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.
This Post Has 10 Comments
Amen and amen and amen.
one of the things i’m coming to terms with, and what actually led me to this forum, is recognizing that the lying is so deep seated… it precedes the acting out, and may just be a fortunate skill that has enabled him to hide his acting out for over 5 years. The acting out might actually come from the lying. I’m learning that my husband isn’t a liar, he is a reality manipulator. And he started by manipulating his own reality in order to, most likely, a) maintain an image of himself outward and inward, b) perpetuate his stories (his version of reality) to prevent himself from confronting or facing his own weaknesses and mistakes. you see, unlike emotionally mature people, he is not capable of truly accepting responsibility for a mistake or a fault. I wager this is true of many if not most sex addicts. So, perhaps his twists on self-perception led to him casting blame on life, our relationship, on me, which allowed him to indulge in acting out behaviors, which may have led to addiction– or maybe it isn’t addiction, but his warped perception (lying) enabling him to continue his acting out behavior
Kirsten. You are me. I am you. It makes me so sad.
Kirsten – your comment is well spoken and is such a “non – issue” in the sex addiction treatment for spouses. They focus on the “addiction” and totally fail to acknowledge the lying. Well if God himself came to me and told me “he will never cheat on you again” it wouldn’t make a difference to me. I want to know that he will never LIE to me again.
**** This ***
This is the heart of the whole thing for me – if he can lie to me about porn, over and over and over again, then he can lie to me about EVERYTHING. And he probably has.
I abhor lying, but recently found myself in a situation where I found I had to lie. It was aweful. And exhausting and gave me an ah ha moment. That perhaps the later stages of the lying: I don’t know. I don’t remember, that we hear actually mean they can not keep track of their own lies. They have told so many it’s the lies they can not remember.
My sah actually does the silence for several minutes thing, and then asks me “What did I tell you before?” That silence drives me bonkers BTW. He will sit there looking at anything but me, while time slows to a stop, and I want to scream in frustration. I have gotten so frustrated with it I found myself laughing and crying at the same time desperately trying not to scream because I was afraid I was loosing my mind.
Amen Lanom, it’s the lying. I could handle the drinking, but the lying is a different story. I had no idea what was true and what wasn’t. Be it the house payment, the lawn mower, the credit cards, all bullshit. He never got that any lie was always worse than the truth. Do these guys grow up in a house where even the parents lie? I always knew, back when we were engaged a million years ago that something was off but I didn’t want to face it. 25 years and 6 months later he had an emotional colapse and was in the psych ward for 5 days and came out as Mr. Jekyll. A month later I found that $21,000.00 was spent on lap dances at a strip club over about 3 weeks. It’s gone up to approaching $40,000. He’d drop 5K on a weekend. 5K!! How does one person spend $5,000 in two days at a strip club? Honestly, I don’t think I want to know. I don’t want to be bitter, but I can’t tell anyone about all that has happened in such a short time because nobody in their right mind would believe it is even possible. He is a buttoned down CPA for god’s sake. Before he lost his mind anyway. Now he’s out of a job come September 30th and out of health insurance after 12/31. I’m 60 and so pissed off I could spit needles and if it would help I would! Now all I have to do is find a full time job with insurance and sell the house and think up something to tell dozens of people, including my family, what the hell happened to my marriage after 26 years. Jesus,what a nightmare.
Wow, so well said!
Thx for the clarity
Wow. I am a newly divorced wife of a sex addict. The lying…how did he get so good at it? He lied to me for at least five years hiding his addiction. I was devastated when he told me he had an account on Ashley Madison and even more when I discovered that he spent thousands at strip clubs and massage parlors. I still feel sick thinking about that! I am struggling to let my dream of marriage and true love go. I filed for divorce in order to protect myself and my daughters. I am so disgusted and feel so much shame. I know he has a problem but it is still so hard for me to process. Of course he blames his actions on me. I’m not falling for it. He was such a good man…and now he’s so troubled. I am taking a deep breath and reading more. Thanks for sharing this struggle!
And Kristen! Your description is so right on! ?
This is my first comment/question since finding this site. Would very much like feedback. I married who I thought was the love of my life 3 years ago. He was 77 and I was 64. Found out after marriage that he was a serial cheater with first two wives. Work colleagues, massage parlors, back pages hookers. This he admitted with great remorse. I guessed because my intuition was on fire and because of an incident after 6 months of marriage. A very sexy young woman in a parking lot was parked next to us. Scantily clad and looked like she was advertising. He kept looking in the side mirror at her. Then got out of the car leaving me sitting there alone to flirt and smile with her. There are other things…in every other way he is amazing,truly. My blinders are off. I love the good part of him so much. So painful. Now he is ill and 82. Thank you.