Lying is a slippery slope. We all do it sometimes, but it’s never advisable, and it hurts much more than it heals. It takes away the trust between people, and it takes a lot of time to rebuild a relationship when your partner feels broken by the lies. It can damage any type of relationship, whether it’s a friendship or a romance, and things may seem like they can never get back on track. Depending on the scenario, it might be that the friendship or romance is broken for good. However, with an open mind and heart, you can start to work towards regaining the trust and try to move past the lies.
It can be hard to know how to fix a relationship after lying, because the trust between two people has been taken away so suddenly. If you have lied to someone, or they’ve lied to you, there are some steps to take to fix it. They are of course, very different approaches. A liar must repent to receive acceptance, and the one who had been lied to must heal to be able to give acceptance back. Here are the steps you should take in either scenario.
How to fix a relationship after lying: if you were the liar
- Find a way to lay the blame on who deserves it
You lied to someone, and the first step is acceptance of that. You can’t move on until you acknowledge to yourself that you have done something wrong. Our instinct as people is always to try and put the blame on someone else, but if you want to know how to fix a relationship after lying, the first step always has to be taking some responsibility.
Rather than making excuses, remind yourself what happened and take ownership of your mistake. You know that in the long run, it’s the only way to save your reputation. But this part isn’t about apologising and speaking to other people about it. You need to be at peace with yourself before making peace with the people you have hurt. Otherwise, you’ll remain defensive the whole time, and that isn’t progress. The only way to move forwards is by taking time to yourself to figure out what to do. Plan how to step forward and claim your mistake. It might be humiliating, but it is what you have to do whether you like it or not.
2. Apologise, and mean it
If you feel no remorse for what you did, you’re probably not ready to apologise properly. If you haven’t completed step one, then you will also struggle to make a genuine apology. In your heart, you know you’re still angry and bitter at the other person’s reaction, even if you don’t have the right to be. That’s why you have to be mentally prepared before you make an apology.
There’s no way you can help move past a lie if you’re still not being honest. If you have lied to someone for whatever reason, they deserve to receive a meaningful apology, and you need to tell them the way things are in good time. Let them know that you’re sorry for whatever you lied about, and promise never to do it again. Say it with feeling and meaning, or you will come across as insincere, which takes you back yet another step. They might not trust you at first, and to rebuild your love, you need to be open to that. You’re the one who left your partner broken with your lies, so the hard work should be on your shoulders. You need to commit to doing anything to make things right again, even if it’s difficult for you. If you’re not willing to do that, then your apology isn’t heartfelt enough. You might not be suited to the relationship you’re in and you might need to move on from this mess.
However, don’t make an empty promise. Apologising and not meaning it isn’t helpful to anyone. It causes people to stay in a relationship that is still broken by a person’s actions. That’s unfair to your partner, and also to yourself. If you say you’ll never do something again, you have to be willing to keep to your word. That’s the only way to regain someone’s trust completely. A new start may be best for everyone, so tell your partner to move forwards in their own time. Their decision will make or break you, so if you don’t come across as sincere, it could easily be game over for the pair of you.
3. Be completely honest
Whatever it was you lied about, make sure you’re honest about it. Reveal the whole truth to the person you lied to, so that they can assess how they want to react. Don’t hold back to save your own skin – be truthful about what went down. It doesn’t help to add another lie to the mix. If you keep things from them, it only makes you look worse when the truth eventually comes out. You have already caused damage, so it’s better to get it all out of your system so you can begin to heal the wounds you caused. You need to be open to fix what’s broken, so try your best to take on a fresh mindset.
If you lied to protect someone, the situation might be a little different. You will be aware that you had reasoning behind your actions, and though you should never use this as an excuse or a safety blanket, it might help people understand why you did the things you did. That’s why honesty is so important – if you give everyone the full picture, you allow them to make their own judgements rather than imposing your opinion of the matter on them. Once you have said your piece, step back and allow time for your words to sink in. Wait for them to reach out to you instead of prompting them to come to a decision. This is their time, not yours, and you have to respect them to make up for all the times you disrespected them.
4. Allow the person you lied to time to forgive
Depending on the strength of the lie, it can take someone a long time to forgive you. A lie can cut deeper than you intend, and though you can’t control how much your lies effect what comes after, you have to realise that this was your own doing. If you hurt someone, saying you are sorry is not always good enough. That’s why you need to approach with caution and wait with ultimate patience. This is not about your feelings – it’s about theirs. When you lied, you let go of your right to be offended if someone doesn’t take your apology.
You owe them that time to assess their feelings – you hurt them, and they don’t owe you anything back. Depending on the person, they might be willing to forgive you right away, or they might make you wait for their answer. Either way, just be happy if they do forgive you. If you are deserving of their forgiveness, you will get it in time. When the time comes, be prepared to rebuild what you destroyed, or risk the trust slipping away from you yet again. The hard work is never over when you receive forgiveness – it’s how you act afterwards that matters the most. You must be prepared to be a better person in order to gain what you lost due to your previous actions.
5. If you are forgiven, don’t take it for granted
Make sure you learn from your mistakes. Don’t allow your past to catch up with you again and lead you astray. Thank the person for forgiving you, and then make sure you don’t do anything to hurt them again. Tell them how much it means to you that they gave you a new start – they didn’t have to take pity, so cherish their forgiving nature moving forwards.
How to fix a relationship after lying: if someone lied to you
- Accept that you’ve been lied to
Before you even consider speaking to the person who lied to you, be aware that they did something to you that hurt you. It’s hard to know how to fix a relationship after lying, but remember, it’s down to them to fix things between you. All you have to do is come to terms with what happened in preparation. You may not feel like reliving the incident, but it does help. It allows your brain to process how you feel about it all. Getting all the anger and upset out of the way clears your mind and shows you what you feel under the mask of emotions. That way, you’ll always know your own mind better once you come out the other side, and you can decide if learning how to fix a relationship after lying is worth it.
2. Listen to their apology
If a person is trying to repent for their mistakes, you should always lend an ear to them, no matter how much they hurt you. A person who comes ready with an apology and gets through it without being cruel or defensive is usually genuine. You can decide from there how you want to react to it all.
Listening to their apology is the bigger thing to do, but it doesn’t mean you have to forgive them, but it can help you decide if they deserve forgiveness. You don’t have to rush into anything, and hearing someone talk about how they acted at least will give you a sense of how genuine they are, preventing you from making the wrong decision.
3. Talk about how their betrayal made you feel
When a person has strayed far from the path, a little touch of humanity can bring them to their senses. Talk about how they made you feel so that they can see the damage they caused you. They should have to relive the pain too – especially as it is humiliating for them to be called out. Don’t feel guilty about roping them in to your troubles. They caused it and they should have to feel a part of it too. If you don’t feel like doing this, then just expressing yourself honestly helps too. Either way, it gives you strength in the situation and takes power away from the person who lied to you.
Voicing your fears may make you feel vulnerable and upset, but it’s been hard enough already, so you can allow your walls to come down for a while. Allow yourself to be emotional if you have to, and let out those tears that you’ve been holding on. It might even encourage your friend or partner to do the same so that you can get everything out in the open. Once you’ve done this, it makes it much easier to move on and find happiness, one way or another.
4. Take your time in deciding how to react
Don’t let anger cloud your judgement. You don’t want to make any rash decisions you might regret further down the line. You don’t have to come to a conclusion right away, and don’t worry about keeping the other person in suspense. They don’t deserve your sympathy, even if you decide to forgive them. They don’t need to be babied and made to feel better. They need to understand that actions have consequences. Do everything in your own time, because you’re the person that matters the most here.
Think of the pain they caused, and then question whether it’s worth salvaging your relationship. The power is in your hands, and it should be your decision alone, but remember, there was something strong between you once before. You will know your feelings for them inside out, and you understand the reasoning behind any decision you decide to make. If it’s worth saving, you won’t have any doubts about what you choose to do next, and after your decision is made, you can start to rebuild the love lost between the pair of you.
5. Forgive, but don’t forget
You have learned how to fix a relationship after lying takes place, but it’s important to know what steps to take next. Don’t allow suspicion to take over your life, but always be wary of those who have wronged you in the past. Many liars relapse into old ways, so be on the look out for behaviour that suggests someone might be lying to you again. You don’t have to always treat them as a liar, but always be aware that someone who hurts you might take advantage of your good nature. Put your happiness first and stick to that philosophy for as long as you’re learning how to fix a relationship after lying.