I hate lying. Well, more specifically, I hate being lied to. I hate it when lies affect my life. I hesitate to choose one particular form of lying over another as my most abhorred, but if I were forced to pick I would probably say The Lie of Omission.
One of the biggest fights KC and I got into before we broke up was an epic battle over him wanting to hang out with his ex girlfriend. I actually wrote a sulky, emo post about it at the time. Ugh. Makes me queasy just rereading it. I remember how hurt and upset I was, and also how confused and embarrassed I felt because I just couldn't figure out WHY I had such a huge problem with it. KC was discussing it with me before he hung out with her, so what the hell was my deal? Like most of my emotional issues, I assumed it had something to do with my Crazy Ex. After you're with someone like that train wreck into crazytown, I think it can be particularly difficult to distinguish what are actual Valid Concerns and what is related to having PTSD from dating an emotionally abusive sociopath.
I was uncomfortable with the idea of KC spending time with his ex girlfriend. I tried to talk to him about it, and he got angry and accused me of not trusting him. Then he revealed that while she was in town, his ex girlfriend and had an "extra ticket" to a show on Saturday night and wanted him to go with her. And, by the way, he had been talking to her on the phone regularly and hadn't told me because he knew it was upset me.
And then I was like woah woah pump yo brakes, dude. Because THAT RIGHT THERE is exactly why I HATE HATE HATE The Lie of Omission. He didn't bring up the fact that he was doing something that would upset me because... he knew it would upset me. Here I was, puttering along, thinking we had an open, honest relationship, and KC was actively keeping something from me-- something that he thought would upset me. Whether or not the thing being kept from me WOULD HAVE upset me becomes irrelevant at this point, because I will always always ALWAYS be seventy six GABILLION more times upset when I discover that I was lied to about something and then found out the truth later.
KC's response? "Well, you never asked."
Which brings me to my point, four hundred words in: The Lie of Omission is a sneaky, manipulative lie.
The Lie of Omission turns the tables and makes you feel like it was somehow YOUR fault for not asking the SPECIFIC QUESTION that would bring it to light. The burden of truth is shifted to the LIEE instead of the LIAR. Apparently it was MY responsibility to ASK KC, "Hey, any chance you've been chatting with your ex girlfriend recently?" I CALL SHENANIGANS.
I'm going to be thirty this year, and it has taken me THIS LONG to pinpoint exactly what bothers me about The Lie of Omission. And yet I have been omission lied to for so many BIG DEALS, that now I have a categorically insane list of questions I feel like I have to ask any guy I date:
Are you married?
Have you ever been married?
Do you have a girlfriend?
Do you have a job?
Are you homeless?
Do you have any kids?
Is there a lady out there currently pregnant with your child?
Most guys look at me pretty strangely when I come out straight out gate with that litany of queries. But trust me, it wouldn't be on my list IF IT HAD NOT HAPPENED.
I dated my Crazy Ex for a FULL MONTH before he told me he had a two year old child. I didn't find out that he was married (and cheating on his wife) when we first met until after we broke up (and they were divorced).
I had another dude tell me he didn't have any kids, and two weeks later I found out that he had a pregnant ex girlfriend.
His excuse? "Well, you didn't ask."
And this past weekend, apparently I made another grievous error. I went out to a club with my lovely lady friends, we ended up joining in with some gentlemen there for a dude's bachelor party. There was one guy in particular who spent the entire evening flirting with me, dancing with me, and generally being rather touchy-feely. At the end of the night, he said "Yeah, sorry you got the wrong impression, but I'm engaged." Not sorry IF you got the wrong impression, sorry YOU GOT the wrong impression. Burden of truth: SHIFTED TO ME. Silly little woman, you thought the dude trying to rub his body all over you was available? Tsk tsk.
I told the dude "Hey, if you're engaged, you might not want to grind up on girls at the club. Just an idea [sarcastic jazz hands]. Also, I feel kind of sorry for your fiance." And then I tossed my hair and got the hell out of there before I burst into furious tears. I felt embarrassed and angry and like I had made a huge error in judgment. But then my friends assured me that, no, our flirtation WAS NOT all in my head. I had witnesses to the fact that he had been CLEARLY pursuing me and chatting me up. AND, I remembered later, when the DJ said "All the single people put ya hands up!" HE PUT HIS HANDS UP.
But his douchey "Sorry you got the wrong impression" comment had made me feel like it was somehow MY FAULT that I didn't know he was engaged. Because The Lie of Omission is sneaky and manipulative.
Are you engaged? has now been added to my list of questions. Because I don't care how ridiculous I'm going to appear as long as it means that I have some defense against The Lie of Omission. There won't be another "Well, you didn't ask" situation if I can help it. So help me, I WILL ASK.
Because the best defense against manipulative douchebaggery? Being one step ahead of the douchebags.