The Rational Basis® of Happiness Podcast

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Dishonest Girlfriend

My girlfriend told a major lie.

(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)


Dr. Kenner:      Right now I want to welcome Merrick to the phone. Is that how you pronounce it?


Merrick:           That’s correct, Dr. Kenner.


Dr. Kenner:      And you want to introduce someone to a book and you don’t know how to go about doing it?


Merrick:           Actually your book on romance.


Dr. Kenner:      Oh, my book is a hard one to introduce, isn’t it?


Merrick:           Well, I don’t think so, but especially right now for me it is, because recently I found out that my girlfriend was lying to me. I had brought the issue to surface and we discussed it, but at the same time my trust for her has diminished a little bit.


Dr. Kenner:      I would think significantly. What did she lie about?


Merrick:           I’d rather not get into the details, if you don’t mind.


Dr. Kenner:      That’s fine. Sometimes someone can lie about – small or big, I guess is what I’m asking? Someone can say, “I’m really running late because I hit traffic,” when they stopped for coffee. And other times it’s a lie that really is painful.


Merrick:           Yeah, it’s a big lie. Rather painful and it’s enough to cause me to want to break up.


Dr. Kenner:      I can hear it in your voice.


Merrick:           The reason I’m wondering how to introduce your work to her is because I’d like to fix the relationship. And I think your book is wonderful.


Dr. Kenner:      Thank you.


Merrick:           But I don’t know how to introduce it without sounding condescending or anything that would imply something negative as to why I’m going to her as if I’m the all-knowing one.


Dr. Kenner:      First, I can hear the pain. You’re in a lot of pain for her lying, for her having lied to you. And have you discussed that with her openly? Has it been any resolution with that? Does she know the damage? Do you feel like she’s made amends at all?


Merrick:           We did discuss it very openly, in quite a lot of detail, and she’s made me promises that only time will tell.


Dr. Kenner:      So partly, you’re sitting in proper evaluation of her – is she a good lifetime partner for me, or is she a good partner for me. I don’t know if you want it for a lifetime. But is she someone that, you’ve invested time with her, you’ve invested your views of the future with her, and now you’re figuring out how do we go about mending it? So if you’re thinking about introducing her to the book, what do you think she would do? Everybody is different. If you were to say, “This is an interesting book I’ve been reading.” Or maybe she already knows you've read it. Does she know?


Merrick:           She has no idea that I’ve read it.


Dr. Kenner:      So what if you just said, “This is an interesting book I read. I think we would grow stronger from it. What do you think she might say?”


Merrick:           Actually that sounds very positive and I hope she’d be responsive to that.


Dr. Kenner:      What I’m doing there is I’m focusing on the value. What’s in it for us? Not just for me. But for us. What’s in it for us? So, I think we could grow stronger from this, and that might set her at ease. I’m assuming she isn’t a pathological liar, that this as just a one-shot deal, or you don’t know?


Merrick:           Well, I’d like to think not. That she isn’t a pathological liar.


Dr. Kenner:      So you want to keep your antenna up, because sometimes the desire to be with somebody is so strong and the time you’ve invested in them is so long and as I mentioned earlier, your hopes and dreams are all wrapped around this. Your whole future is wrapped in with this person, and it’s hard, your mind naturally will resist hearing something negative or observing something negative, but that’s exactly what you want to be alert to. If there’s nothing wonderful, guess what that will do?


Merrick:           It’ll just make it stronger.


Dr. Kenner:      Right, because you’re facing facts. And if there’s no negative data coming in, in situations that are challenging – where she might in the past have lied or missed represented something, which is again a lie – then you will be rebuilding the trust. If she reads the book, is there anything in the book you think she particularly would, that it would put a smile on her face or she would enjoy or she would say, “A-ha! Now I understand it,” in a warm way?


Merrick:           I think there’s a lot in your book that would do that.


Dr. Kenner:      So number one, you could just say, “Here’s a book we could grow stronger from,” and you’d have to do some – as we would say around here – ‘splaning. Some explaining about the title, because the title, I think to many people when they see it, I’ll say the name of the title. It’s Dr. Ed Locke and I wrote it and it’s The Selfish Path to Romance, how to love with passion and reason. The title for most people is what? The world “selfish” – is that a positive or a negative?


Merrick:           Definitely positive.


Dr. Kenner:      Well, maybe in your context or my context. But if my parents see that book, The Selfish Path to Romance, what’s our daughter thinking, right?


Merrick:           Exactly.


Dr. Kenner:      It’s like the “my way or the highway to romance,” and they’d say, “That’s not like Ellen. How could she ever write a book with that title?” And that’s not what we mean. We mean the self-valuing. The self-respecting. The self-esteem way to romance. And here’s the key that may help your girlfriend is that it’s for both people. That she holds onto herself and she doesn’t hold onto herself when she lies, right? If she’s lying, what is she doing to her self-esteem?


Merrick:           Exactly. I mean, she’s diminishing it because she’s living a fake reality.


Dr. Kenner:      She’s lying to herself and all of us have, at one point, experimented with a lie. I didn’t take that cookie, Mom, or yes I was home on time Dad. Throughout your childhood. And you know what it’s like to live a double life. The truth what you know happened, what you could play back in the video in your own mind, and the facts, and the lie, the fabricated reality. That’s emotionally very straining and it takes a toll on your view of yourself. Your self-evaluation. So in the book, The Selfish Path to Romance, that’s more that both partners in a relationship feel good about themselves inside and they cherish one another and they cherish each other’s values. So, let me just give you a few tips of what you could do if the first layer doesn’t quite work.


Number one, don’t put pressure on yourself. She doesn't have to read the book. You’re offering, and if she doesn’t, she doesn’t. I don’t put pressure on anybody in my life to read the book, even my closest friends. If they read it, they read it. The second is that if you can invite her through values, meaning through something that is important to her, so if in building the relationship, making it stronger and making it more fun is exciting, she might be excited about reading the book. Sometimes when you ask someone, when you suggest that someone read a book, it feels overwhelming. So you might just point to a paragraph that you think she would find humorous or funny or something that would be clarifying for her and not in an “I told you so” way – see, you should have read this, you should have known this. But much more in a, “Wouldn’t this be fun? We could plan a vacation together, rather than me always planning it.” You focus on something that is unique to both of you. We cover a lot in that book, everything from sex to conflict resolution to making yourself lovable. There’s a lot there. We also cover how to part ways if you see being soul mates. So remember, we have an appendix if things don’t work out. I hope that helps.


Merrick:           Yes. My biggest fear is presenting it to her in an “I told you so” way. I really don’t want to do that.


Dr. Kenner:      Yes, so figure out things in the book that would tickle her funny bone or just give her a fun a-ha. Read her a paragraph or a sentence and she might say, “I’m interested in that. What book are you reading?” And then you can go from there. Or ask her one of the questions. Listen, thank you so much for the call Merrick.