The Importance of Honesty In A Relationship: 16 Lies People Tell

the importance of being honest in a relationship

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

There are many things that need to happen to make a relationship work in a healthy and happy way. Among these things is honesty from both partners. The importance of honesty in a relationship cannot be expressed enough. Without it, no other elements can truly work. Think about it. You can laugh together, have great sex, find each other interesting, be on the same page, and like each other. But without honesty, forget it. It will never work.

Dishonesty in a relationship bothers me so much. Let’s start with an example. Let’s say a person isn’t happy in a relationship and wants out. Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of him or her saying, “I just don’t know what I want right now,” they would say what they really mean, which is probably, “I really like you but I want to see if there is someone else I might like better.” Or, how about the girl who tells a guy, “I’m getting back together with my boyfriend” instead of just saying, “I really like you but I don’t see a future with you.”


The downside to not being truthful is that you are holding yourself back, AND you are holding back the other person, who in this example might say to himself, “She’s getting back with her boyfriend? Okay then. I’ll just wait until she breaks up with the guy again.”



Again, I cannot tell you how key the importance of honesty in a relationship is in being happy.

Here are 16 dishonest things people say in relationships, and what I WISH the person would say instead.


1. I just don’t want a girlfriend right now.

Honest version: I don’t want YOU to be my girlfriend. Ever.


2. I’m sort of seeing someone right now.

Honest version: You’re not worth me risking what I have right now with my current girlfriend, even though I’m not sure she’s the one.


3. It’s not you, it’s me.

Honest version: It’s you.


4. I want to date other people.

Honest version: I want to see if I can meet someone I like better because I’m not sure about this relationship, but I don’t want to risk losing you.


5. I just want to have fun.

Honest version: I don’t want to be exclusive because I’m not sure you are the one yet.


6. This really isn’t working out.

Honest version: I’m breaking up with you.




7. You’re a great guy. I don’t deserve you.

Honest version: I don’t want to be with you anymore.


8. What are you doing right now? (over the phone)

Honest version: Want me to come over and have sex with you?


9. I don’t like myself right now.

Honest version:  Maybe I don’t like myself right now, but I do know that I don’t want to see you anymore.


10. You’re going to make some guy really, really happy.

Honest version: You’re not making me happy.


11. I don’t want to fight anymore.

Honest version: I wish we could go back to the first 6 months of our relationship when we were on our best behavior, because we both know this is going downhill fast.


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12. Sorry I haven’t called. I’ve been so busy with work.

Honest version:  I met someone else and dated her for a couple weeks and it just ended. OR, I wasn’t really into you and then I changed my mind.


13. I’m just happy with the way things are.

Honest version:  I don’t want to marry you.


14. I’m going out of town. I’ll call you when I get back.

Honest version: I’m not into you, because if I was, it doesn’t matter where I am. I’d call or even text or email or snapchat. This is 2019.


15. I don’t have time for a relationship right now.

Honest version:  I don’t want to be in a relationship with you.


16. I’m really confused. I don’t know what I want.

Honest version: I pretty sure I don’t want to be with you.


Here’s the thing.  Some of the truths might really really hurt. They might break your heart. They might make you cry. But wouldn’t you rather know the truth than cling onto hope that the person might change their mind in a few days or weeks? That is the reason why it’s so important to be honest with people. They deserve it! Hearing the truth, despite the pain it causes, helps people move on.

So next time someone asks you out and you aren’t interested, don’t say “I have a boyfriend,” instead try something like, “I really like you, it’s nothing personal, but I just don’t have those feelings for you. I’m sorry. I hope you’re not offended.” See what happens.

Being honest in any relationship will make you feel so much better about yourself. Try it!

Like this article? Check out, “Dating After Divorce: Advice, Tips and Why This is an Exciting Time”


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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

6 Responses to “The Importance of Honesty In A Relationship: 16 Lies People Tell”

  1. Carol Balawyder

    This is a terrific post.

    I recently dated a guy (one date) who after the date wrote me that he had a great time and hoped that we would do it again. I wrote back and said that I didn’t feel the connection I’m looking for and wished him luck. He wrote back saying that he felt the same way.
    I don’t know if he said that to make me feel better or what???

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I think it’s really nice that you had the guts to just be honest with him. If you would have gotten his response first, would you have felt really badly about it? probably not. I”m telling you, honesty is the way to go. Why do we need silly teenage games? We don’t. Just because you didn’t feel a connection, that doesn’t mean the guy is a bad guy, right? It just means he isn’t right for you. It’s hard not to take that stuff personally, but this is what dating is all about.

  2. Autumn

    He only said that because he probably felt rejected. The fact of the matter is you were very honest (which is great) and he wanted to make you think he felt the same way so it didn’t look like his feelings were hurt.

  3. Di

    Well… yes and no. I’ve said many of those things and MEANT exactly those words and nothing else. Part of the problem with this list is that it assumes the person is ultimately looking to marry/commit to someone and that they beat around the bush a lot. What if they aren’t/don’t?

    I’ve been nothing but completely honest post divorce with men – when my head was completely unscrewed from the raw pain and suffering still, I told them. “I can’t possibly know what I want right now.” And I couldn’t. No decision or deep connection to other people was remotely possible. It had no bearing on who the person was or how dateable they were.

    I’ve said “I’m sorry I haven’t called, I’ve been caught up at work” and it has been 100% true. One thing I have learned is that I have to throw myself into my current career direction or I will be running out of time. That means I work a lot, time flies, and dating takes a back burner.

    “I just want to have fun”. I have said this while having no interest in seeing other people, I just wanted to keep things light. I had no reason to see ANYONE and I like being solitary, so the only reason at the time for me to make the effort was if it was fun and not a burden.

    “I like things the way they are”. I do. I tell anyone I date that I am never going to marry again, ever, ever. I am happy alone and the only way I will date anyone is if I get to live in my own house and we visit. That will never change, and it’s not because I’m holding out for ‘the real thing’. This is the way the real thing is for me. I have found the way of life that makes me really happy and it requires not living intimately with someone else.

    I’ve had men assume I’ve meant all those other things other than what I was actually saying, which is intensely frustrating. There’s the assumption that when I say “We aren’t going to marry, I can’t live that way” that I am saying I am holding out for some other man. I’m not. I’m holding out for me and me alone, and I know what I want. A shame when it’s so hard for people to believe the things I say.


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