Some Partners have said that you can always tell when a Sex Addict is lying–because their lips are moving.
Unfortunately, that is true. Most Sex Addicts lie out of simple self preservation, preservation of the facade that they present.
Let’s think about it. These guys have lied all of their lives. It is second nature. You have to be a very good liar to lead a double life, to hide your activities, to make plausible (so they think) excuses to cover their behaviors. And, it takes a lot of effort to remember all those lies. It becomes so second nature to them that they believe their own lies because they really don’t even remember what the truth is.
I have a saying that Larry would ‘Lie on the fly’. He could make up stories as fast as the words would come out of his mouth. It was amazing to watch after I had it figured out. His favorite lying phrase was, ‘I was just thinking of that’. That phrase could cover everything from taking the garbage out to finding a new counselor. Of course, I knew he was NOT just thinking of whatever ‘that’ was, but in his mind it got him off the hook. The fun came when I would ask him details about ‘that’. His tap dancing would always get him in trouble because he had to quickly make up even more details that just didn’t fit.
And, when challenged, most of these guys will come back with, ‘everyone lies, even you‘ and then quote some silly lie you were guilty of, like telling your elderly grandmother that her new hairdo looked nice.
Telling a lie when the honest truth is expected and telling a lie to be gentle toward other’s feelings are vastly different things.
Sam Harris, in his book ‘Lying’ says,
To lie is to intentionally mislead others when they expect honest communication.*
One of the greatest problems for the liar is that he must keep track of his lies. Some people are better at this than others.
Psychopaths can assume the burden of mental accounting without any obvious distress. That is no accident: They are psychopaths. They do not care about others and are quite happy to sever relationships whenever the need arises. Some people are monsters of egocentricity (narcissists) . But lying unquestionably comes at a psychological cost for the rest of us.
Lying requires an extraordinary amount of work— all of which comes at the expense of authentic communication and free attention. The liar must weigh each new disclosure, whatever the source, to see whether it might damage the facade he has built. This is why liars often do not answer your questions immediately. Larry had an insanely irritating habit of ‘thinking’ before answering, sometimes for many minutes (which seemed like hours to me). He had to work through all the lies before he would answer. Sometimes he got so confused he would just not answer at all.
If they tell us enough lies, and the effort needed to keep us in the dark eventually becomes unsustainable and they will make mistakes. For reasons we might not be able to pinpoint, we just begin to feel certain that we cannot trust them. But, if we challenge them they become defensive, accuse us of being paranoid or having PMS. Then the gaslighting begins (but that is for another post).
Certainly the types of ongoing deception and lying that Sex Addicts engage in along with their other personal betrayals — generally require an additional moral defect: a willingness to lie. Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood.
Lying is the lifeblood of Sex Addiction. These men know they are lying.
But why do they lie?
They lie to protect themselves from the consequences of their actions–it’s as simple, and as awful, as that. It is a form of self-denial, a maladaptive coping mechanism, a manifestation of protective instincts related to ego that will not allow the abuser (yes, this is abuse) to acknowledge the truth about the mess that his life has become.
So, can they ever change? Could you or should you ever trust them?
My opinion is that the lying that Sex Addicts are prone to is so deep seated and so ingrained that the chances of them being able to tell the truth, especially about anything that threatens their fragile and skewed self image is highly unlikely.
*Harris, Sam (2013-10-23). Lying (Kindle Location 66). Four Elephants Press. Kindle Edition.