8 Lies That Are Okay To Tell In A Relationship
The Bottom Line: There are a few lies that are okay to tell in a relationship.
- Making them feel better over something short-term and insignificant.
Sometimes your boyfriend is upset that his new fade makes him look like one of The Chainsmokers, or your girlfriend is freaking out that her micro bangs are a bit too micro. They hate their look, but still want to know *your* thoughts on it. "Honesty is the best policy, but if you can keep from hurting someone through a white lie – while keeping the best intentions – then it’s okay to be nice," says Dr. Suzanne Degges-White, Chair and Professor of Counseling and Counselor Education at Northern Illinois University. The main thing to remember, according to Degges-White, is "consideration of your motivation and the potential fall-out if the truth were found out." It's fine to tell your partner that their one-time bad outfit is cute, but they can get upset if you knew their job interview outfit didn't look sharp and were too scared to tell them.
- Appreciating a really bad (but genuinely sweet) gift.
When someone goes out of their way to do something nice for you but greatly misses the mark, it can be tough to know what to do, especially in the beginning of a relationship, when you're both still getting to know each other. Do you tell your new boyfriend that you have no use for a fresh-ground coffee subscription because you absolutely hate coffee? Do you hide the fact that you find teddy bears really juvenile and tacky?
- Being nice about one-off annoying situations.
Occasionally, being in a relationship means having to do things you're not really into, but that mean a lot to your partner, like going to their awkward office Christmas party or being stuck in a 50-minute convo about pure-bred poodles with their cousin. But overtly announcing how annoyed you are (especially when your S.O. is already apologetic) is not really a kind move.
- Hiding something you feel embarrassed about on the first few dates.
If, say, you have IBS and are mortified about mentioning how you might need to find an emergency bathroom on a second date, it's ok to make something up, or simply omit that detail, however big it feels in your own life. "Until you know someone more deeply, you have to be protective about those things that can really hurt if you don't know how they will respond," says Dr. Gunther.
- Pretending you didn't zone out during sex.
Regardless of how good the sex is, eventually, your mind will drift at least once to like, how much you can't wait to go eat tacos, and your partner will worry they're the most boring person in bed. While denial is the most natural go-to, Dr. Degges-White also suggests "using a ‘white lie’ that gets you back in the spirit of things is a good option – 'Oh, no, sorry, my mind drifted off to a hot fantasy where we were …' and fill[ing] in the blank with whatever you think would be a turn-on to your partner."
- Sexting them you're wearing lingerie when you're really in PJs.
It's a rule of law that guys only want to sext at the exact moment you changed into a frumpy t-shirt and put on X-Files. Is it so bad to fudge the truth and say you're totally "wearing lace panties ;)"?
"Lying about what you’re wearing when sending sexy texts isn’t done for your own gain – it’s to play along with the fantasy you and your partner are co-creating," says Dr. Degges-White. AKA, you're fine, girl.
- Not telling them that you had a sex dream about your ex.
It's not that you can't ever tell them about a random guy hitting on you during girls' night (who you completely ignored) or that you find someone in the office so physically attractive in a totally non-serious way, but you have to ask yourself why you'd want to. If it is a big deal, they have a right to feel threatened or jealous, and if it's not a big deal, they can be confused as to why you felt the need to mention it at all.
- Acting like you didn't watch ahead for your go-to Netflix show.
"Think about it this way: what’s the probable reaction if a 'white lie' was revealed for the untruth it was," says Dr. Degges-White. "If he found out you were willing to re-watch an episode of Billions that you’d already stealth-watched, he’d probably be a little disappointed, but not threatened." Note: this is ok maybe one or two times. Saying you haven't seen *any* of this season of Game of Thrones and faking shock at every cliffhanger is just ruthless.