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Parallax - Advice            April 3, 2000

    Liars, Beggars and Cheaters

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This week, Conversely's she-he advice duo deals with men who cheat, lie, beg, badger and show little tolerance for pets. You might think she'd be raising her nose in disgust as he cheered from the stands...but that would be too simple. They also manage to examine, with a great deal of civility: the women who must invariably suffer these men, the multiple colors of a rose, and the true significance of "significant other."

Boyfriend is a born-again liar.
Should she take the highroad or hunker down and help him out?
 Date: 04/03/00

Dream-lady's cat throws him into asthma fits.
Simple case of allergy medication, or woman-cat-man love triangle?
 Date: 04/03/00

Is there a simple rule about which color rose for what occasion?
Or is a rose is a rose is a rose?
 Date: 04/03/00

He keeps calling and calling, he just doesn't get it...
Should she let him down easy or yank out the plug?
 Date: 04/03/00

Correspondent questions the social value of "significant other."
Anarchist, revisionist, or clueless?
 Date: 04/03/00

Boyfriend is a born-again liar

Dear Conversely,

Email to a Friend My boyfriend has a not-so-little problem. He is a born-again liar. He lies about everything to everyone, he can't control it and he doesn't know how to stop. He's told half the world we're getting married and the other half that he doesn't think we'll last another month. He calls me at work to say he can't see me the weekend because he's going on a business trip to Europe, then he calls and invites me to come, then at the last minute calls again and says the trip was canceled. The latest he told me he and his mother were not talking to each other because she didn't want him dating me, then he said it really was his dad who didn't like me, then he retracted the whole thing and said they did like me but he'd fought with them over his inheritance and didn't want to see them for some time.

This has all gone from surprising to amusing to disturbing and downright annoying. I won't say he's flawless outside of that, but I am very fond of him and we have very similar tastes and interests...or so I believe. Every time I try to talk about it, he seems genuinely surprised, as if I was making it up. And I almost fall for that too. I'm frustrated.

Her view:

Dear Frustrated,

Walk away. Just reading your letter is irritating. If you think this is a serious relationship, you are sorely mistaken. This guy is playing with you like he plays with everyone.

Take the highroad and go: I see only one option which is to leave - mistakes in relationships are expected, lying is totally unacceptable. Tell him you really aren't up for the shenanigans and have no time for his nonsense.

Go out with someone who cares about you enough to be honest with you. This is the bare minimum to ask. Cute idiosyncrasies like his lying usually endure the passage of time, so it won't go away just like that. It will keep coming back in one form or another...and meanwhile you'll get more attached to him...why give yourself the heartache? It's insulting and degrading. I'm furious for you! He may be fun but is it really worth the hour of analysis after every conversation, trying to pick out the parts that are true? I'm guessing no - he just can't be that riveting and this is certainly no basis for a relationship.

If you're using him for sex, then fine, keep it to that. If it's anything more than that, you're just setting yourself up for torture, so cut out the masochism and go out with somebody normal.

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His view:

Dear Frustrated,

Two things. If he only lies about you, or about things that affect you (e.g., a trip to Europe, his parents, marriage), then I think he might not be as insane as he seems. Also, you call him a "born-again" liar - why? If he started the lying with you there could be a simple reason for his not-so-little problem.

Perhaps you can make some polite inquiries. Speak to prior girlfriends, or friends of his that you know reasonably well. Find out if it's just you, or if there's a healthier pattern of mendacity. Either way, I believe you can help him out.

If his lies are directed only at you, my guess is he's trying to end the relationship. Why not help him finish off that task? (Though, on the other hand, this could be some newfangled method to bring the two of you closer - if so, please let me know if it ends up working, I might try it).

If it's lies lies lies about everyone and everything, it all comes down to the inheritance. If this is real and substantial, then maybe you should suppress your doubts and dedicate yourself to him. Rich demented people need assistance and this could be your golden opportunity to help.

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