalmano and LorenzoE have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoLorenzoE

Thank you for sharing this, Matthew!

Did you consider it a good website, with effective strategies?

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Personally yes.
It seems consistent with the strategies on this website.

There's no political correctness.
Balanced and realistic.

I couldn't fully appreciate the website last year.
After spending more time to understand people in general, I went back to it and could appreciate the concepts much more.

Some interesting snippets from the website.

Blockquotes are paragraphs or sentences quoted directly and verbatim from the website.

The section about why the truth hurts:

The Truth Hurts

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.--Oscar Wilde

For example, if your partner thinks about the following points, would you want to know?

For instance, would anyone want to hear the following:

  • You are not as attractive as you used to be.
  • I sometimes think about someone else during sex.
  • I sometimes wonder why we are together.
  • I have a little crush on someone at work.

It may be the truth but you may end up thinking your partner is pulling power moves on you.

Sometimes we may appreciate that people hide painful truths from us:

And we are happier and feel closer to our romantic partners when we do not have to acknowledge such painful, hurtful truths.

In fact, we like it when our spouses hide unpleasant facts from us. As long as we are not aware that our partners are hiding things, ignorance can be blissful.

On the contrary, sometimes we tell people the truth to hurt them.
When couples are divorcing, they may spill out how they truly feel about each other without holding back.

On the other hand, when we really want to hurt someone, we often say what we really think. Anyone who has been involved in a divorced knows first-hand how damaging the truth can be. When people are no longer concerned about keeping a relationship intact, the truth comes out fast and furious and it stings.

Telling the Truth is Necessary

In order to obtain the benefits that intimate relationships provide, it is necessary for two people to know each other well. It is not possible to create beneficial outcomes in a relationship without some degree of intimacy (knowledge about each other). Romantic partners need to be “experts” on each other (see Cole & Teboul). To create rewards people need to understand their partners “inside and out.”

From a pragmatic point of view, it's necessary to know each other well by being truthful so that both can find win-win possibilities benefiting each other.

Our desire to be understood becomes even more intense as we get closer to each other. The more you tie your fate to someone, the more important it is for that person to understand who you are. There is an important benefit to having someone close to you "know you." The rewards you are able to create in your relationship are tied to being intimate and sharing yourself with a partner (see Cole & Teboul).

People desire to be understood by those closest to them.
Rationally, it makes sense too.
The rewards of a relationship depend on intimacy and sharing yoruself with a partner.

In fact people go crazy when someone close to them doesn't get them:

This explains why we get so frustrated and upset when we think that someone close to us does not understand us. Try it out. If you really want to upset a romantic partner, one of the best ways is to pretend that you don’t get where he/she is coming from, that you don’t understand his/her point of view, that you don’t know what he/she is talking about, or that you don’t get his/her jokes. People go absolutely crazy when they think that someone close to them does not "get them."

Lying and Deception are also Necessary

At the same time, lying and deception are necessary too:

Inevitably, deception is necessary, even in the best of cases (see pros and cons of lying).

In fact, romantic relationships involve two special features which allow deception to flourish: abundant opportunity and the dire need to deceive.

Abundant Opportunity

Because we reveal so much information to our lovers, we trust them, have a sense of security and comfort.
As such, we have a "truth-bias" or "blind faith" sometimes.

Every study shows that lovers are terrible at telling when their partners are lying. Detecting deception with anyone is difficult to do, but lovers manage to take this failure to a spectacular low (see love is blind).

More importantly, lovers are not only terrible lie detectors, but they have a hard time acknowledging this fact. Husbands and wives like to think they can tell when the truth is being told. But, this is simply not the case. It is easier to see this type of behavior with a friend than with yourself. Have you ever noticed how a friend can be so trusting of his or her husband or wife while you have an easier time seeing what is really going on?

Need for Lying

While romantic relationships or marriages offer many rewards, they also tend to be overly constrictive. Everyone has felt the constraints of a close relationship from time to time; quite simply you are no longer free to do what you want, when you want, and with whom you want.

So intimacy provides tremendous rewards, but at an enormous cost – the loss of your freedom and autonomy (see Baxter).

People desire intimacy.
At the same time, people love freedom.

Romantic relationships satisfy the need for intimacy but at a huge cost to our freedom.
Lying is one way to increase our freedom.
In fact, it's such an efficient and effective way to do so:

 Quite frankly, deceiving a romantic partner turns out to be the most efficient and effective way of maintaining the rewards we get from our romantic relationships while pursuing extra-relational goals and activities behind a partner’s back.

Partners lie to each other when an opportunity arise that's unique and valued while placing a minimal strain on the relationship:

After years of studying deceptive behavior, we have noticed that people tend to mislead their husbands and wives when unique and valued opportunities can be pursued in a way that imposes a minimal strain on their relationship.

Unique meaning that it doesn't happen often.
If something happens often, there's a higher chance that you can satisfy your partner's expectations and pursue the opportunity at a suitable time.
However, if it's unique, people want to catch it and may lie as an easy way to satisfy their partner if it's something their partner doesn't like.

Valued meaning it's important to them.
Like spending an evening with a close friend of the opposite sex that's coming to town.
But your partner would probably not like that.

An example:

Example of Steve lying to his girlfriend of two years:

On a recent afternoon my friend Brian stopped by my office. Brian wanted to go out for drinks, but there was a problem. My girlfriend doesn’t like it when I spend a lot of time with him because he is not terribly supportive of our relationship. Brian is single and constantly mentions how much fun I used to be, before I settled down. Despite the fact that Brian isn’t overly supportive of my relationship, he is a good friend. My professional life has been greatly enriched through my friendship with Brian; he is in “the know” at work, has all the inside gossip, and introduces me to a lot of people.

So, when Brian drops by my office on the spur of the moment, suggesting we go for drinks, I really want to go. On the other hand, I also know my girlfriend is expecting me to cook dinner and we have plans to spend some time together. What am I to do? Call and explain the situation to her? “Hi. I’d like to come over and spend some time with you as planned, but going out for drinks with Brian also sounds like a lot of fun. Do you mind if I go out with Brian tonight and make it up to you later?” Having such a conversation would take a lot of time, energy, and effort and most likely result in a fight.

And even if I’m lucky enough to avoid an argument, this conversation would undoubtedly come back to haunt me down the road with my girlfriend using this incident against me when she wants to. So, when I find myself in situations like this, I do what comes naturally – I lie. Before you know it, I’m telling her that “My boss wants some last minute revisions, sorry, I’m going to be working late tonight.”

Making the Decision to Lie and Deceive

Well, most of the time we do not intentionally think about misleading our partners. Rather such decisions are governed by our emotions and just seem to happen when the right situation presents itself.

People do things that are emotionally comfortable and easy to them.
And lying could be one of them.
So a lot of times lying is unintentional and not ill-mannered.

Intimate Relationships Are a Paradox

Because our romantic relationships and marriages are so rewarding, yet so constrictive, we are simultaneously more truthful AND more deceptive with those we love.

Additionally, we place the most trust in the person who is most likely to deceive us, just as we are most likely to deceive the person who loves and trusts us the most (also see catching lovers lying).

I think we can generalise that because collaboration is a give and take endeavour, there're always costs to collaboration.


PS: Feel free to tell me any painful truths.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Great article and review, Matthew.

It seems like that website says the same things as TPM does, but TPM is more geared towards turning that wisdom into strategies and "what it means to you".

For example, the practical strategy that could be teased out from the article would be:

  • Say the truth as much as possible, and when you need to lie to prevent harm, say it as close to the truth as possible

Which is what TPM's has generally advised.

Matthew Whitewood and LorenzoE have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodLorenzoE
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks Lucio.

I personally find the website very practical.
Maybe I didn't do the best explanation in the previous post as I was doing a brief review of the website in snippets without bringing the concepts together.

This section of my initial post contained more of the practical segments of the website:

Is Telling the Truth Always Best?

Most of the time we lie to ourselves in order to maintain a sense of control. After all, no one likes feeling vulnerable or helpless.

Very true. Sometimes I have to come clean to myself.
I think one must be aware that any constructed self-image will never correspond exactly to reality (which arguably is subjective in itself).

Why People Cheat?

Catching A Cheating Spouse

On not confronting a cheating spouse until you have solid evidence:

If you suspect infidelity, do not confront your spouse until you have proof.

While it is helpful to talk to partners about most relationship problems, this is NOT the case when it comes to infidelity. A cheating spouse will almost never admit to infidelity, unless presented with evidence to the contrary.

Even when presented with evidence, some spouses continue to lie (see husband won’t confess).

Along the same line, while there are many tactics that you can use to get a partner to be more truthful, these tactics fail to work when it comes to infidelity.

For example, my educated guess is that most individuals would not really know what to do if they suspect their spouse to be cheating.

The key thing is to not confront your spouse until you have solid evidence.
Assertiveness would not work here unlike other relationship issues.

Then an article outlines a few things to do to find out the truth:
Tips for Discovering the Truth

The website also talks about how to bring up a suspect lie by one's partner.
Best Way to Confront Lying
The gist is to not tell one's partner that he/she is lying but to bring up the matter in a nonjudgemental way on how it affects you.
The goal is to be understood and work through problems in a descriptive manner.

An interesting segment is whether you should confess if you made a mistake in a relationship whether it's infidelity or something else:
Should I Confess?

There are quite a few overlaps with your articles on cheating on this website.
Though I feel that there is quite a bit of new information.

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