When it comes to you and your significant other, a solid foundation is built on a mixture of communication, connection, and trust. While you may be totally open and honest with your partner about all aspects of your life, there are certain instances when it may be OK, or even preferable, to lie to your partner. Even if you’re incredibly blunt with your friends and family, telling your romantic partner the cold hard truth of some situations can lead to bickering, fighting, and unnecessary tension.
When speaking with your partner, always consider the impact of your words — is what you’re about to tell them truly important, or are there instances when a listening ear and a different attitude about the situation are more necessary than your hurtful (but possibly true) words? Here are 10 things that it’s OK to lie about to your romantic companion.
1. How you really wanted to spend your Saturday
Let’s face it — no one wants to lie in their relationship, and when your partner is someone whom you love and trust, lying feels unnatural and comes with some subconscious feelings of guilt. While this is normal, it’s also OK to have differing feelings about what you want to do with your free time.
According to AARP, most of us lie in our relationships because we don’t want to spoil an otherwise good day with confrontation. When your partner is super excited to go hiking with you and you agree to do so, smile and enjoy the time together instead of complaining about the activity. And, when you’re done, don’t tell them how much you would have rather done something else — this is a sure way to build tension in your relationship. Make time to do your own activities, but when it comes time to compromise, do so with grace.
2. You totally don’t understand how they feel
You may spend each and every day conversing with and listening to your partner, but at the end of the day, you’re still two different people who won’t always see eye to eye. When your partner is going through troubles you just cannot comprehend, it’s best to express empathy over apathy. It’s times like these when they may just need a shoulder to cry on, so show your softer side. Psych Central explains that in order to empathize, you need to have a strong bond with your partner along with compassion. Empathy requires mindfulness, attention, and love, and it will bring you and your partner even closer.
3. You hate spending time with their family
Whether they’re your in-laws or your relationship is just in the beginning stages, hanging out with your partner’s parents probably isn’t your favorite activity. As tempting as it is to vent to your significant other about all the annoying things their family does, stop right there. Emily Morse, a sexologist, tells Shape it’s better to let your partner do the venting and you do the listening. As long as nothing horrible has occurred that affects you, it’s best to grin and bear the occasional visit.
4. How much you loved your previous partner
If you’re satisfied in your current relationship and happy with your partner, then you may be tempted to divulge all of your past secrets, which includes information about exes you may or may not still keep in contact with. Here’s the deal — if your partner asks you questions and you feel comfortable answering, then by all means, answer with honesty. But, if it’s never brought up in conversation, then any talk about how much you adored your exes is best avoided.
Refinery29 suggests skimming over details about past relationships with your current partner so you don’t spark tension or feelings of insecurity. And, never tell your partner about other people you find very attractive — it may seem harmless, but it’s best to lie about these things to avoid any ill feelings.
5. You can’t stand what they’re wearing
We’re betting your partner has a few ensembles they look their best in, but that old outfit they’ve resurrected from 1985 might not be your first choice. Maybe you’re willing to take one for the team and criticize the built-in shoulder pads or ill-fitting pants. But just know it’s totally OK to let a bad look slide every now and again. If your partner is super psyched about their outfit, smiling and telling them they look perfect might be your best option. After all, Marie Claire says telling white lies like this can help to spare your partner’s feelings and keep an argument from starting.
6. Exactly where you went out with your friends
You’re ready for a night out with your friends — maybe that includes hitting the bars or just a night in with a good movie. Either way, it’s your time to have fun. And as long as you’re not breaking any definite no-nos — think cheating or purposely hitting up your ex — you should be free to go where you please. If bringing up that you visited a bar and had one too many cocktails makes your partner uneasy, feel free to let those details slide.
Also, consider this: If your partner keeps prodding you for the details and needs to know your whereabouts at all times, Psychology Today explains they could have a control issue.
7. How much you spent on gifts for them
We’re all a little tight on money these days — with student loans and rising food prices, it’s no wonder so many couples count every penny they spend just to keep their heads above water. When it comes to your partner’s birthday or holiday gift, you want to give them something truly special, even if it means putting away money secretly.
If you’re in the beginning of a relationship with separate finances, then you absolutely have no obligation to tell your significant other how much their gift was. If you share finances with your partner, then before you buy the gift, make you’ve set aside your own money. Then, when they ask, feel free to say it was much cheaper than they think.
8. You’re still bothered by something they did years ago
Even the happiest couples argue. During a particularly heated disagreement, you might find yourself shouting about a fight you had years ago that’s totally irrelevant. From here, things can really spiral out of control.
Don’t allow this to happen — instead, discuss the incident that happened in the past, and then tell your partner you’re letting it go. Even if you still feel that resentment within you, take steps to let go of it on your own before your bitter feelings completely ruin the relationship. The Huffington Post suggests learning how to take responsibility for your own actions to avoid unnecessarily blaming your partner for anything. You should also be honest with yourself, acknowledge your own feelings, and try to understand where your partner is coming from to feel empathy. This will bring you greater peace, and your relationship will be better off for it.
9. Your wrongdoings in past relationships
Maybe you’ve made a mistake or two in the past — but now you’ve grown, you’ve learned, and you’re ready to move forward with your current relationship. You might feel like you have to reveal every dirty detail of previous flings. In reality, there’s no need, and it might end up making things tense between you and your partner.
According to survey Bustle shared, 33% of people wanted to know immediately if someone they’re dating has ever cheated. On the other hand, 24% would rather not know. Also, the majority of men and 41% of women don’t even want to know how many people you’ve had sex with, so don’t worry about disclosing your number. All in all, use your best judgment with this one, but don’t feel too pressured to tell your partner about a past you’re not proud of.
10. Why you’re ending the relationship
Maybe the relationship has run its course and you’re ready to move forward. As tempting as it may be to point out your soon-to-be ex-partner’s every flaw, now’s probably not the time to be too harsh. You don’t have to go the “it’s not you, it’s me” route, but feel free to hide a little bit of the truth in the breakup process. The Richest says most people end up telling lies when they’re breaking things off. It’s common to tell your partner you need space, you’re too busy to devote time to the relationship, or that you’re the one with the issues. Lessen the blow by putting some of the blame on yourself — it might make for a cleaner break with no unnecessary arguing.