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Parallax - Advice

November 3, 2003

Decisive Factors

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In the long run, life is simply a series of decisions. So, one's ability to choose wisely is an important factor. It sounds easy, but when love enters the picture, what should be a simple decision often becomes an emotional nightmare...or an illogical mess. Fortunately, the lovestruck can turn to our gurus of happiness.

Catcher in the lie.
 Date: 11/03/03

Religious right?
 Date: 11/03/03

Holding out.
Over and out.
 Date: 11/03/03

More advice...

Catcher in the lie

Dear Conversely,

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I caught my boyfriend in a big lie. He said he was twenty and he's only eighteen. I'm twenty-two, so that explains a lot of his behavior and how immature he is about a lot of things. I care very much for him and we've been together enough that I thought I knew him, but now I don't know anymore. I asked him why he lied and he said to impress me so that I would consider going with him. That's cute, in a way, so I also feel confused about it. Is this something I need to worry about? I don't know what to do. I feel I should punish him, but not so much that I ruin the relationship.

Her view:

Dear Miss Mature,

Lying is not the best pattern, but this particular lie is not the end of the world. Remember, he lied to get the first date and frankly he would not have gotten it had he told the truth, so you can see his position. It is not like he cheated or did something harmful to you, once in the relationship. He just made himself eligible for that first date before he even knew you. I would cut him some slack.

However, do you want to be dating someone four years your junior? You will have different maturity levels and phases to go through. An eighteen-year-old male is a very young eighteen. You may not want to deal with the nonsense that surrounds the eighteen-year-old male. And there will be no shortage of nonsense.

The bigger question you need to think about is whether you do, in fact, want to be dating your eighteen-year-old.

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His view:

Dear Miss Mature,

Although his rationale for lying is flattering, and although his age may go some way toward explaining his insecurity, it remains a pretty nice, fat lie.

Now, is it a horrendous, relationship-killing lie? Probably not. From his point of view, the lie was a calculated gamble. If you stay with him, it will have paid off. From your viewpoint, you should ask yourself whether the lie was necessary. Honestly, would you have dated an eighteen-year-old? If the answer is no (and if your hesitation has been proven wrong), then perhaps you, too, have learned from his lie.

How much does he regret the lie? You may suspect that he has lied about other things. Give him a chance to come clean all around. If he regrets the lie and wants to preserve the relationship, he will be honest and fess up. Make it clear, however, that this is his one-and-only amnesty.

From now on, it's zero tolerance.

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