The key question here is whether you can build a relationship in any meaningful sense on a bed of lies.
I would say just one lie but the fact is I had this one central lie, a sun, and then a swarm of little lies orbiting it – see what i did there, classic analogy.
I was off working on a non-existent app and pretending it was going well and explaining my absences with a series of smaller untruths, and then covering my tracks with smaller truths again. For example if you’re out at a coffee shop, drinking coffee and reading a book but you said you were in an office with a colleague you have to explain:
- why you cannot fall asleep
- why you managed to read a book so fast when you’d only started it two days ago
- why you don’t have any cash the next morning
- what you ate for dinner.
These lies are no less serious than the main lie, and create a fabric of dishonesty on which your relationship is based. This fundamentally means that the two of you are not in the same relationship. The lies, and the dishonesty, are driving you apart much faster than they can ever hold or bring you together
You can no longer be you, you can no longer be genuinely you, and that takes a moral toll.
There’s an example which I think illustrates this well. I was having dinner with Claire’s parents and she mentioned I was working on this app with a guy names Eric and her mum asked me what the app was for and because I was becoming so accustomed to lying about things I blurted out, before I could stop myself, that it was a dating app.
Then I doubled down.
It was a dating app, I explained, inspired by me and Claire. It was about chance encounters. It was different to other apps since it didn’t preview people or allow them to chat. Rather it allowed people to profile themselves and then took that data, with their location, and tried to arrange a chance meet up for them.
“We’ll get them in the room,” I explained, “we’ll even tell them their match is there, but the rest is up to them. We don’t want to replace romance, we want to enhance it.”
To say that she loved the idea is an understatement. As did Claire. And her dad. They literally called me a genius, which was kind but as you can appreciate, it’s one thing to come up with an idea for an app another to make one that works.
An app that stops you embarrassing yourself in public.
An app that takes your internet search history and books you the perfect holiday.
An app that takes your stupid lies and makes them a reality.
One little slip up and my fate was sealed. I even came up with a name.
Now my lies had an extreme level of detail.