What is honesty? Lying versus Failure to Disclose

What pieces of information do you need to know to make it feel safe for you to date somebody? I mean, what do you need to know before you even bother trying to learn whether he is a good person or if she has values that you appreciate? Below are questions that I want answers to. These are the pieces of information that are important to me. Don’t criticize what I want to know, and I won’t criticize the pieces of information that are important to you. The point is, you need to think about how to determine risk and what things make you think twice

1)      Does he have any children?
2)      Is he unmarried? Is he dating, even just casually?
3)      Does he smoke anything or use any drugs?
4)      What is his spiritual practice?
5)      What are his interests outside of work?
6)      Is taking care of his body obviously important to him?
7)      Is he or has he ever been under prison control, i.e., parole, probation?

bischBut this wasn’t always the case. I once dated a man who hid some very important information about who he was. I dated this man for months, and I thought we were on our way to being in some serious “luhhhhve”. One day, while we were talking, the information that he had been hiding just fell out of his mouth. I mean it, it just fell out. He didn’t intend to tell me. He had gotten comfortable, he was sharing a story, and the words just slipped out: my wife. Talk about record-scratch!

I remember that “tight in the chest” “oh no you didn’t” feeling like it happened 20 minutes ago. Since we were on the phone, I don’t know if he even realized that had happened. How could he? I had fallen silent, and there was no body language for him to see. I had to get off the phone. It was all I could do to muster, “I need to call you back”.

After I got past the immediate shock and horror, I called him back and was even more horrified at his response when I confronted him: “You didn’t ask”. What????? What????? What?????

For the life of me, I couldn’t comprehend what he had just said. He further explained that he was separated and had moved out of the home he shared with his wife a few weeks before we met. In that moment, I couldn’t figure out if I had been lied to or if I was stupid. Then, I felt embarrassed. Yes, embarrassed. Then, I did what a lot of us do when trying to make sense of nonsensical: I called my closest friends, in particular, my male friends.

Talking with the fellas didn’t fix my crushed feelings; but they did affirm me. Each and every one of them said the same thing: “THAT IS B.S.” One of my boys even laughed and was like, “Dag, dude won twice. He lied and made a smart girl feel stupid.”

disappointment dogSadly, I even gave dude a third win: I called him with this issue again, and he continued to deny that he lied. He held fast that he had never lied to me and had answered every question that I’d ever asked him truthfully.

This is the perspective that took me a little while, perhaps too long, to come to: whether he lied outright didn’t matter because the intention from the beginning was deception. His intent was to paint a picture of himself that simply was not true. He knew that I wouldn’t date him because he wasn’t single and was newly separated. He knew he needed to hide that information. The irony is that all of hiding didn’t stop what he was trying to prevent: I refused to date him. For months after that he called and attempted to patch things up, but there was a part of me that was no longer receptive to him. If he could lie about that, what else would he “simply choose not to share” because I didn’t ask? I didn’t care about how kind he was. The deal was broken.

So, what pieces of information do you feel like you need to know early on that the man/or woman should volunteer in order to keep you from feeling like you’ve been intentionally deceived and betrayed? Should I be sharing that I have a huge student loan within the first three dates?

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