I Lied About Drug Use…How Can I Repair the Damage?

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Reader’s Question

I lied about drug use to my fiancee and overall lover of 7 months. I gave her a ring and then shortly after relapsed using cocaine. I’m clean of it for 10 months. I’m entering day rehab, but she feels that our entire relationship is a lie and no matter what I say now it’s a lie and she wants to leave me. How can I change her mind? Now all we talk about is this and it’s wearing her down and keeping me on defense.

Psychologist’s Reply

There are probably levels of lies in a relationship — some cause hard feelings (e.g., contacts with ex sweethearts), some cause arguments, and some jeopardize the entire relationship. A lie about drug use is very severe because drug use can and typically does destroy everything in a new or old relationship. From her standpoint, the entire relationship was a lie because you allowed her to believe the lie during the entire 7 months of the relationship.

You have lost your credibility with her. As you now realize, this is a make-or-break point in the relationship. She must protect herself and her future. She will talk about this constantly as her security and foundation in the relationship has been destroyed. The fact that she’s talking about it tells you she’s still exploring what to do, otherwise she would have already been gone. Your only hope is to be perfectly honest, ask what you need to do to make her feel safe, and work through this difficult passage as a couple. A relationship is an investment of our time, our heart, and our future. Drug use of any kind makes a relationship high-risk and she is appropriately concerned. In an odd manner, if she wasn’t concerned, that would make her high-risk due to her inability to see the long-range implications of illegal drug use.

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