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  • Your Spouse Caught You In A Lie: How To Come Clean With The 'Oreo Method'

    The truth only hurts once and a lie every time you remember it.
    by Rachel Perez .
Your Spouse Caught You In A Lie: How To Come Clean With The 'Oreo Method'
PHOTO BY iStock
  • We’ve all been there before, telling an itsy-bitsy lie to your parents, kids, and spouses. You had no idea who scratched the car when you went to the supermarket. You told your husband a store was out of beer. No big deal, right?

    Some lies, however, can create a rift between you and your spouse. These lies can be about losing a massive bet while playing cards or having a harmless run-in with an ex. Some, however, can be damaging like lies that involve cheating, addictions, and verbal or emotional abuse.

    According to couples therapist Becky Whetstone, no matter the severity of the lie, people do so for self-preservation. “It’s an attempt to maintain our reputation as being a good and honest person, or a certain kind of person that we’d like others to view us as, or to protect ourselves from the negative reaction of others,” Whetstone told The Huffington Post.

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    Psychotherapist Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D. added that reasons for lying also come in the guise of not wanting to hurt the people we love. In that context, it’s almost always still about controlling what they know to protect our self-interests.

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    Why come clean to your partner about a lie

    “As fundamental as lying seems to be to human beings, trusting relationships are also a basic human need, and as we all know, lying destroys trust,” Vilhauer wrote in her article on Psychology Today.

    Open and honest communication is key to any happy relationship. Not all topics will be easy to talk about — your ex on your social media feed is going to be trickier to discuss than admitting you scratched the car. But you should work your way into discussing any issue.

    Some experts argue that white lies do no harm, but it can be a small drop of corrosive acid that can destroy a relationship from within. Research has shown that telling little lies often leads to lying about more essential things in a relationship. “Even when you don’t get caught, a lie often damages the relationship,” Vilhauer said.

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    Whether you’re a person who believes that ignorance is bliss or one who considers tweaking of the truth is a big deal, telling the truth is simply the right thing to do.

    How to confess to your partner? Use the Oreo Method

    So, how do you tell your spouse that you’ve lied about something? Don’t wait for your partner to find out from other people. You want to be the one to tell your partner about something you lied about or conveniently didn’t mention. But you also don’t want to blurt out the truth randomly, which can hurt and often happen when you or your partner are confrontational or vulnerable — basically when emotions are high. 

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    Marriage and family therapist Sheri Meyers, author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity and Rebuild Love, and Affair-proof Your Relationship, advises aiming for a conversation than a confrontation. She believes in the “Oreo method.”

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    Start with a cookie, a positive statement of love and intention.

    Wait for the right time, ideally when the topic naturally comes up. If that wouldn’t happen, then wait for when you’re both calm and ready to listen. Try not to be overly dramatic about it. You may say, "I love you and I want out relationship to be based on trust that's why I'm telling you this now." This may help soften the blow.

    Go with the filling: Tell your partner the lie, why it happened, and that you’re sorry.

    Think about what you’re going to say beforehand. Of course, it's easier to confess the little lies. But the fact that you lied is already an offense, so treat your confession the seriousness the lie deserves. Don’t try to cover all the details yet. Allow your partner to process your statement. Reactions and questions will follow soon after you deliver the other cookie.

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    Close it with another cookie, which is, again, a positive remark or action.

    A sincere apology accounts for something. What you did was wrong, period, so don’t justify your actions. Never blame your spouse or deflect it somewhere else. Own up to it, express regret or remorse, and say something along the lines of. "It's wrong, and it's my fault. I want to get this our and focus on helping you trust me again."

    It's not as easy as that, of course. Prepare to accept how your partner reacts, whether it’s silence, not deciding to forgive, or sleeping on the couch. You may need to postpone discussions several times — you always want a calm and clear head to be able to think straight to avoid rash decisions.

    Honesty is one of the pillars of a great marriage. It’s easy to break but harder to rebuild among partners. When you’re on the verge of telling a lie, no matter how small, remember this: The truth only hurts once and a lie every time you remember it.

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    Not all relationships deserve to crumble after a lie. Click here to find ways on how to build trust again.

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