Little White Lies

Are white lies okay in a relationship?

First, lets define ‘white lie’ – it’s the opposite of a black lie and lacks evil intent

  1. a lie with good intentions
  2. a harmless or trivial lie (especially one told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings)
  3. an unimportant lie (especially one told to be tactful or polite)
  4. It was not meant to cause any deliberate harm


  • You don’t look fat in those jeans
  • I’d love to go to lunch today but have too much work to do.
  • The birthday cake you made for me was fantastic
  • I’ll start working on that email ASAP

A white lie is told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

It’s the easy way out, stretching the truth. White lies make life more pleasant and the world a better place.

However, when it comes to relationships, white lies are a touchy topic.Interestingly, in my open relationship, we didn’t tell white lies, as opposed to my closed relationships where white lies were a lot more common.

Here is why I think that is. In an open relationship, trust is paramount, Trust is the binding agent that holds the relationship together, even more so than in a monogamous relationship.

When you go into an open relationship, you establish rules. My partner and I agreed that sex wasn’t the big issue. Our friendship was. Our friendship and companionship is what allowed our relationship to grow and us to bond together more. We needed trust to do that. I trusted that if he went out and slept with someone else, it wasn’t going to change his love for me.

He trusted that when I went out and saw clients, I was going to come back home to him and things were going to be like they were. I wasn’t going to fall in love with someone else, I wasn’t going to want to spend more time with someone else.

In my open relationship: if I said I was going to go out for coffee with a girlfriend I meant it.

(instead of meeting an old guy friend from college which I would have said in my closed relationship)

If he said he was going to Florida to go fishing for his friends bachelor party I believed him (because I knew he was, instead of really going to spend the weekend in the strip clubs in Miami)

Most importantly – we trusted that when we had problems with the relationship or with each other we would talk about it.

When you tell white lies, it starts to chip away at the belief that you’re always telling the truth.

So what does that mean for your relationship? To me, that means a lie is a lie. Little or big, a lie remains a lie. If you want to get closer to your partner, be honest with them. Regardless if that’s going to hurt them. It took me a lot of pain to get to that understanding (and it gave my partner a lot of grief too), because the biggest part of my life had been a lie for so long.

What do you do for a living? – asked the taxi driver, or barista, or my moms best friend, or my niece, or my neighbor, or landlord…you get the idea

What is your real name? – asked the client who already sent me 30 emails last week before our first appointment.

Clients pay for an image, they pay to see that pretty girl in the ad who is in makeup and nice lingerie describing her insatiable love for multiple orgasms every single day. Even my escort image wasn’t the true portrayal of me. Eventually everything I did felt like a lie – a white one.

When it came time I wanted to form a more meaningful relationship with someone, I wasn’t able to switch that white lie off as easily. It took a lot of patience, of delving into my own reasons for those little white lies and I came to the conclusion it was best to just not lie at all. Because one little white lie, although it may truly be harmless will turn into another white lie. And then another. And the boundaries of those white lies start to expand and stretch. For me and my past history of white lies, the boundary stretched far. So I realized it was better for me not to white lie at all.

Does that mean I’m perfect and honest all the time? Heck no! I still slip up. I still tell white lies. But I try to use better judgment with how and what I tell them to.

Whatever stance you take with white lies, whether they’re okay, or not, just make sure you check in with yourself every now and then. Ask yourself, if my partner or friend told me the same thing, would I feel okay about that? Your answer better not be, “Well they would tell me a white lie without thinking about how I feel, so I’m going to do it anyway.” Because when you do that, you’re really just cheating yourself. Once I decided to stop cheating myself, and did what was best for me, my life became more fulfilling and peaceful.


(Image Credit: abluecup iStock.)


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