I confess... (lies that you tell to avoid hurting someone)

I am much more introverted than my husband. For a very long time, due to work hours and commuting distance, I would always get home about an hour before he did. This gave me time to relax and decompress from the stresses of work (not to mention cook dinner) before he arrived, full of life and eager to tell me all about his day and who he saw and so forth, and ask me about my day and all. This worked well.

About six months ago Mr. Starving quit working, due to a combination of early retirement/health problems/company downsizing. Now he definitely feels a lack of stimulus due to no longer having those interactions with co-workers and clients. Meaning he, well, pounces on me the instant I get home, pumping me for ‘life outside these walls’ info.

It drives me nuts. It’s not that I don’t want him to know about this stuff – it’s hardly secret – it’s just that at that point my capacity to tolerate human interaction is exhausted and I need to be left alone for a while.

So now, after particularly stressful days, I get home late because, I tell him, ‘I had to stay to finish up’ something or other.

In truth, I simply pull into a mall I pass on the way home and park in the hinterlands for 15-30-45 minutes. Generally I shift to the passenger seat and prop up a book in front of me (trying to look like someone just waiting for the driver to return from an errand) though mostly I don’t really read. I just sit there and let the tension boil out of me. You know those jagged lines cartoonists put around characters when they’re angry? I swear I can almost see and feel them shooting out of my skin.

Then, when I’ve relaxed, I drive home and can greet him and answer his questions willingly.

So. Yes, I’m lying to him about this, maybe two or even three times a week. But I think it’s way less hurtful to him than snarling “Can’t you leave me in peace for ten goddam minutes?” which is what I felt like doing before I started my mini-sabaticals.

So. How about you? Do you routinely lie about something to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings?

Just don’t pull up across from a school :stuck_out_tongue:

Pretty much every little old lady type that has ever made me cookies/cake/soup/other allegedly edible substance as a thank you for garbage can retrieval/grocery loading/snake killing/other routine act of Southern Gallantry has been told that said allegedly edible substance was the finest I’d ever had the utter rapture of tasting. In at least one unfortunate circumstance, this was a bold face lie, as the vile concoction tendered would gag a maggot. Tried to foist the foul brew off on my cat, and he peed in the bowl. Still, it was a gift given freely from a little old lady. Such things must be received properly, with all social graces, because this is what one does.

Fortunately, more little old ladies than not seem to be quite capable cooks, and I like cakes/cookies/other edibles. Thus, yea verily I am the Opener of Jars, Slayer of Varmits, and Lifter of Heavy Things for the Geritol Generation. Mmm, cake! :slight_smile:

As an aside, I think this is a common problem. I heard of one couple that worked out an agreement that let’s the commuter sit in the driveway for 15-30 minutes before coming into the house. I’m not saying you should necessarily do this though; I just think it is an interesting compromise.

My parents have the exact same problem as the OP. Dad worked in a factory for 40 years and is now retired (which he did partially for health reasons so he doesn’t get out much during the day)…and mom works in a busy office all day. When she gets home the last thing she wants to do is talk more, and all dad wants to do is chit-chat.

I’ve been there when she gets home. It’s annoying as fuck.

To be honest…I think your idea about chilling out at the mall is fantastic and I might suggest it to my mom!!!

Google “highly sensitive person” and show your husband and tell him that this is how you’re wired, and this is what you need. If he’s just unwilling to take your needs and feelings into consideration, then what’s up with that, anyway?

My parents have this exact same problem. Dad retired two years ago. Now he sits at home all day and waits for Mom to come home. She’s 65 and was retired herself but went back to work because she couldn’t cope with him. She hates coming home at the end of the day and hates taking vacation because he’s so needy.

Does he have any social outlet during the day? I highly recommend that he get involved in some sort of volunteer work. That kind of contact can replace what he used to get from co-workers. Some of my aunts and uncles have done this after retirement, and it really seems to help ease the friction between the spouses, because the retired person doesn’t depend on the spouse for all daily social contact.

I don’t really understand why you have to lie. Would your husband be angry to hear that you need some time to yourself after work, to decompress? This is a very common request amongst the married couples I know.

You could be my twin. My husband is disabled and works from home. He doesn’t get a lot of interaction, apart from online, so he also tends to ‘pounce’. I don’t have to sit in the car in the carpark but I do sneak in the back door, kick my shoes off and have a quiet sit-and-relax with a drink and my computer for about 15-20 minutes before I acknowledge that I’m home.

Back in Bulgaria, I often accepted/praised people’s rakia. Rakia, for those of you fortunate/unlucky (depending on your POV) enough not to have experienced it, is a brandy made from grapes or plums all over the Balkans. In rural areas, pretty much everyone makes their own rakia, and bonding over shotglasses of some rakika is a really integral part of the culture. (The EU made Bulgaria ban the making of rakia at home as part of the many, many conditions of membership. This is very possibly the least obeyed and enforced law in the world.)

I’m not a big drinker in general, and I am really not a fan of straight hard liquor, but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and slam down your rakia. “Wow, this is excellent rakia, did you make it? Is it plum or grape? Ooooooh! It’s the best rakia I’ve ever had!”

My host mom was really proud of her rakia and always insisted I have “50 grams! Just 50 grams!” And then she’d pour me 200 grams and I’d drink up and praise her amazing rakia-making skills. Because she is awesome and I adore her and I’d never tell her that it actually tastes like burning.

This sounds a lot like my parents. My dad is disabled and my mom works. Furthermore, my parents had to move about 5.5 hours away from everyone my dad knows because of my mom’s job. So my dad couldn’t just go chat with his parents or hang out with his sisters while my mom was at work. He was going bonkers. Now, he’s volunteering at the local hospital and gets that out-of-the-house stimulus and interaction he needed.

I agree. Why not just tell him that you need a half an hour or so when you get home to unwind? I’d just be paranoid that some mutual friend would see me at the mall when I’m allegedly at work, but instead I’m in the car, “waiting for someone,” and that it would get back to my husband…who might not be so likely to believe the truth, or so understanding of your position when revealed to him under such circumstances. Why not just have a discussion about it at a point when both of you are relaxed? Plus, I’d much rather unwind at home than in the passenger seat of my car, if given the choice, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to accommodate you with that.

As far as the OP goes, I tell white lies about why I’m late (which is chronic). It usually sounds nicer to say something like, "my car stalled/my mom called as I was on the way out the door/the dog slobbered on my pants and I had to change rather than something more truthful, like…I hate you, and put off spending time with you as long as possible/I was hanging out with someone whose company I enjoy more/I was masturbating and it took long than I anticipated. Ditto what Oakminster said about food, although usually the food is good and it’s not an issue…but every now and then you do have the odd cat-would-rather-piss-in-it scenario he described.

I do see your problem. I work from home and although I am somewhat of a loner, I do find I need much more human interaction that I have been getting. I can see how your husband would be bored and lonely.

Not sure what the cure is - I keep wanting to find an outside interest, but so far nothing has come up that I want to do. I do keep looking.

Good luck.

If volunteer work doesn’t appeal to him have him start/join a book club. It will give him a reason to meet with people once or twice a month to talk for an hour or two and it will give him a book to focus on for some of his down time during the day.

Or he could go teach English in Asia.

I used to lie to my husband to get a few minutes of peace and quiet. Now I just tell him I need some alone time. But I can see why you’d do it - I was paranoid I’d hurt his feelings if I was honest and just said, “Ugh! I love you, but go away for five friggin’ minutes!”

Current white lies are usually to my mom:

“Yes, mom. It’s delicious.” I’m sure cream-covered butter is delicious to someone, but just because it’s got cream and butter in it does not automatically mean that a dish is fabulous.

“Oooh. Coconut cake. No, no - that’s okay. I know I asked for a plain white sheet cake on my birthday, but this is great. Thanks!” She hates anything that’s plain. Even when I was little she couldn’t make a microwave or frozen pizza without doctoring it with herbs. Every birthday I have, I ask for a white sheet cake. And inevitably, I either have to make or buy my own cake or I’ll get something completely different than what I asked for.

I tell the occasional white lie to my husband, too, but normally it’s just about his particular body odor after he’s been sick. “Hey, [overly’s husband]. Maybe a shower would make you feel better. Well, you don’t smell horrible, but, ah, you might feel more awake if you took one.” I don’t know why I don’t just tell him he reeks to high heaven, but I haven’t yet.

But hubby will be pacing around waiting for her to be done unwinding so he can pounce. That doesn’t help with the unwinding.

I’m a musician. Sometimes we let other jazz musicians or singers sit in and sing or play a few tunes on a gig. I never tell them when they suck (and some of them definitely do). Lately I’ve had a run of sucky people sitting in. It can be awkward.

mmm yes I tell the little white lie.

To Mom who called long distance on my birthday and asked if I had a birthday cake, because cakes and birthdays mean a lot to her. So just to tease I said “no, but I have pie”, which was a lie and then I embellished a little and told her it was a key lime pie. She was satisfied but a little suspicious I think.

I tell little white lies to my partner, who sometimes hovers about my business double checking what I am doing and asking pointless questions that serve only to soothe his anxiety. So instead of getting into a verbal tennis match where we serve up aces and fouls, I lobby one white lie over his head which seems to satisfy and then he gets the hell out of my kitchen/office/garden.

I had the same problem as the op but found that I could switch off and make responsive sounds as though I had been paying attention.
One time when I was totally knackered and definitely didn’t feel like social interaction of any kind my ex challenged me with “You haven’t heard a word I’ve said have you?”

But I found that I was able to repeat back to her everything that she’d said as though I’d actually been listening to her.

Which confused her and surprised me.

Wow, surprised to hear there are so many with a similar problem! To address some points –
Alice the Goon** – I took a look at the author’s website. Wow. I’ve never thought of myself as the ‘sensitive’ type. Practical, even phlegmatic. OTOH, an amazing number of her listed tipoffs DO apply to me. OT3H, it might be that most people would agree that a bunch of them fit. So…I dunno. Maybe I’ll check out the book.

To those who wonder why I simply don’t tell Mr.S. the truth: well, it’s mostly bad timing. He’s dealing with feeling less valuable because of the retiring, feeling ‘old’ because of the health problems, worrying about our finances (which in fact aren’t bad) because he’s no longer drawing a salary, being bored and restless from too much leisure time – I really don’t want to add ‘and my wife has to psych herself up to spend time with me’ on top of all that. :frowning:

I’m especially afraid he would tie my needing him to leave me alone sometimes to the rest of it, sort of ‘she no longer loves me because I’m less of a man’ thinking, you know? Because this hasn’t ever been a problem in the past, due to the way our lives just worked out.

Yes, he needs another interest in life. I’ve been trying to encourage him to join some social type clubs, maybe take up a new hobby, but so far nothing has clicked. However for some reason I’d never thought about him getting a volunteer job, and I think that might be just the ticket. No money, but he’d get the social interaction, a reason to get out of the house, AND having others want/need/depend on him to do whatever would do him the world of good.

It would have to be the right kind of job (for example, he can’t spend a lot of time on his feet) but there are tons of ways he could help. Hmm. I bet the Senior Citizen people would have good suggestions…

So, thanks to everyone who suggested that!