How do You Know What to Believe?

Dear Toni--

I am trying to heal from a very bad break-up. I completely trusted my boyfriend and believed him when he swore his undying love for me and led me to believe I was the only one. His cheating went on for a long time before I knew about it.

I don't ever want to fall for a dishonest person again. How can you spot an accomplished liar? What are the warning signs? --Bleeding Heart

Dear Bleeding Heart--

I'm sorry that you have had to go through this painful experience. I hope I can help you to "spot" dishonesty in the future.

In a nutshell, we are talking about someone who lacks sincerity. They are just "not for real." Often, our senses pick this up through our intuition. Unfortunately, we often deny what we are feeling due to a desire to believe that this person is everything we are looking for. Did you ever notice the following?

* An incongruence between his words and his actions

* He seemed to good to be true

* He had great excuses for every time he let you down (shows experience)

* Something often felt "not right," but you were able to explain it away

* Friends, especially men, had their doubts

* His declarations of undying love were made soon in the relationship, and a little too often throughout it

* His past relationships ended badly

* Other?

When a guy is for real, he doesn't need to work so hard to convince you of it. He follows through on what he says he will do and is basically reliable, open, and consistent. Sometimes he may let you down and attempt an apology that isn't very smooth, but you will "feel" it is sincere.

Now that you have had this experience, you have begun developing a kind of sixth sense for the wrong kind of guy. When these signs become visible or you just feel something isn't right, you will know it probably isn't and can act quickly to protect yourself.

One last thing to consider is your own attraction history. Do you gravitate to guys like this? Is there a pattern in your dating life of guys who are not truthful and/or unfaithful? If so, spend some time figuring out what it is that pulls you into these relationships. By helping yourself to be truly ready for a relationship, you will give yourself a much greater chance of success.

(from September 2004)

Want to read other columns on this subject?

"Letting a Past Love Go"
List of more
"Grieving Lost Love"

"Getting Closure When It's Over"


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


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