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Lying Husband - Part 94

Thereze wrote:

I read in one of your replies on the situation of lying husbands that the husband has to WANT to change the behaviour, and the wife should figure out what she can do to make him WANT to change his lying ways.

I have tried lots of things from screaming to leaving, and I would like to know if you have any other ideas for me to try to get my husband to stop lying; as HIS idea.

He lies about lots of small stuff, and sometimes big stuff. been doing it for years. This is my last ditch effort before resigning myself to a life of dishonesty and doubt, because I am NOT going to leave him.

I know you will say that leaving is best, but I am middle aged, overweight, and the mother of his child, so my prospects are bleak. I had rather live with a liar than alone, pathetic as that may be. If you have a priceless gem of advice on how to make it HIS idea to stop lying, I would give it a try. I am usually very good at playing the "make it his idea" game, but boy, this one is a stumper.

Dear Thereze

Believe me, you have my sympathy; and you are right, my first advice would always be "Leave" - if he will not make any effort to change, why hang around - but I also know that's much easier said than done.

There is one method than can work, even without his knowledge and consent - but it will require very strong willpower from you, and very, very careful planning.

The way it works is simple; you reward good behaviour, and punish bad behaviour. If you do that consistently enough, for long enough, you can have him salivating at the front doorbell. But I digress.

You need to decide what rewards and punishments you will use. Nothing obvious - a $5.00 bill in his shirt pocket every time he tells the truth, and a black eye when he lies won't work, simply because you'll be broke and he'll hit you back.

Go for little things:

When he tells the truth - and you know he was going to lie, or he has been lying, a simple "Thanks for that, Babes", and a hand on his arm will work wonders. But you must do it EVERY time he comes clean, in private or in public, indefinitely. You work out your approach, but it must be something that you can maintain indefinitely, and in public.

When you KNOW he's lying, a sad shake of the head and "Are you SURE, Honey?", followed by silence from you for exactly one minute- every time - public or private.

Never draw attention to lies you discover later - this only works if applied at the time of the lie, and only at the time of the lie. For everything else, bite your tongue and move on - you cannot afford to send mixed messages, or dilute your main message.

You plan the details, but it must be something you can - and will - keep up for a long time. It must be something you can do wherever and whenever it needs doing.

It won't be easy, because you've been rewarding him for lying for years (by letting him get away with it). And you must be mindful of any potential risk to yourself - hence small rewards, small punishments. And pack it in if there's any worries about it.

And, of course, some might argue about the ethics of refurbishing a husband. In my book, you are doing him a favour - but that's for you to decide!

If that worries you, occasionally, in situations where he's comfortable, and lying is not an issue, you can say "You know, I think you've been more straight with me lately. I know changing old habits is hard, so I always try to give you credit. And I'm sorry if it shows a little when I'm upset about the things you say - but it does hurt, and I figure you've a right to know that."

Don't have a big debate about it - say your piece and then change the subject. You don't want to make him (or you!) uptight about it, you just want to reinforce the program, and let him know what's going on. Without being too brutal.

Good Luck!

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