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BS - can he change the habit of deception?

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iwillNOT posted 10/14/2013 00:09 AM

I am haunted by a thought train I had last night. Between dating and marriage, my WH and I have been together for 22 years. I figured out that for approximately 9 of those years that I know about, he was lying and or concealing infidelity from me(I do not mean he was cheating all that time, but that he had cheated, it was over, and he didn't tell me for years. I also,include the time spent in his most recent affair, where I caught him).

All that time he was keeping those secrets, even if I did not consciously know it, he was "apart" from me. No real honesty or connection. That is what hurtful secrets do. I wonder if it allowed him to feel more in control, less intimate, more distant and therefore less likely to be hurt. But, I digress.

The main thing that I am grappling with is, if you have been lying for almost half your relationship, how can you even begin to honestly relate? At some point, doesn't the deception become automatic, a habit? And how do I, as a BS, find a way to believe in the possibility of that change?

I want to be hopeful, I really do, but I feel like the chances of a long time liar becoming genuine rank right up there with blizzards in Hades and airborn swine.

SerJR posted 10/14/2013 07:05 AM

Yes, it is possible for a WS to change. Many here have demonstrated that it is possible to put in the hard work necessary to realise that change in their self and in the dynamics of their relationships. However, it isn't easy and they were only able to because they wanted to and because they took responsibility. Your WH may or may not make those changes, but that is up to him.
What you can do is understand what changes you need to make and what actions are necessary from you to enact and realise those changes. You need to decide if you are willing to put up with his behaviour, and if not, you need to decide how you will protect yourself. You did not decide upon having infidelity in your marriage, but it is your decision on whether or not you will accept it and the associated deception and manipulation. If that is unacceptable to you, you have the choice to leave should his behaviour continue. I suggest that you let him know that if you are to stay in this marriage, that you need to see an earnest and longterm change from him. But only if you are willing to back it up with following through.

cayc posted 10/14/2013 07:13 AM

I remember the day I realized that my xWH was a liar. Not just about cheating, but a habitual liar who never told the truth about anything. We had just rented a house near his work, and one of his co-workers came over for a beer after work and asked xWH how we found the house and xWH proceeded to tell him how he did it. Except he didn't. I did. xWH had nothing to do with it. It was like the scales fell from my eyes because he lied about something that didn't matter in a bid to make himself look like the good guy/husband taking care of his wife/hero to his co-worker. A needless lie. A tiny, innocuous who cares kind of lie.

But it stopped me because it was so not necessary, and he did it with me sitting right there listening! And he said it as if he believed it. And in fact, I realized that in his mind the narrative was true!

Liars like that? They are so caught up in making an impression, in maintaining a persona that to stop lying is to have to face themselves, be themselves and likely experience a lot of pain as they slog through their demons to enlightenment and authenticity. If you are in your 40s and have lived like this your whole life, that's asking a lot of someone. Asking something that I don't think after displaying 40 years of weakness, they are strong enough to change.

With your WH, think about his lies. If they are bigger than just covering up the cheating, if lying is a way of life for him. If you are now, eyes wide open, recognizing deceit that's plagued your M the whole time, seeing that how you thought your WH isn't true because, well he lied about himself too ....that's the sort of lying that I don't think is "fixable" to your satisfaction. And even if it is, the years it would take to get to a place of safety ... without back sliding ... without discovering more lying ... to have to doubt "was the grocery store really out of potato chips?" ... that's a crazymaking life to live.

breakingpoint posted 10/14/2013 07:15 AM

BS Only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 7:45 AM, October 14th (Monday)]

Deeply Scared posted 10/14/2013 07:45 AM


WS's are not to post in the JFO forum, the title of your thread has been updated to reflect that.

Thank you

hathnofury posted 10/14/2013 09:06 AM

Of course it is possible. But it is very hard work, really requires the aid of professionals, and even at that takes a long time and the odds aren't great.

My WS has a huge character defect of dishonesty. It is deeply ingrained from his FOO. He has basically had this issue his whole life. DD blew everything apart and eventually exposed it all, the decades of lies about just about everything. When initially confronted, he was convinced he was just an asshole that couldn't change and didn't deserve to try.

It's now 2.5 years later. I won't lie, he was still an asshole, just a milder and more cooperative one, for the first year and made very little progress on that front. But after the first year, after the fog really started to lift and he could fully grasp what he had done and what he could lose, the internal progress finally started taking off. He is *just now* starting to act like a decent human, and recognizing the potential for lies and bad behavior before they start. I would say at the rate he's going he could be fully rehabilitated in that respect by the five year mark.

BUT, had I known that on DD, I don't think I would have wanted to wait that long to find out. My circumstances did not make it to my advantage to immediately file. I have only been here this long because it took me that long to get my ducks in a row. If things were different, I wouldn't have stayed that first year while he was still figuring out how to extract his head from his ass.

I don't recommend waiting to find out unless the WS is immediately remorseful and goes to IC to work out their issues right away. Even in the best case scenario it takes a long time to address the underlying issues of habitual dishonesty and develop new behaviors that foster honesty and trust. You don't deserve anything less than that.

iwillNOT posted 10/14/2013 11:32 AM

Thank you mods, sorry, still learning the ropes

SerJR, it is sooooo hard to focus on myself and the changes I need to make. It is easier to take the attitude that if his behavior changes, it can be all better. Fact is, I own my part in the state of our relationship. Or I am trying to, anyway. One hard question is, what is it about me, that I picked a liar?

Cayc, I don't see him lying randomly about everyday things, but the magnitude and depth of his lies surrounding his infidelities just flabbergasted me. It's like poison sticking to every aspect of our lives, our interactions. What would our relationship have been with honesty instead? I got robbed.

Hathnofury, my WS was remorseful right away, went to IC right away, and has shown lots of effort. BUT. I can't shake the sick feeling that maybe a liar is a liar, always. I am looking for a sign, that thing that will show me the possibility that he can change, but then I am not sure there is any sign that I would believe.

Sigh. This stuff is hard.

[This message edited by iwillNOT at 11:33 AM, October 14th (Monday)]

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