I briefly dated a guy who I can only assume is a pathological liar. I’m not in the business of diagnosing anyone clinically, but based on the fact that he was lying about everything he ever told me, I think I’m on the right track. It was a nightmare experience, but at least I learned a few things from it.
- My instincts are good. This one is probably worth mentioning twice. For some reason, I immediately got the feeling that he was crazy or that something wasn’t quite right when we met, even though I had no actual reason to think that. He’s cute, smart, funny, very successful in his field, and popular with people who I wouldn’t think would hang out with a crazy person, and yet… I obviously gave it a go anyway, and while I still don’t understand the motivation for his lies, I know he was doing it at pretty alarming rates, and not even about crap that mattered.
- There’s no use trying to dissect the behavior of a crazy person. There are about 300 examples of pointless lies he told in a very short amount of time, and it was puzzling to say the least. He made up strange stories like trying to say that the grocery stores were out of apples. Like, all of the grocery stores. No more apples. He also tried to say that we had conversations that we had never had, which really veered into hardcore manipulation territory (not that I believed him). If you’re already wondering why I kept talking to this guy, I should note that he would show up without warning and I had to ask him to leave on multiple occasions. The whole thing was so mind-boggling that it maybe took me longer than normal to process wtf I was actually observing. Insert me standing there with my jaw on the floor.
- You seriously can’t change people. I already knew this, of course, but this experience really drove the point home. I tried to point out his lies when they first started coming and explain that he didn’t need to be dishonest, because I knew he was lying and it was pointless. I’m extremely reasonable when things are straightforward, but then he just lied more. I’ll never understand why, and I don’t really need to. And as bizarre as it feels to be treated that way, it’s not personal. That’s another obvious point but it’s good to keep in mind all the time: people are generally acting and reacting based on their own issues, not yours.
- It’s pretty easy to end a relationship with a pathological liar. One of my middle school best friends was a pathological liar, so I consider myself reasonably seasoned in this regard. I don’t know how it always works, but my experience is that although liars will lie to your face when you confront them about their BS, they may also slink away at some point because they know you know they’re lying. This makes breakups pretty simple. He tossed out another highly empty and manically random promise, I stared at him with my incredulous “Seriously, WTF?” face, and we haven’t spoken since.
- If something feels off, it usually is. I don’t consider myself the suspicious type, but when I’ve felt like something’s off with someone or something, I’ve been right. No one should be lying to me, nor should they be omitting information in a way that’s not technically a lie but just feels shady. What’s really strange about knowing a pathological liar is that other people might not see or experience their lies, which makes the whole thing way more confusing. It can be hard to explain in the moment if people aren’t getting the same vibes from them that you are. At the very beginning, I even questioned if I was just looking for trouble. But no, my lie radar was just really on point from before the lies even started coming. Is it possible that other people don’t have strong lie radars? I have no idea, but what I do know for sure is that if something feels off, it usually is, and I certainly don’t have to stick around long to find out what it is.