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True story! About 25 years ago, a close friend was really excited to tell me all about the new love interest in their life. The friend had not been very lucky in love up to this point, and so it was wonderful to see her so radiant and happy.

Keen to learn more, I asked how they’d met and she was eager to tell the tale.

She explained how she had recently moved into the flat next door to this guy and for a few weeks they had simply exchanged pleasantries. Secretly, She liked the look of him, she found him quite attractive, but she wasn’t sure whether he was in a relationship or not, so smiles and hello’s was all it was.

Then one evening, unexpectedly he knocked on her door and asked the curious question “Can I borrow your leg?” 

She admits to being thrown by the strange request, but he smiled and went on to explain. He wasn’t sure if the lights on his car were working properly, or if indeed at all and so he was asking my friend if she would sit in his car and press the pedals while he walked around and checked all the lights to check if they were working . She didn’t drive, which he said wouldn’t matter, and so, “Yes, Of-course!” She was keen to help. She sat in the car pressing pedals and flipping switches on and off as directed,  while the new love interest walked around the car.
Every so often he would open the door, checking various fuses, and chatting to my friend.
He asked if she was married, what did she do for a living, the usual, and my friend was happy to tell.  After about half an hour of this he thanked her for her help, and asked if he could maybe take her out for a meal at the weekend by way of a thank you, to which my friend, who thought this guy was hot, eagerly accepted.

On the evening of their date, he drove them to a fancy restaurant, where they enjoyed a delicious meal, a few drinks and completely hit it off.  According to my friend he was perfect, an absolute gent and a real romantic, everything she had been hoping for.

During the evening while they were chatting, the guy confessed that he had removed the fuses in the car to give him an excuse to knock on her door and ask for her help, it was his way of creating an opportunity to speak to her. My friend saw nothing wrong in his confession, describing it as ‘ just a little white lie’, and describing it as ‘a romantic thing to do’.

When I asked what was wrong with just asking her out directly, rather than creating this pretend situation, my friend dismissed it out of hand – I am sure many people might do the same. “It means nothing” or “he’s shy”! & “He was being romantic”!

Not shy enough to worry about knocking on her door and wasting her time doing something that didn’t need doing, but too shy to ask a question what he eventually asked her anyway! Not romantic enough to be entirely honest in his approach!

My friend was surprised and hurt when she eventually realized, unfortunately not before they were married, that her husband told lies. Lots of lies. He was deceitful and underhand telling lies for no apparent reason, causing doubt and mistrust in their relationship, which made my friend nervous, anxious and incredibly miserable. The marriage ended in divorce.

What she had considered to be ‘a little white lie’ and ‘a romantic thing to do’, in reality – A lie and a deceitful thing to do.

She’d missed it. She was so keen not to see anything negative because negative didn’t fit with her plans. Even when it was highlighted, she dismissed the negative as being nothing important,  and then repackaged as being something positive ‘a romantic thing to do’.

When we are prepared to make excuses for behaviours, re-writing and applying meanings that better fit the narrative, we probably shouldn’t be surprise later down the line when those same behaviours cause us pain.