I’m in a relationship w a woman I love. But I cannot control myself. I lie constantly. She always catches me in lies and I get angry and turn it on her. I know I have lied but I blame her. When emotions get crazy my behavior is bad – lying, cheating, drinking, drugs, disappearing. I say I’m sorry and will not do it again. But I do. Just last week I cheated on her. I lied several times about it but she knew Bc she found a condom wrapper in my trashcan. I was emotional, went drinking, and cheated. Guilt is enormous! But I can’t control myself. I’ve lied to her hundreds of times in the past few months even when I have had no reason to lie! Today I was feeling so guilty. I called and we talked. I asked her for one last chance. She agreed to think about it while we are apart for a few days. I’m going on a quick out of state trip. But she caught me in a lie there as well because I went with a platonic female friend. I told her that I was going with a couple of guys she knew. She called while I was driving and I had to admit I was with the female. She said that’s it; she’s done. I’m so guilty and heartbroken. She’s my whole world and she is the only person always there for me. But I keep treating her badly. Over Christmas I took several hundred dollars from her bank account to buy Christmas gifts. I told her I had something nice planned for her and her daughter. I spent all that money on drugs in one day! Then I lied and told her I didn’t it on an exirnduve gift for my mother. Of course, she caught me in that lie! You name it and I’ve done it to this woman. She deserves none of it! I want to be with her but I can’t keep myself in check. No insurance and can’t find a free clinic. I’m feeling worthless and guilty. I love her so much. But my lying and bad behavior carries on beyond just her. How can I find help? How can I keep her in my life? I’m losing all hope of a normal life and relationship.

You lie when it benefits you. You don’t lie when it does not. This shows, that you can control your lying. You don’t go to the police department and lie to them, saying that you robbed the bank that you did not. You don’t lie to the IRS and claim that you made more money than you actually did. You only lie when it benefits you. You lie to help yourself and do not lie if it hurts you.

We are laboring under a false illusion, if we believe that you do not have the power to control your lying. Obviously, you are selective as to when you lie. The ability to be selective proves that you have control over your lying behavior. So that brings us to this conclusion, you lie purposefully and deliberately. Would it be fair to say, that you are lying about lying?

Perhaps the hardest thing for you to accept or admit to the world is that you choose to lie. You lie purposefully and that purpose is to deceive people when it benefits you. When you lie to enrich yourself, you are hurting others. The next thing that you need to focus on, is that you consciously, willfully, choose to hurt others.

That leads us to yet another question. What descriptive label would you ascribe to a person who deliberately, willfully and consistently, hurts others? You should accept the fact that your behavior hurts others. If you “try” to stop lying to your girlfriend and you do not succeed in your attempt, you should immediately end all of your involvement with your girlfriend.

Lying is not the issue. The issue is harming other people. You have hurt her over and over again, by your own admission. If you don’t interact with her, you can’t lie to her, and thus you cannot hurt her. We all need to take responsibility for our actions and whether we do or not, we are responsible for the good that we do and for the harm that we do.

Many people reading this will not see you as the problem in the relationship but they will see your girlfriend as the one having the problem. Perhaps they once had the same problem. They were involved in a relationship with someone who was a consistent liar, who repeatedly cheated, promise not to but continued to hurt them over and over again. These women realized the solution to their problem was to change. The change was not for them to become more accepting of boyfriends who lie and cheat but to sever all ties with boyfriends who cheat and lie.

Talking this all over with a therapist could help you to find new insight into your problem. Thanks for writing.

Dr. Kristina Randle