Why I Lie

Last weekend, in response to a direct question from my wife, I told her an untruth.

Later, she asked me the same question and I repeated the untruth, wondering though, why I had lied in the first place and why she was asking the question again.

Well, first of all, what was the question?

“William, that half eaten bar of chocolate in your car, where did you get it from?”

Truthful answer, I bought it.

The answer I gave her on two separate occasions, “a work colleague gave it to me”

Over the weekend, my wife asked me a third time, “William, where did that chocolate come from, but before you answer, I know that you bought it”

Then why ask me?

To see if you told the truth, why did you lie about it?

So here is what I said, in response to her question?

I supposed I lied about it, because it felt in the moment that you asked the question, that you were not entitled to an honest answer.

I perceived in the question a slightly controlling aspect, which to have answered it honestly, would have felt a bit like caving in to intimidation.

Also, my response at a deeper level, was because in fact I felt slightly ashamed and embarrassed that I had purchased and consumed half a bar of chocolate without sharing it with you.

[My wife, loved this bit – we were both laughing and despite my discomfort at being outed, I was enjoying the debate]

“So what was it that made you feel ashamed?”

I think it is a throw back to my childhood, I replied.

When I was a child, with four other siblings, we shared everything and the idea that I would have access to funds to buy and consume a chocolate bar of significance was the stuff of fantasy – I suppose my response to your question has its origins here.

” I knew that you had bought it  – I had seen the receipt, I just wanted to check that you tell me the truth at all times”

My response to her was :-

“Well perhaps I don’t for various reasons, for example, to avoid a confrontation, to protect my privacy, to feel in control, to hide my fears.”

But I also said to her, “If I tell the occasional untruth, it is against the backdrop of thirty years of faithfulness and devotion in marriage.”

“It is I who told you, my wife, that I am gay, and that I suppressed that truth for many years after its effects became known to me after we were married”

“It is I who has maintained my integrity and devotion, despite huge feelings of conflict, isolation and fear”

“My advice to you, my love, is that in the small things, if you already know the answer, please don’t ask the question and I won’t tell a lie”

My next blog will be:    Head to Toe

William Defoe

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