Get All Access for $5/mo

Ask the Relationship Expert: 'I Lied to My Girlfriend and She Found Out' This entrepreneur's partner is questioning everything after catching him in a lie.

By Marla N. Mattenson Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

PeopleImages | Getty Images

What happens when running a business gets in the way of your romantic relationship, or vice versa? In this weekly column, relationship expert Marla N. Mattenson responds to entrepreneurs with love dilemmas -- because the hidden power of successful businesses are the stable, loving relationships behind the scenes.

Dear Marla,

I lied to my girlfriend and I feel awful about it. When she asked me if I was coming straight home after work, I told her that I was, even though I planned to stop for drinks with friends first. Honestly, I didn't want to hurt her feelings by telling her I'd rather go out than come straight home. She ended up finding out the truth and now she's questioning everything I say. How can I rebuild trust with her?

Signed,
Living in the Dog House

Dear Dog House,

Rebuilding trust takes time, and it is a great sign that you're asking how to do this. If you are really honest with yourself, it's not only that you didn't want to hurt her feelings. It's also that you didn't want to deal with her reaction. In business, this is how "buyer's remorse" happens. When someone initially says yes to your service or product but they really mean no, it's a form of lying that leads to regret, request for refunds and cancellations post purchase.

Related: Ask the Relationship Expert: 'As an Entrepreneur, I Earn Much More Than My Husband -- and It Bothers Him'

To rebuild trust you both first need to understand the truth about lying -- lying is human! Our fight, flight or freeze response is programmed in our DNA, and in relationships the "flight" response relates to lying. As young children, we are encouraged and rewarded for lying by "doing what we are told." We are given praise for being a "good" child rather than encouraged to choose what we truly desire. As an adult, this leads to challenges being truthful with ourselves, our friends and family, in our business relationships, and especially with our love partners.

Interestingly, lying is not the only problem, here. The reason why you lied is another piece of the puzzle for you.

First ask yourself, "What part of you doesn't want to deal with her reaction?" Once you're clear then you're ready to ask her if she wants to understand more of the reasons behind your choice that night.

Related: Ask the Relationship Expert: 'I Can't Stop Letting My Inner Child Take Over When I'm Feeling Down'

Next, tell her you love her and want to heal this together. Share that dealing with her reactions when she doesn't get what she wants from you sends you into an old default habit pattern of lying. And you don't want to do that anymore.

Finally, choose to live unafraid in your relationship and trust that she can handle your truth. Telling the truth doesn't come naturally. It takes a dedicated couple to want to hear the truth from each other. Practice speaking your truth and you'll get out of the dog house to experience true freedom in your relationship.

Marla N. Mattenson

CEO and Founder, Mattenson Coaching & Consulting, Inc.

Marla N. Mattenson is an entrepreneur and frequent speaker on the topic of relationships, intimacy and wealth building. Over the course of her 22-year career, she developed a unique, scientific approach to relationships to help entrepreneur couples rock both the boardroom and the bedroom.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.

Business News

Sony Pictures Entertainment Purchases Struggling, Cult-Favorite Movie Theater Chain

Alamo Drafthouse originally emerged from bankruptcy in June 2021.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Marketing

Are Your Business's Local Listings Accurate and Up-to-Date? Here Are the Consequences You Could Face If Not.

Why accurate local listings are crucial for business success — and how to avoid the pitfalls of outdated information.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

'Passing By Wide Margins': Elon Musk Celebrates His 'Guaranteed Win' of the Highest Pay Package in U.S. Corporate History

Musk's Tesla pay package is almost 140 times higher than the annual pay of other high-performing CEOs.