What It Is Wednesday: The Lie of Leading Someone On


I’ve seen this more than once & my intuition flamed every time & I ignored it. Guy tells me something a little…odd…out of the blue. It’s a half-truth but bc I believe him to be honest, I don’t on the surface recognize it as such. In fact, it’s presented in a way to make me believe he might be talking about me instead of someone–usually another woman–else.

It’s actually not a half-truth but a truth about his intentions with someone else. It’s not a half-truth but a lie about his intentions with me. It’s a purposely & well-cultivated technique so he can swear later that he told me when the full truth bursts into flames and we both get burned, one of us more than the other.  

The lie, the hurt, the resulting distrust & lack of respect emerge not in the kernel of truth stated to me with downcast eyes, flippant words, & evasive body language but in the omission of detail that would leave the intentions clear. Clarity lies in an honest confession or in a single name, not in a description of a situation that sounds like me, with what will later be clear to me as a list of all the similarities I have with another paramour, a secret lover, who has the same number of children as I do or the same job or the same neighborhood or the same degree.

But later he will point to that conversation & swear, I told you all about her!

And later he will point out agreements I nodded, and he will say I understood & I approved, & maybe he knows & maybe he doesn’t that my agreement with his stated intentions was not with my full knowledge of the situation and is therefore null and void. He will never admit to seeing himself as leading anyone on because he told me.

In some careful vagueness that cannot be deciphered by anyone not him or maybe his newest target of attention.

And that…that is the sharpness of the memory, with more than one man over many years, because the omissions were intentional–a testing of the waters, a posturing for future defense when caught, a plan to keep me as an option when other plans fall apart in secret and me never knowing i was anything less than a priority while being told again and again how I carried him through the worst hell of his life and how he doesn’t deserve me.

Okay, at least not everything was a lie.

Key Takeaway: Leading someone on is unacceptable.