THE LITTLE LIES WE TELL OUR PARTNERS….
IT’S a truth universally acknowledged — parents lie to their kids.
Even though we aren’t comfortable with the term “lie”, we tell our kids Santa is real and that we have no change for the coin operated ride outside the supermarket. We tell them about the Tooth Fairy and the Easter bunny and often we tell them that the secret stash of chocolate in the cupboard reserved for parents doesn’t really exist.
Sure the lies aren’t intrinsically harmful, some may even say they help give our kids a more joy-filled childhood. So I wonder if telling small lies to our partners when we have grown up is part of creating a happier marriage.
I started to think about this last week after I came across a woman in a the crockery department making a rather hefty purchase. It transpired she was having a dinner party and wanted to purchase a new table setting, everything from plates to cutlery to fresh linen napkins.
She managed to drop the fact that she was very busy and wealthy into conversation on a number of occasions. But when her choice was made and time came for payment, her confident and perhaps arrogant tone changed ever so slightly.
She needed to organise the payment, put some on one card, some on another and pay some cash to “hide it from her husband”.
I don’t believe for a minute that this woman was going to serve dinner to all her guests on shiny new plates and give her husband an old cracked plate from the back of the cupboard. Or maybe he’s the kind of man who doesn’t pay any attention to crockery (I’d say most people fall into this category) and she could just not mention it or lie about the price if he asked.
There are so many layers to unfold in this scenario — should both partners in a union be aware of where the money is going? If she didn’t tell the truth about the price how was she going to explain the amounts on two different cards? And, just as importantly, should she be accountable for how she spent the money in an equal relationship? Is spending money on the house or the kids different to spending money on yourself?
My husband and I have an open relationship, although that’s probably not the best way to describe it. We haven’t actually agreed to a non-monogamous relationship but we’ve always been open with each other about the day-to-day stuff and as a consequence of that — the bigger stuff.
Sure I don’t tell him that when I pay for petrol I often get something from the shop because my attraction to sugar is far too strong to resist. I don’t read him a list of the items I bought or bore him with what I had for lunch any more than he does to me. But I’m not sure that this is keeping a secret.
The only thing I may have actively wanted to hide from him is that damn speeding fine, but I’m not quick (contrary to what the fine says) and he opened the mail. Plus he would know. I can’t not tell, I feel an urgency to share stuff with him that may be interpreted as over talkative.
But what works for us doesn’t work for everyone. When I questioned people about the small things they avoided telling their partners there were a myriad of replies — there was the Botox that her husband didn’t even notice (ouch), the amount of chocolate eaten (a common one), a few sneaky trips to Maccas and of course the clothing purchases that were never discussed, simply dismissed with an “oh this old thing?”
Although one woman with almost spy-like ability admitted to taking wire coat hangers and plastic to work and coming home with her new items disguised as freshly dry cleaned (not bought) clothes.
Do these little cover-ups really make a difference to a marriage? Does being honest mean accounting for every minute of your day and every cent you spend? Or, like the lies we tell our kids, do the secrets we keep from our partner make for a more joyous marriage?
Although my husband is very loving and attentive, he doesn’t want to know the minutiae of my day-to-day life. But if I spent $2000 on dinner plates, he’d want to know what else they could do because surely for that amount of money that would at least clean themselves.
Source: Daily Telegraph
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