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  #1  
Old 06-10-2014, 09:22 AM
MinaRica MinaRica is offline
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Default Compartmentalizing vs lying

My boyfriend and I are in our 30's and have been together for a year, living together for 9 months. He is an extremely private person who tends to compartmentalize his relationships, whether romantic or platonic. I have a very open, honest communication and relationship style, and have difficulty understanding compartmentalization. He knows that I don't like it, yet I do my best to give him space and privacy. I've caught him in little lies on a recurring basis. I can't ask this question on a regular dating forum, because everyone's advice seems to be that if he's lying about little things, then he's lying about big things, and probably cheating on me. Nope, that's not it. He's not lying to escape my wrath, impress me, save face, or cheat. As far as I can tell, there is no real reason to lie/compartmentalize like this, other than habit. And that, I find very disturbing.

I have seen flashes of texts to a crush of his where he has described life events occurring as though he were the only one involved, such as buying our car, condo shopping, going on vacation together. All these things were described as though he was doing it alone. He described all the people he hung out with and all the things he did on vacation while omitting me completely. I've told him how much this bothers me, as I see it as unnecessary lying. He thinks it's no big deal as she knows I exist, and so it shouldn't matter if he doesn't talk about me. I think its really odd, as there is no real reason to do this. He says that he shares information with people as it becomes relevant. I think that telling things as they are is relevant.

He lies about unimportant things. I don't understand why. I'm not jealous of his other romantic interests, but omitting the truth, especially for no reason, makes me feel really insecure and untrusting. For example, he went to his old apartment to grab a book. When he got back home, I saw it was a startup business advice book. I asked him what he wanted it for, was he planning to start a new business? He said it was just good to reread. Later, talking to a mutual friend of ours, I found out that he got the book with the express purpose of giving it to her to help her start her own business. There was no reason to hide this reason from me. I don't understand why he does this.

He says he was bullied in high school, and learned to just live inside his own private world to get people to leave him alone. He says he is just used to compartmentalizing everything. He says he doesn't mean anything by it, it's just a habit. All his lies, or truth omitting/bending, are about unimportant things. I know he wouldn't cheat on me - if he were interested in or pursuing someone else, he would tell me. He's been cheated on in an open relationship before, and it hurt him a lot. I know he would never do that to me.

I don't see him changing any time soon. Should I just let it go since it's about unimportant things? Or is this sort of behaviour a deal breaker? In my last relationship, we were 100% honest about everything, to a fault. I thrive in that kind of environment. My boyfriend's need for a private, compartmentalized world is foreign to me, so I'm having difficulty determining if this is acceptable behaviour or not. Any thoughts or feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:32 AM
london london is offline
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If I was you, I'd think one or more of these was a possibility:

1) he isn't totally comfortable with being non monogamous so feels like mentioning shared experiences/plans he has with you is rubbing your relationship in the face of others. Basic mono.normative thinking.

2) he consistently attracts partners who aren't fully comfortable with polyamory, so he avoids upsetting them by mentioning your shared experiences/plans and presents them as individual experiences/plans.

3) he believes (rightly or wrongly) that you may try to impede on his relationships in some way, so tries to prevent that by "compartmentalising" right up until the point it becomes "lying" so you can't obstruct it in any way.

These things might just be his issues/paranoia/baggage and it seems that you trust he won't cheat. If I had a partner who I trusted in that way, this behaviour wouldnt bother me because even if it is about the people he dates, I know he isn't going to replace/displace me. The other issues can be overcome by me proving over time that I'm not going to try and obstruct his relationships and that it's really okay to be consensually non monogamous. You don't have to pretend to yourself or your partner(s) that you are or try to set things up in a way that resembles a monogamous relationship.

When we had The Troubles, that's something I felt my partner was doing with the other person. He was trying to give her a monogamous dating experience and shield her from the differences in a polyamorous relationship.
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:49 AM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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While I do understand the need for some privacy in our own head space - although honestly I am very open to intimate friends - the degree of "privacy" to the point that he is omitting information would be a barrier to mental and emotional intimacy within the relationship.

His lies of omission seem to center around avoiding any possible conflict. - a defense mechanism. It could be something he does automatically, without thinking. And he is probably being honest when he says it is not designed to hurt you. Unfortunately, his behavior is actually creating conflict and putting up walls in the relationship.

It it probably behavior that needs to be discussed with a therapist - but he has to want to change his behavior.

Even understanding that this behavior is not meant to be hurtful, it is apparent that it does hurt you. I would hazard to guess that it feels hurtful because it's an indication that he doesn't feel he can trust you (or anybody else for that matter). And if it were me, I would be worried that he would omit important information - information that I would need to make sound, personal decisions.
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Old 06-10-2014, 01:07 PM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinaRica View Post
I have seen flashes of texts to a crush of his where he has described life events occurring as though he were the only one involved, such as buying our car, condo shopping, going on vacation together. All these things were described as though he was doing it alone. He described all the people he hung out with and all the things he did on vacation while omitting me completely.
You gleaned all of this information from a "flash of texts"? It sounds to me like you have a rather in depth level of information about his communication with other people - is this with his consent?

I get that his style of communication is a problem for you, but I would recommend against responding by invading his privacy against his will, if that is in fact what you have done to gain all of this information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinaRica View Post
In my last relationship, we were 100% honest about everything, to a fault. I thrive in that kind of environment. My boyfriend's need for a private, compartmentalized world is foreign to me, so I'm having difficulty determining if this is acceptable behaviour or not
I would move away from trying to determine if his behavior is acceptable in some general sense. Since you come from an opposite approach to communication the real question is about whether or not you can accept him for who he is. He isn't broken and neither are you, so it comes down to deciding if you are happy with what you get from him or if the relationship needs to be adjusted (or abolished).

Personally, someone keeping me at a distance like that would be a determining factor in how we relate. I would leave him to his business and most likely our relationship would function more like acquaintances than romantic partners. On the other hand, being with someone who had a high need to know the goings on of my life would be something that would exhaust me and I would probably need to adjust that relationship as well.

When discussing personality traits it's about which ones work together and in what type of arrangement. If what's going on now isn't working for you I suggest adjusting your expectations to fit with the reality of your situation.
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  #5  
Old 06-10-2014, 01:49 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
My boyfriend and I are in our 30's and have been together for a year, living together for 9 months. He is an extremely private person who tends to compartmentalize his relationships, whether romantic or platonic.
Quote:
He lies about unimportant things. I don't understand why.
You do know why. Because he is in the habit of compartmentalizing things. He sounds like he prefers his relationships to not intersect not even one iota.

Quote:
I'm not jealous of his other romantic interests, but omitting the truth, especially for no reason, makes me feel really insecure and untrusting. For example, he went to his old apartment to grab a book. When he got back home, I saw it was a startup business advice book. I asked him what he wanted it for, was he planning to start a new business? He said it was just good to reread. Later, talking to a mutual friend of ours, I found out that he got the book with the express purpose of giving it to her to help her start her own business. There was no reason to hide this reason from me. I don't understand why he does this.
Again, you DO know why he does this. His preference is to compartmentalize and not have his relationships intersect from the sound of it.

What you do not like at this time is how you feel about it when you bump into it.

Quote:
I don't see him changing any time soon. Should I just let it go since it's about unimportant things? Or is this sort of behaviour a deal breaker?
Only you can answer that. Do you want to let it go? Or is this a dealbreaker for you? Because he's not changing any time soon.

Quote:
In my last relationship, we were 100% honest about everything, to a fault. I thrive in that kind of environment. My boyfriend's need for a private, compartmentalized world is foreign to me, so I'm having difficulty determining if this is acceptable behaviour or not.
Are you ok not getting that kind of environment? Can you "thrive" without it? Or is it only "survive" for you here? Could you live with minimal data if he gave it? Like with the book if he had said "No details. It's for (other GF.)" Could you be able to let it go there? Could he be willing to give minimal data? Could you both be willing to find the shade of gray between zero data and full 100% open data? Not have it be so "black and white?"

You are the one in the relationship with him so only you can decide what is acceptable enough for you or not. Dating time is for finding this kind of stuff out to see if you are compatible or not. That is what dating time is for.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-10-2014 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:37 PM
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Playing armchair psychologist a bit here (which may mean that I'm totally off-base, so take everything here with a grain of salt), but I find the book part more telling than the relationship part, since there's really no reason for conflict over it. Does he have trouble with giving up control, in any form? Is this a way of keeping control over things in a way? If he doesn't dole out all the information, then he is the keeper of it all, in a way, and he alone knows the whole situation.

Really, the only one who can answer "why" is him. The only one who can answer if you can stay and put up with it is you.

I think a user on here has a blog thread where she feels her husband is a chronic liar, and they're trying to work through that. I can't remember the thread offhand, though. If I have the time, I'll try to post it.
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:05 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinaRica View Post
And that, I find very disturbing.

I've told him how much this bothers me,

I think that telling things as they are is relevant.

omitting the truth, especially for no reason, makes me feel really insecure and untrusting.

I don't see him changing any time soon.

In my last relationship, we were 100% honest about everything, to a fault. I thrive in that kind of environment.

I'm having difficulty determining if this is acceptable behaviour or not.
I quoted the lines I think are most pertinent in answering your question.
Because really-you are the only one who can answer your question. Only you know if this is a deal breaker FOR YOU or not.
But sometimes, we struggle to pull out the important details from our own thoughts. Maybe having someone else do that will help you.


For me-that's a deal breaker. It may be a habit, but it's not a healthy habit. Lying by omission is still lying. I don't really care WHY someone lies. if they can't be honest because "it's habit" or because they are scared or whatever, I am not going to be likely to be able to have a healthy relationship with them.
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:53 PM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinaRica View Post
He lies about unimportant things. I don't understand why. I'm not jealous of his other romantic interests, but omitting the truth, especially for no reason, makes me feel really insecure and untrusting. For example, he went to his old apartment to grab a book. When he got back home, I saw it was a startup business advice book. I asked him what he wanted it for, was he planning to start a new business? He said it was just good to reread. Later, talking to a mutual friend of ours, I found out that he got the book with the express purpose of giving it to her to help her start her own business. There was no reason to hide this reason from me. I don't understand why he does this.
My husband does this - drives me batshit crazy! Looking back, had I realized this sooner, we probably would never have gotten married (or maybe I would have been stupid enough to think it wouldn't continue, I was young and naive). After 23 years of marriage and 2 kids, I'm kinda stuck and all I can do now is call him on his shit every time I think he's being cagey and let him know that I don't trust him. It's exhausting and really sucks! Today a bit wiser and more experienced, I'd walk away. This would be a major deal breaker for me.

He hides stuff he "thinks" might upset you and he's too selfish and too much of a coward to deal with the fall out. All the while you stand there scratch your head thinking "why would he think I'd be upset about that?"
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:20 PM
copperhead copperhead is offline
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I'm going to post a quote I found in a thread somewhere (not on this forum) and saved it just so I would never let anyone systematically lie to me again.

Quote:
Every time the liar lies to me he/she is saying: You're not worthy of the truth. And every time I forgive and forget that lie, knowing full well the liar will continue to lie to me, I am diminished just a little more as a person and my pride, self-worth and self-respect are equally diminished. So it's a lot like battered-wife syndrome, the more you stick around and take it, the lower your self-esteem sinks until you are an empty shell devoid of feelings. You simply have to harden to it to survive in the relationship. So you cope by subconsciously agreeing with the liar in believing that you don't deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, thus becoming more and more a victim, and more dependent on them. It's a downward spiral.
If you decide to stay (and it really is your decision) pay attention to how you feel over time. You already said that these lies make you feel bad. How bad do you think you would feel a year from now? Two? Five? Ten? Are you willing to live through those years? Could you take feeling more hurt than you feel now? Where do you draw the line? How much hurt from lies are you willing to take before you call it quits. You don't seem to think it'd be likely that he'd change his ways. Is it likely that you'd learn to live with the lies without feeling bad and risking your self esteem?
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Old 06-15-2014, 12:40 AM
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alibabe_muse alibabe_muse is offline
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http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=69959

This post was a month ago. I've discussed more of how I'm handling it there. The loss of self-worth over 21 years, in retrospect, is not worth it.
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