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Can a Relationship Recover from a Lie?

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From a young woman in France: I have been with my boyfriend in a long distant relationship for a year and half, we met through a dating app. We were aware that we dated other people in the past. In the beginning of the relationship, he wanted to know more details, such as the number of guys I hooked up with. I was ashamed of myself and scared of the judgement, plus I really had bad memories of this period of my life. I wanted to forget everything for myself and couldn’t bring myself to admit that some bad things happened to me… So I told him half of the real number, I told him I only slept with 3 guys during this period. The truth is I actually slept with 7 guys but most of them were one night stands that I don’t even remember clearly, and some of them left me with trauma.

Anyway, he found out yesterday, 2 years after all of this happened. Everything was going well in the relationship and we even promised ourselves to move in together in the next years… But since he found out, he said that I broke his trust and that I shouldn’t have lied to him for the whole relationship… I understand that he’s in shock but no matter how many time I apologized and explained why I hid this past that I didn’t want to remember,

he kept accusing me of being a liar and that I played with his feelings all along. He said he doesn’t have reasons to believe in anything I say now and he thinks that I am lying about wanting to have a future with him. I never lied about anything else during our relationship, and the second we met in real then got together, I never went back to my past life and never did things behind his back. What should I do ? I really love him and hope he would understand my situation as well…

Can a Relationship Recover from a Lie?

Answered by on -


I think you should take a huge step back from this relationship. There is a difference between privacy and lying. You disclosed that you had been in relationships before him. The exact number of prior relationships should not be an issue. It is especially concerning to me that he is making such a big deal about a detail like this when you’ve explained your reasoning for telling less than the whole truth. Instead of responding with compassion and understanding, he’s coming at you with anger and accusations. This is not a good sign. I worry that he will hold this over you forever. I worry that he is looking for reasons to be angry and controlling.

You say you’ve been in a long distance relationship. You didn’t indicate how often and for how long you’ve actually been with this guy in person. If you haven’t been, I think you need to have some of that time to get a better sense of who he is and whether he is for you.

You deserve better than this.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Can a Relationship Recover from a Lie?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). Can a Relationship Recover from a Lie?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 23 Jun 2020 (Originally: 25 Jun 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 23 Jun 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.