Being honest

I’m being totally honest when I admit that I lie. I lied to the guy who asked me if I had 50 cents for bus fare. I lied to the girl standing on the corner holding a clipboard when she asked if I had a minute to talk with her about human rights.

I’ve lied about much bigger things. Years ago I told my coworkers that I had gotten married over the weekend to a guy they knew.  In junior high, I told these kids at a retreat that my nickname was “Kitty” so they would call me that. I said this boy in my school had given me a friendship pin (remember those?!) because I wanted everyone to think that someone liked me.

I have told lies — or kept secrets — that I never want anyone to know.

So I cannot judge anyone for the lies they tell, no matter how big or small those lies are and no matter how many people are hurt by the lies. But I have to tell you, when you find out that someone you love has lied to you about nearly everything, it really affects your ability to trust anyone, especially potential love interests. And perhaps more importantly, it makes you think twice every time you are inclined to tell a little white lie.

He didn’t just lie about his past or his partners or about how many children he has; he lied about loving me and wanting to have a future with me. I now know so many things that make me realize the entire relationship was a lie, but it was real and true for me. Perhaps I should have seen the writing on the wall. Maybe I wanted so badly to be in love that I was unwilling to see what was really happening. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20, but at the time, I believed everything he said.

And now the hard tasks are two: how do you forgive someone who has been so dishonest with you, and how do you let yourself trust another potential partner?

I have never understood how you can forgive someone who thinks they didn’t do anything wrong, I mean, even when it’s really, really wrong. I guess maybe it helps to believe (as I do) that everyone always does their best — and sometimes their best is just plain shitty.

I posted a profile on an online dating site again, and I think I expect everyone on the site to be dishonest. I didn’t lie about my weight or height. I didn’t post old photos or intentionally misrepresent myself in any way, but I expect that everyone else did. Or does. Or will. And that sucks a lot.

So why even try to find a partner online? The truth is, you can find good people and bad people ANYWHERE! You could introduce me to your brother, and he could end up being a really bad dude. I could meet a guy in this coffee shop where I’m sitting right now (because there’s a cute guy behind me reading the paper), and he could seem awesome but turn terrible. You just don’t know. There are no guarantees. So I’m going to keep looking for love in lots of places because I want to have love love love in my life.

And about me being dishonest, I have to keep working on that. Today, I’m 100 times more honest and genuine now than I used to be in my drinking/lying days, and having done a thorough inventory of my personality defects and past mistakes and all that jazz helps keep me on the right path. But it’s damn hard sometimes. I still lie about stupid stuff sometimes, like I said I haven’t had bread since Thanksgiving but I had a big cinnamon roll last weekend after I ran 12 miles. I didn’t mean to lie about that. I just sort of forgot that cinnamon rolls are “bread.”

Anyway. I know it feels better to be honest with everyone in my life, even when it’s difficult to do it, so I’m going to keep doing my best to be a trustworthy person and to find a trustworthy person who really, truly wants to be in love with me.

Here’s to hoping that we can try to be more honest (and gentle and forgiving) with our loved ones.


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