How to Address My Lack of Honesty in a Relationship

Avoid an argumentative approach to confessing your dishonesty.
... Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

When you're the one who's dishonest, addressing your actions is a must if you want to move your relationship along. From fessing up to making amends, taking steps to deal with your lack of honesty may show your partner how much you care and that you are truly sorry. Whether you lied, cheated or both, getting your dishonesty out in the open is a challenge that takes a level of maturity that you must master.

1 Self Admissions

Before tackling your own dishonesty, take a break to truly look at your lie. While it might seem simple to admit that you laid on a major lie -- such as telling your guy that you were with friends when you were out with another man -- less conspicuous ones may seem simply like different versions of the truth. Lies by omission -- often known as "white lies" -- include parts of the truth with other parts left out to "protect" the other person. That said, they can be just as destructive in a relationship as full-on lying, according to clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone on the Psychology Today website. Admitting the lie to yourself is a first step in addressing the issue.

2 Admit It to Your Partner

After you have come to terms with your lie -- whether it was major or minor -- you need to fess up and admit it to your boy or girlfriend. Feeling nervous about this step is normal. You don't know how your partner will react, and may feel scared or anxious that he'll either get angry or just leave. Sit your partner down and calmly explain your dishonesty. Take responsibility for what you did, acknowledging that you were wrong for being dishonest. Avoid pointing fingers and placing the blame on your partner. For example, don't say, "I had to cheat because you never pay attention to me." Instead, approach him with, "It was wrong of me to cheat on you. I feel like you've been ignoring me, but that's no excuse."

3 Apologize Sincerely

While a sincere apology isn't an instant fix, it is necessary when addressing your dishonest actions. After acknowledging your wrongdoing and accepting responsibility, tell your loved one that you are truly sorry. Steer clear of apologizing for how your partner is feeling, suggests psychologist John M. Grohol on the PsychCentral website. Apologize for your own actions instead. There's a major difference between "I'm sorry you feel hurt" and "I'm sorry that I lied to you about talking to my ex."

4 Stop and Wait

Apologizing isn't like playing the lottery. You don't get more chances to "win" the more that you apologize. Heaping on apology after apology can detract from the sincerity and lower the impact of your intent. As long as you are clear and specific in your apology, stop after one time. Don't add on extra apologies or drone on and on about how you're a "terrible girlfriend" or "the worst." This won't resolve anything and will start to seem desperate or needy. While you might want him to forgive you right away, you need to give your partner the time he needs to trust you again.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.