I had to use the title above to catch your attention, but also because this post relates to relationship communication (not political) that often can be mistaken for lies.
How can relationship communication can be mistaken for lies? Well, speakers often say things and when it gets to the listener it seems changed. Couples say things like:
- * “I didn’t say that.”
- * “I never said that.”
- * “You twist my words.”
- * “That’s not what I meant.”
- * and “That’s not true!”
There are multiple reasons relationship communication can get so muddled that it seems like one partner may be lying.
- –The speaker chooses a word which means different things to both people. Everyone functions with filters, and so we hear certain words and phrases attached to particular meanings. If our partner says somethings which has a specific meaning to us, but not to them, and we react to our meaning, it may seem as if our partner is not being kind or truthful (and maybe not even necessary.)
- –The speaker doesn’t clarify meaning up front. One husband asked his wife “When were you last happy?” She took it as a judgemental question of “Why aren’t you happy?” with the implication she’s somehow broken or wrong (possibly a button from her past.) When he tried to explain he meant “When were you last happy with your life?” she couldn’t hear him and felt he was trying to cover up (or lie about) his intentions. He, on the other hand refused to see her point of how the question could have come across judgementally. Messy relationship communication.
- –The speaker’s situation changes and what was once true for them is no longer their truth. This happens all the time in relationships; what a person believes, likes, wants, or fears changes over time. That’s a part of being human; however, if the other partner can’t wrap their head around the fact of change, or the one who changed can’t communicate it clearly, then it leads to misunderstanding.
- — Sometimes our thoughts are backed by so much insecurity that we create lies we believe. The question is, when someone really believes something, are they lying? This is a sticky situation in relationship communication, because it is important to recognize we all have our own truth. However, this doesn’t mean we have to live by another person’s truth. That’s where a couple has to work on repair and negotiation.
- — The speaker truly thinks something isn’t a problem when their partner thinks it is. This happens lots of times with infidelity; if the couple doesn’t have a joint understanding of what is considered “cheating” then one may do something the other doesn’t like unknowingly. This mistake in relationship communication doesn’t just happen in infidelity, it can happen with money (how much is too much to spend), kids (what is the right way to parent), and any other part of life.
Before you jump to the conclusion that your partner is willfully and maliciously lying to cover up, save face, or hurt you, take some time to talk about the conversation. Ask what they meant by the phrase you are unhappy with. Look at what you are basing your assumptions on; have things changed since the original input you are basing ideas on? As a speaker, it behooves you to be clear as perfect glass; explain what you mean and the thoughts behind what you are saying. Both of you can take these steps before, during, or after a difficult conversation to keep your relationship communication healthy.
Honestly (and you can believe me,) I don’t believe my title; maybe that means I’m lying. 🙂
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