Cigarettes to Credibility: An Analysis of Lies in Relationships



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Lie(n): an intentionally false statement


We all encounter it at least once a day. Some of us more than that. And most of us, way more than that. Sometimes as the liar, sometimes as the victim. But lies is indispensable to our lives.


Marriages stand on it. Feelings stay unperturbed. Careers are built, elections are won.


An unsuspecting young girl loses her virginity.

A child is consoled and protected from harsh reality.




If the purpose served is noble, does it undo the lies?


If the intention is selfish, is the truth also a vice?




When I was a child, to be assured of the truth of my playmates words, a simple word was used.


 If she said this magic word, I would be sure that she would not lie, she could not lie. Who would lie in the name of God?


 Then I grew up and learnt about Atheists.

And Agonists.

And Liars.




Another lie-detector I learnt was a phrase “Swear on me”, and it meant that if the person lied, bad luck and death would pursue me. I fooled myself thinking, the ones I love, would not risk even a silly superstition, they would not risk the slightest bad luck, because they love me so much. I will say “swear on me” and they will think about how small the lie seems before the risk of losing me to death and they would come forth with the truth.

I believed it to work.

Until someone lied to me.


I don’t know how to deal with these lies. With the same lie told over and over again. Is it my fault then to hope that what was once a lie will one day turn into the truth. Just if I wait long enough, it is just a matter of time. Just this last time. One more chance. Last chance. Forgiveness. Begging. Pleading. Promising.


And then again, lies.


It is like a small rot, not visible to the naked eye. Not visible to the people viewing the relationship from the outside, only the two involved know, but chose to ignore that rotting spot. Choose to look elsewhere. Because that’s easier. Less painful.


Just look the other way.


Don’t rock the boat.


Ignore. The. Lies.

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A few days ago, I found a packet of cigarettes in my boyfriend’s jeans pocket. No big deal, right?

Except that just a few hours before I found that packet, he swore on me that he had quit smoking. Not another one. This smoking thing is a sore spot for me because I lost my Dad when I was sixteen years to an unidentified lung infection and he was a chain smoker.

There are many things that I am unsure about in life but there is one thing I am crystal clear about, I will not marry a smoker. And this was one of the many reasons why I refused to go steady with him for a long, long time. He promised to quit. But fell off the wagon. I gave him another chance. Then he promised again. Fell off again. Another chance. This endless cycle is been going on since two years now. And as we are inching closer to marriage, it is hitting me that I don’t think he is ever going to quit. The only thing that has changed is that he has probably become good at hiding from me, lying to me and taking it for granted that just because we are pretty darn serious about each other, I wouldn’t leave him over a cigarette!

But the problem is, I would.

Ya I know what you’ll say. Why don’t you talk to him? I would love to do that, except that wait, I already have. Like a hundred times.

I have threatened. Pleaded. Requested. Encouraged to help. Motivated. Stayed quiet. Sulked. Fought. Argued. Screamed. Cried. Cried a lot. Cried a whole damn lot.

It doesn’t help. He doesn’t want to quit because if he did, he would have found a way by now.

And now the problem has swollen from cigarettes to credibility.

He lies very comfortably about smoking so could he about anything else right?I mean how I ever know if everything else he has told me with such utter conviction isn’t really utter crap.

Which brings me to another question: In an intimate relationship, is the whole truth attainable?


Or is honesty in relationships actually a lie?

I know so many of my close friends who lie to their partners without batting an eyelid or so I think. Maybe they feel they need to lie to keep the relationship.

When two people are in love, in the beginning it is all about telling each other the truth. The more honestly you are able to reveal yourself to the other person, the deeper is the connection you feel with them. But when the wooing phase is over, when the relationship enters its steady phase, secrets start, tiny lie-lets appear at first and slowly breed into large deceptions and betrayals.

When I was completing my Masters, I learnt a fascinating concept: confabulation which basically means that when you do not remember the whole story, just some highlights, our brain automatically fills up the gaps to come up with a whole story which we believe to be true in all its detail. So if the brain unconsciously lies without having to teach it to, can lies be that unnatural?

In an interesting study I came across it was revealed that a whopping 92% respondents admitted to having lied to their romantic partners. And in addition to innocent ego-boosting lies, it was also revealed that lovers reserve their more serious lies for each other. Apparently being in love with someone means that you will find it harder to detect lies and will mostly assume that the truth is being told. I agree to this statement, sadly.

And the most discouraging statement is that lying is more common in romantic dyads than other types of relationship dyads but is mostly motivated by a concern for the relationship or the partner. (Which explains why when the stakes are high, the lying increases).

One of the hypothesis offered was that dishonest partners are of the belief that their partners are also engaging in deception. This really got me thinking because, often my boyfriend fights with me over perceived lies. He believes I am probably talking to someone else behind his back or that I am meeting another guy without his knowledge. You get the drift. Maybe the way he deals with his conscience while lying to me is by convincing himself that I lie to him to so going by the principle of reciprocity, it makes him feel less guilty.

So this is the ultimate paradox then. To get intimate with someone, one must reveal self, but to remain intimate, lies is an essential and unavoidable lubricant?


9 thoughts on “Cigarettes to Credibility: An Analysis of Lies in Relationships

  1. Everyone lies.. In relationships and otherwise. I think an issue arises only when it’s a lie about something that’s a complete deal breaker to the person who is being lied to, like smoking in your case.
    I’ve come to realise over the years that people dont really change.. You’re either ok with the way they are or your not. No point holding on to something hoping that things are going to change with time.
    Reading about the concept of confabulation for the first time. Guess now it makes sense how two people can remember the same thing differently…!

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