I’ve been thinking a lot lately about deception, the conflicting feelings associated with being lied to and how, when trust is broken in a relationship, although it’s never okay…
Is it ever repairable?
Trust is the foundation of every solid, healthy, mutual, and enviable relationship out there. If you don’t have trust in your relationship, there will never be an actual relationship – only the idea of one.
Without trust… passion, meaning, intimacy, and connection cannot exist. No matter what you do or how enthusiastically you search for it with no pants on.
And without all that, what do you really have other than toxicity?
We usually confuse the emotional paralysis that we’re experiencing with “being committed,” “in love,” “not being selfish for once,” “weathering the storm,” “not giving up or quitting,” etc., when really, we’re just a not-so-undercover (or cute) doormat; an ATM for excuses without an ounce of dignity left in our emotional bank.
When trust is broken in a relationship, the foundational crack that is that lack of trust, immediately becomes the ONLY thing that needs to be focused on or else, the house comes crashing down.
If you don’t have your health, it doesn’t matter if you have all the intelligence, money, degrees, looks, wardrobe, charisma, charm and opportunity in the world, right?
Trust is the definition of optimal relational health. If you don’t have it, nothing else matters.
It doesn’t matter how amazing all of the surrounding factors are, how mind-blowing the sex is or how enticing the potential. Where there is an absence of trust, there’s an absence of reality (and an abundance of “pulling-the-wool-over-your-own-eyes-in-hope-of-the-toad-turning-into-a-prince,” delusion).
And where there’s an absence of reality… there’s an absence of a real relationship.
Trust is the nucleus, the “control center,” of all relational cells. And yes, just like there are relationships, friendships and even marriages that exist without trust, there ARE cells that exist without a nucleus – these are very basic, simple cells known as bacteria. Bacterial cells need absolutely nothing to thrive and multiply other than an unhealthy environment. The relational equivalent to a bacterial cell is known as that thing your relationship became once the trust was broken: toxic.
Deception of any kind robs your relationship of having the nucleus it needs to live a healthy life.
But, I have to admit… It’s really easy to sit here and type away about how any hint of deception should never be tolerated and that when trust is broken in a relationship, you need to immediately bounce and never look back.
It’s not so easy when you’re in the thick of it, being lied to by the one person who you wanted so desperately to be “it;” the one who you can’t help but see all the good in – the person who has your heart.
What do you do when trust is broken in a relationship?
How do you proceed when your gut senses deception that directly contradicts with what your heart wants?
I have not only tolerated, but I’ve excused deception and have chosen to believe the most asinine, outrageous and hindsight-laughable bullsh*t you could ever imagine. I’ve had people tell me versions of the truth, and while they were doing so, straight-up acknowledge my allergy to bullsh*t, the pain that this “misunderstanding” has caused me and even the “harder to believe,” aspects of their own story.
Why was I so quick to tolerate and excuse in the past?
I used to think it was because I really loved the other person and that it was some inverted sign of maturity because I was choosing to “work through it,” at the expense of my dignity. I also wanted to avoid being viewed as a drama queen.
Now, looking back with self-awareness, the ability to be vulnerable, and so much less of an ego, I continually tolerated and excused deception (in others and in myself – YES. I used to compulsively lie). This was all due to un-dealt-with trauma and shame from my past, which made me a sitting duck for believing lies that were just as obnoxious as the ones I was telling myself.
I was unable to let go of how I wanted things to be because I couldn’t see them for what they currently were.
All I could see was a barking cat. It was too painful to acknowledge that the cat was actually meowing (and not barking with a French accent). It was too embarrassing to face all the time I had wasted, wondering whether or not I could hear – and even apologizing for my inability to recognize a meow with a French accent.
Nowadays, I’ve retired as sergeant of The Gotcha Police. I no longer get emotional orgasms from playing detective, catching people red-handed and then, getting my a*s kissed because they were caught.
I’m sure a lot flies over my head, but ultimately, because people can’t help but communicate who they are, they eventually unfold and the truth now holds a higher value than my subscription to potential. I’m more reliant on my gut than I am on words. I’m happier. I’m calmer. And I no longer feel guilty for assuming that I’m dealing with a duck if it’s in a pond, quacking and has feathers. I’m not so ashamed to connect the dots in a way that correlates with reality – as opposed to someone else’s version of it.
If I notice deception, I bring it up in the clearest way possible, AFTER I’ve had some time to process it. Once I address it, I’m then able to make a rational decision that I feel good about acting on. I used to need to catch people in the same kind of deception that I would to engage in with myself because for a moment, it allowed me to feel like I wasn’t as contradictory as I knew (and I’m sure everyone else knew), I was.
Deception no longer triggers me into a month-long “discovery phase,” back-and-forth, “I’ll never be enough,” journey. Frankly, it bores me. I don’t have the time for it. And I no longer feel guilty about not wanting to continue a relationship in which doing so would mean that my intuition would need to be ignored.
When trust is broken in a relationship, you need to press the STOP button immediately.
Although there is a great deal of shock and pain, your disgust by the other person’s contradiction needs to outweigh your level of desperation.
Desperation is not cute. It’s never sexy, nor does it EVER garner respect.
And if you’re desperate, you won’t be able to make the right decision with how you want to proceed.
No level of deceit is ever excusable. And no amount of desperation to hang onto the threads of truth in an unbelievable fable should ever require you having to be THAT desperate.
Just like where there’s horse sh*t, there are always flies… where there’s a liar, there is always an enabler.
Stop enabling other people’s deception to impulsively jumpstart your own self-deception. Pull the plug and know when you need to flush.
As far as what to do when trust is broken in a relationship, make sure that you first have a healthy relationship with something that I have always struggled with: Intention.
I used to always fall hard for the “it wasn’t my intention,” explanations.
When someone says something to you that just doesn’t add up and your gut knows it (whether it’s just partially untrue or completely untrue )…
They are trying to control your reality by minimizing their exposure (and subsequent consequences), maximizing your empathy, and concealing the one thing that you are always entitled to: the truth.
If they start to defend or deny in any way, not only can this rapidly progress into gaslighting, but at the very LEAST… it’s a window into their OWN issues with control, trust, respect, and honesty. It’s an indicator of just how low their self-esteem really is.
As far as what to do when trust is broken in a relationship, remember this: It’s SUPPOSED TO be heartbreaking. Deception hurts, and when you’re in the process of connecting the dots, it’s about as painful and unnatural as having to perform open-heart surgery on yourself. You obsess over every word and playback every scenario. At times, you’ll feel like your senses are deceiving you because they are. EVERY sense will attempt to deceive you except your gut.
Your life will speak for itself no matter how much you try to justify your decisions with excuses rooted in “I am not enough.” When you choose to buy into the deception of others, you will drain your life, your spirit, and your soul of substance. You’ll deprive the world of the gift that is YOU.
When trust is broken in a relationship… I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to be kindly honest and own your truth than it is to waste more time playing True Or False with an adult baby.
It’s okay to no longer want to roll in the mud of bullsh*t and pretend that you’re in a marble-lined, saltwater pool.
When trust is broken in a relationship, own the narrative independent of your value. The moment you stop arguing with reality and own your truth…
That’s the moment you are no longer emotionally obligated to accept deception. Yes, you’ll still be hurt, but you will see it for what it is: THEIR karma and YOUR northern star – pointing YOU on YOUR way.
When trust is broken in a relationship – not this post, not your family or friends – ONLY YOU can decide what you’re 100% comfortable with as far as how you want to proceed.
No one can tell you what’s best for you – especially the person who caused the breach in trust. No matter how you choose to proceed, here’s the one thing you should always do when you feel like you’re being deceived and things just aren’t adding up:
Take a moment to stop and process the information before you react.
Stay on your white horse, rely on your instinct, and be the enviable class act instead of the certifiable banshee.
Don’t feel guilty about hitting the STOP button until you are both clear as to what happened and feel respected on BOTH ends.
You deserve so much more than a version of the truth…
And the world deserves so much more than just a version of you.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.
Thank you Natasha ? Just thank you ?? You’ve saved my life in more ways than you’ll ever know.
I have no words to describe how much this post helped and PMS helped me in my life. I discover the PMS one year ago and I can say that I’m not the same person.
Natasha, you gave me confidence to believe in my self and to be on the “white horse”.
Thank you for this blessing blog, I wish that you could know how much this blog means to me and how I wait every week for a new posr it’s like my “power pill” that help me to continue and to stand up on my feet and not to breakdown.
Thank you Queen N!
P.s – I’m INLOVE with your look. #stylegoals
🙂 Thanks Nurit! Love you sister. xo
Always trust your gut.
I have a tendency to ignore that feeling, being told that I’m just delusional or crazy, but, with time, I realise that my gut has always been spot on.
It’s so difficult, but, we deserve to be with people who are honest, in every way.
I don’t have time for anything less.
Today I woke up to free birthday giveaway emails and your post; although the truth hurts, everything you wrote is priceless. Thank you time and time again.
Happy it helped! 🙂 Thanks Bella and Happy belated Birthday!! XO
Thank you so much for your words. Everything you write is so profound and true and you are a genuine inspiration to me in my own writing. Keep going, your messages are truthful and powerful and so many people need to hear them.
Hi Lisa! Thank you from the bottom of my heart <3 It takes one to know one - you are incredible. XOXO
Love you, Natasha…you nailed it!…as always…would still be a door mat if I hadn’t found this site…the things you say just make sense to me…I still have a ways to go with this self respect and self love thing, but thanks to listening what you have to say, I’m on the right path…so thank you for just being you, and caring about women like me…
Hi Naomi! Thank you 🙂 I love you too! I’m honored to have helped <3 Thank you for being YOU. All my love to you soul sis. xx
Natasha, your posts are a serious wake up call. I wish i had known about this blog before I sabotaged a really good relationship. I understand that you don’t give consultations over comments. But how do I deal with the shame and guilt I have over hurting a great guy? Long story short, I have really low confidence, and avoid confrontations like the plague. My ex loved intellectual discussions and long talks. For the first 2 years of our relationship he was real patient when i started getting irritable when he would try and talk to me.. my low self esteem would be triggered and it no longer was a talk about idk the shape of someone’s head but i felt like he thought I was stupid and whatever i answer i gave was going to be wrong. The bull is that it’s alwayd been in my head.. i put him on a pedestal that he didnt ask to be put on, and projected all my previous baggage on him. And ultimately pushed him away, and single handedly destroyed a relationship that was good for me. He thought i was this wonderful kind woman, and I couldn’t see that.
So how do I forgive myself for becoming this crazy person? How do i get over hurting a good person? I wish i could tell him all of this.. but im currently NC and know that I won’t get any answers from him because all the answers are within me.
Hi Mercy! I’m happy that the posts have helped 🙂 Yes, I can’t advise in the comments. I wish that I had the time to <3 Thank you for understanding. I will try to write a post on this soon! You are loved, supported, believed in and never, ever alone. xx
If you don’t mind, to you I would say that the Very Best thing you can do for yourself is to learn from it. Regret is a waste of time. Beating yourself up is a waste of time. But if you really want to move forward and if you really mean business, you learn from it and start changing how you live in your relationships. I know this is brief, but best wishes.
Thank you for you response. I am currently going back to therapy after taking a few weeks off. Oh the stigma of therapy -__- But I have been trying to be nicer to myself because i feel that ultimately I wasn’t ready for that relationship… i need to have my own back and trust myself before I can be in a relationship. In theory I know what I have to do, forgive myself, learn from my previous mistakes, and commit to taking care of myself and loved ones. I just can’t seem to let go of my ex. I catch myself day dreaming, catch myself living in a pseudo make believe relationship, and it hurts because he made it very clear he wouldn’t give me another chance. I really love him.. but I know the only thing to do is move on because I need to heal
I am so impressed and thankful for your communication skills.
Hi Jeanette! Thank you! 🙂 I’m so thankful for your love, support and sisterhood. XOXO
clear and insightful post as always. Re-reading this on a quiet Sunday morning, absorbing the sense of it and gaining strength through it. PMS has helped me help myself more than you can ever imagine over the last year, so thank you. My go-to place when the onward journey needs a little extra companionship for a mile or two! Xxx
Suzie! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m so happy that you are a part of this tribe and I thank you for allowing me to see that I was never alone in so many emotions, situations and feelings that for too long, I felt alone in. All my love to you soul sister. xxxxx
Natasha you are literally in my head. And heart. Every word is spot on for me. I so badly wanted this toad to become the prince my heart was telling me he was. Ist confusing to be in love with a pathological liar. My head said one thing, my heart another. Total conflict. I kept choosing my heart bc I was in love with him like no one else. But the toad got bigger and bigger and the Prince is starting to shrink. Not where he needs to be but one day at a time. I never knew, and still don’t know, the real ugly ass toad he is.
I’m so happy that this post helped. You are loved, supported and understood beyond measure. I get it. I’ve been there.
You WILL get through this sis <3 You're not alone. xx
I remember the beginning of the end when my ex-boyfriend got a message from a girl, whose name was saved in his phone asking him if he was ok. He was working on the road thousands of miles away and I was visiting him, and we were using his phone as GPS. I was holding it. I remember the horrible gut feeling and I knew there and then he was lying and cheating. I was shocked, asked to see the history of conversation and of course he kept it all deleted. He made up a real BS story that his friend did not have his phone and borrowed it. Her name was saved. I knew he was lying and yet, I took a few moments and accepted it because I did not want to lose him. Well, he gave me the cold shoulder for the evening and most of the next day, made me feel horrible as if I had done something terribly wrong. I did not understand it then but now I do. It was the first lie that screamed in my face and that made me realize just how many more there were. Seems like he had been gaslighting me since a while. I love your blog. It is an eye opener for sure.
Hi Michelle! Thank you so much for sharing and for being a part of this tribe. I’m so happy that the blog has helped 🙂 xoxo
Natasha, I suffered the worst breakup of my life this January. We didn’t even see each other so long but felt so intese. My gut sensed deception but I liked him so and couldn’t believe he would lie to such degree (maybe it’s easier if it’s done with a French accent haha). Eventually he got caught and he kept telling me that the cat is barking not meowing (I plagerized your description) and I would feel like this crazy person.. I spent the next couple of months in a fog post breakup and it took all the way to sept to get over it. Reading your post always made me feel better and gave me courage. I could go on how amazing you are but I just wanted to thank you!
Hi Daniella (I love you name – so so beautiful)! Thank YOU so much – for your love, sisterhood, support and for being a part of this tribe. I’m honored to have helped 🙂 You are stronger, more beautiful, resilient and courageous than you even know. XOXO
I was hoping never writing a Comment again, but I am in this situation right now. Believed unbelievable excuses/ljes and even he was not the guy who would have punish me for having a reaction or to do what I ever wanted to do after I figured out what was going on… I stayed with him after 1 long talk, thinking this must be enough to heal my wound and to forgive. I tried over a month and went crazy like shit because I knew there was something else, something more, something I could not catch…
And now he broke up because I freaked out and even in this moment I couldn’t tell him the truth… I feel so horrible and worthless it’s like hell… I thought this time I could stand my ground… but I am so far far away from it.
Thanks for making a place where I can get back to every single time..
You can always come back here Joy and are forever a part of this tribe. xx
I have a question. Because this article and a few other are making me feel so terrible about myself.
My boyfriend broke up with me 5 days ago. We were together for 2 years and had a very happy, productive, trusting, healthy, relationship full of communication, problem solving, compromise, understanding, kindness, etc. I have no doubt in saying any of those things. He really did treat me exactly how I wanted to be treated. During this relationship I had a dear friend who liked me. I felt this friendship could be salvageable so we tried as friends to keep the friendship going with boundaries and trying to work around him having those feelings. I didn’t tell my boyfriend about this or that he liked me, not due to feeling scared about it, or me trying to hide it, etc. but literally just because I didn’t feel like it was that necessary of a detail/I felt like it was my own friendship to handle/that it was up to me to use my best judgment to navigate my life/etc.
So last week this friend drops something important off at my house. My boyfriend got in a mood and proceeded to get really drunk at my house while blasting music in his headphones and not wanting to talk to me. Finally at like 2 in the morning he asks me about my friend and I straight out tell him the whole thing that he has feelings for me but we’ve been just trying to be friends and it hasn’t been working out well so we are not going to be friends any more pretty soon because we’ve tried everything to maintain the friendship and it’s still not working out well. My boyfriend got so mad. Mad about the following things: that I never told him, that I kept him in the dark about this when we could’ve handled this together, that I let someone in my life that was disrespecting boundaries/him/our relationship, that he had to ask in order for me to tell him this, that I was trying to hide this thing, etc. And I completely agreed with him.
I said yes I agree, I’m so sorry that I never brought it up, that this made you mad, if i had known that this was very important for you to know then there’s no doubt I would’ve told you, now I know, I was not trying to hide it from you/keep you in the dark/be untrustworthy. I explained everything to him and let him know how well intentioned I was and that I really didn’t mean any harm with this and how very sorry I was for not telling him and that from that point on I would be sure to bring up anything he thinks is of importance. He was really drunk and was so angry he continually cussed me out and said really mean things during the argument. He was really hurt and I just let him say the things because he was upset and drunk and I just wanted to deescalate the ugly argument. He called for a break.
2 days later he came over so we could talk about it. He asked me pretty much the same questions again and I answered everything with the truth and that I honestly didn’t mean any harm by not bringing up the fact that this friend likes me earlier, it just really wasn’t a thing in my opinion and from that point on I now know and will never make this mistake again. However, he said no it’s over I no long trust you we are broken up. I was floored. He packed up his stuff and left without a 2nd thought about it. I tried everything in my power to help him see that this was just an honest mistake that I didn’t even know I was making and to please see that and think about this more. I begged. I pleaded. I cried. I stood between him and the door while he was trying to leave. I did everything that break up articles tell you not to do. I did all the pathetic things because I wanted to fight for our relationship and didn’t want our beautiful relationship to end over something as silly as this. And none of it worked.
His reasons for breaking up: he can’t be with someone who broke his trust, that he can no longer trust me or my judgment after this mistake, that I prioritized a friendship over my relationship, that he no longer has respect for me after this, that he feels he can no longer believe or trust what I do or don’t tell him from now on because he will always feel like I am omitting something, he shouldn’t have to tell me what I’m supposed to tell him etc.
I am shocked because: he never told me that this was a boundary/immediate disqualifier (btw I will break up with you immediately if you don’t tell me the backstory of every friend you have) (and also no I don’t think that just a “given”), he also never once asked about this friend even though he expressed during the break up that he was having jealous and unsure feelings of this friend during the relationship (so the whole 2 years he is trippin out about this person in my life and yet doesn’t bring it up due to “wanting to act cool” and not act jealous and because he trusted me. because if he had just asked about this friend at any point of our relationship I would’ve told him without hesitation what was going on, I would’ve had zero problem with that.), I just feel like this thing could’ve been worked through and was more like talk-about-and-make-a-solution-and-do-better-next-time-and-move-on sort of problem not immediate break-up problem (just due to the fact that I was never ill intentioned, trying to maliciously deceive or withhold information, and that I was willing to work and see my faults and down to fix anything he needed fixed).
However, reading this article and a few others on the wonderful site have got me thinking that I just self-sabatoged this shit out of myself and this amazing relationship and that this precious person has amputated me from his life without a second thought because I deceived him and he wouldn’t accept that treatment. Am I wrong for thinking that what I did wasn’t deceit? Was it deceit? Was it truly break up material? Was I truly the asshole who wasn’t being truthful and he wouldn’t stand for that?
Because gosh I just feel like I’m over here trying my best in life and in my relationships and trying to balance everything and I’m still falling short. And instead of understanding and acceptance for this one thing, I got the rug ripped out from under me. I like that he has such a clear boundary of what he will and won’t tolerate in a relationship, but I’m also just really shocked that he can dispose what we had and all that I am over one bad call on my part that I am so freaking sorry for.
I feel like he and I were playing a board game and I moved somewhere and he told me no sorry you lose you can’t move there and I’m like oh sorry I had no idea I would’ve never moved there if I had known that rule in the first place and he’s like no sorry you still lose you can’t take it back you should’ve know you couldn’t move there, and that’s it, game over.
It feels unfair, rash, and harsh, and I just hate to think I lost this relationship I worked so hard for over something such as this.
Natasha or anyone else that had the time and energy to spend on this problem of mine. Please. Just tell me. Did I deserve this? Did I truly deceive my boyfriend? Is he correct in leaving me so abruptly over this?
I think it’s harsh, but this article is saying it’s the correct thing to do to someone when they break your trust.
I realise your comment is about two years old, but I have just found this blog and I saw your comment and wanted to weigh in. The reason I found this blog in the first place is because my boyfriend and I are disagreeing over whether being purposefully deceitful by omitting information is lying or not. I say yes, he says no. You see, I am on the other side than you, as I was the one who was deceived. And I can tell you, it really hurts. He went to see a friend and I thought it was a little strange that he didn’t name the friend, as I know them all by name, but later that night I asked him if he had a nice time and which friend was it. He told me it was his friend’s wife and he didn’t mention that because he didn’t think it was important and because I tend to get jealous. I will admit, I do have issues which make a little unsure of the intentions of other women with my boyfriend if he hangs out with them. This is due to cheating and betrayal in my past from exes and has caused me a great deal of pain – something I have been working through for 6 years now. I told him he should have just been upfront and told me – yes, I would have felt uncomfortable, but I never would have said he couldn’t spend time with his friend. He could have reassured me instead of seeing deceit as the right choice to save himself from bother. I told him that it hurts to be deceived, that it is a form of lying when you purposefully omit information in order to deceive. He disagrees. He admits he should have been upfront and told me, but that he doesn’t see a problem really with what he did as he was just meeting a friend. It shouldn’t matter if it’s male or female. But he purposefully deceived me by intention. He admitted that at the start. So that’s the problem. He intentionally lied. And that is really painful. I feel like trust has been broken and he should never have done this in the first place. Just tell me the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable! Don’t word things in such a way that you can confidently tell me something and not feel like you’re doing anything wrong.
I cannot speak for your ex boyfriend. All I would say is that if you find yourself being the one who is deceived, it’s very hurtful. Some can forgive, but make it clear that this will never happen again or they will leave. Some see it as a red flag and will never give their trust back to someone who so easily destroys it. You have done what you’ve done and you’ve atoned for it. You can do no more. He has made his choice and you cannot force someone to stay with you. I’m sorry. This is a rotten situation and although I have been deceived (and hurt), I can understand your point of view. I would not do it myself, though I can see how easily it can be done. You can do no more than grieve for what you have lost and try, in some small way, to move on from it. You made a mistake. You are human, we all make mistakes. I hope that you are in a much better place now emotionally and you have recovered from this relationship. Xx