4 Ways to Say “I'm Sorry” After Lying to Your Spouse
Rachel is not in the habit of lying to her husband.
She told a flat-out lie to him about her lunch date the day before and she was caught by a mutual friend who happened to mention to Rachel's husband that she was a particular restaurant with another man.
Now, Rachel's husband is upset and wants to know why she would claim to have met a female friend of hers for lunch when, in fact, she was with another man.
Rachel's relationship with James-- the man with whom she had the lunch date-- is complicated. They met at a work-related convention and began communicating online a year or so ago. When James was recently transferred to a company in Rachel's city, she and James began to meet for lunch dates.
Nothing sexual has happened between them. But, Rachel cannot say that she doesn't have romantic feelings for James. This is why she lied about her lunch date with him to her husband.
And, this is why Rachel is confused about how to say “I'm sorry” for lying and get her marriage back on track.
When you lie to your mate, it could be for whole variety of different reasons...
You might lie to cover up something that you have done that is potentially inappropriate or that would break trust.
You might lie to protect your own ego.
You might lie because you think the truth will hurt your spouse's feelings.
You might lie because you just aren't ready for your mate to learn this thing about you.
Just as there are various motivations for lying, there are also varying degrees of lying.
No matter how you rationalize the lie you have told and regardless of how “minor” the lie seems to be to you, it will have a negative effect on trust in your relationship.
There is no way around the fact that lying takes you and your spouse further away from one another.
Whether you've been caught in the lie or if you are tired of keeping the lie and you are ready to admit the truth, you will want to apologize, make amends and repair trust in your relationship.
Here are 4 ways to say “I'm sorry” that can help you leave the lie behind and re-connect with your partner...
#1: Figure out why you lied in the first place.
Before you approach your partner with an apology, it's really important for you to understand what motivated you to lie. Take some time for yourself and go inside to get clear about this.
Rachel realizes that her friendship with James has developed into something more. She is certain that James feels the same way and he's even said he's open to taking their friendship to a new level of intimacy.
These new developments in her friendship with James are both upsetting and exciting.
A part of Rachel longs to see where this will lead. But, another part of Rachel still loves her husband and wants to feel this kind of excitement about him and not another man.
Rachel can see that she lied to try to hide these mixed feelings and the emotional affair that she's been having.
As you try to figure out what motivated you to lie, set aside the urge to blame your partner for your actions. It was your decision to lie and to do whatever it was that you were then trying to hide.
What will help you move past this is to learn from your lying and make clear choices about what's next for you and your marriage.
#2: Forgive yourself.
No matter how justified you feel about lying, you might also feel remorse and even guilt or shame. Your guilt will not heal the damage to trust in your marriage. Shame will do nothing but push you and your mate further and further apart.
It is healthy to take responsibility for your lying and actions. It is NOT healthy or helpful to continually beat yourself up for what happened.
Take steps to forgive yourself. Yes, you might choose to make amends with your mate in specific ways, but, you also need to do some internal healing.
Remind yourself that forgiveness is not about saying the lie (and action) was okay. Instead, forgiveness is about owning what happened and then loving yourself enough to learn from it and let it go.
#3: Say “I'm sorry” from the heart.
When you do talk to your partner about the lie or admit that you lied, go prepared. Be clear within yourself about why you lied and-- in advance-- decide what you want to say to your mate.
When you say “I'm sorry,” say it from the heart. Be open to listening to how your spouse feels relative to your lying (and actions). This might be difficult to hear, but it's important for you to be present to where your partner is and what he or she wants.
If your mate asks you to make amends to him or her in specific ways, really consider what is being asked of you. Don't immediately say “yes.” Instead, let your partner know that you want to make a full commitment to what you are agreeing to.
Many times, people say “yes” just to appease their spouse and when an actual situation arises, they break the agreement because they were actually unwilling or unable to follow through with it.
Rachel tells her husband that she's sorry for lying to him and she truly means this. She also finds the courage to admit to her husband that she has been having an emotional affair.
She decides to take a week away from both her husband and James to make some decisions about her future. She doesn't want to cheat or to lie again to her husband, but she's not completely certain that she's 100% committed to her marriage anymore.
When Rachel returns, she hopes to be clearer about what is next for her.
#4: Make re-building trust your new priority.
If you hope to repair the damage caused by your lie, it is vital that you make re-building trust a priority.
This probably means that you are more transparent with your spouse than before. Give him or her greater access to your private life in order to prove that you are trustable.
As we mentioned above, make sure that when you say “yes,” you can and will actually follow through.
Re-focus your attention on your marriage and your partner. Remind yourself why you are in this relationship and what you love about your mate. Let your feelings of love and appreciation motivate you.
Reverse the damage that lying does to trust and connection by following the advice in Susie and Otto's free Relationship Reverse Report.