Here’s the answer: Men and women lie to each other because it has been bred into us genetically!
I didn’t make this up. There’s a large body of research on the subject. While this blog post cannot obviously cover them all, here is the excerpt of an article I found on www.mycoachtraining.com that sums it up nicely:
Evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers, in his book The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life, constructed an interesting theory: We often deceive ourselves because it then becomes easier to deceive others.
And deceiving others, according to Trivers, allows us to gain an evolutionary advantage when it comes to survival and mating. Women, for example, will often choose their mate based on status, resources, attractiveness (a sign of “good genes”), and a willingness to commit. Males who therefore have “reproductive success” over time have inherited the ability to deceive their mates – and themselves – that they have these traits. In turn, the offspring of these couples inherit this tendency. And so on and so on . . .
Trivers cites many more examples, as well as the research behind his findings. He also shows why the adaptation to self-deception in one area of life can sabotage other areas. So what does that mean for you and your coaching clients? Simply this: find a way to allow your client to get some instant feedback (such as through the Logical Soul® technique) that allows them to become aware of the hidden decisions and deceptive patterns that sabotage their success (beyond survival and mating, that is).
Here’s another thought: if you are a couples coach trying to get some kind of resolution out of their dysfunction, you may decide at some point to give it up because they don’t seem to be able to tell the truth to each other. While this may sound strange coming from a woman, I often let the proverbial chips fall where they may. Some couples will never stop lying to each other, constantly argue, and never seem to want to work together.
You can’t save every relationship, so there’s no use in creating multiple problems for yourself by trying too hard. Learn to accept each couple as an ongoing process that they themselves chose to embrace. By seeing it this way, you do both yourself and them a big favor.
Alternately, if you try to do too much, the whole coaching or counseling process can become personal – with you as the bad guy! Most couples are afraid of intimacy; that’s whey they come to you. When you add your personal mission to the mix, this fear of intimacy gets heated up. Eventually the fear will come to a head, convert to anger, and be directed at you.
As a couples coach, don’t get involved. You can show them communication and other skills they need, but leave it up to them to embrace these new approaches. If they do, great! Your job is simply to act as a facilitator. If they refuse the tools, however, its a strong indication they’ve each made an inner decision to split.
All you can do at this point is help them be honest with each other – probably for the first time in their relationship!