How can I regain trust after lying

-- Question for John --

I am 33, male, I have been in this relationship for a year now. I really love this girl, we have had some issues, mainly that I have lied to her on some things. I need to do something that shows I am sorry and that she is very important to me. She has requested this, she says that if the love I feel for her is real — and that if I am really sorry — this would be easy to do.

She also says this because I am resourceful in my work and achieving goals. So far in this relationship, I have lied and then apologized and yet still not come totally clean on the truth. Now I have. And after a number of times the words just are not enough.

Can you give me some advice and ideas on what to do? Something I can do for her to show her, via actions, that she does mean the world to me and that I have never loved anyone like I do her? My romantic self has hit a very hard brick wall and am not coming up with something that would truly be fitting, pressure is on and I need some help.

-- Answer from John --

A simple romantic play alone may not really hit the mark. Romance per se is all about increasing the positive energy. But what you are dealing with is the need to address a deficit of trust right now. A strictly romantic move may seem like window dressing to the main event. To lie is to partition off part of yourself from her — usually for self-protection or to avoid risk or vulnerability, right?

What she is looking for is actions that demonstrate your willingness to explore and reveal the truth of who you are — even in the face of potential discomfort. In other words, she might prefer a stumbling effort to be honest and explore the depth of your heart — over a smooth attempt to portray your positive strengths or charms. The former will come closer to actions that say “Here I am, in my naked truth, willing to face my fears of self-disclosure and reveal all sides of me to you.”

Of course, there is always fear holding one back from this. And although I am suggesting a course of action, I would also like to assure you that you don’t have to jump off the proverbial cliff here. Small steps in that direction will be duly noted and appreciated by her. And such steps will be in marked contrast to what most guys would do, which is to run the other way or try to cover things up. So do the difficult thing and win here.

A practical suggestion on a meaningful action plan. I would demonstrate the integrity of my commitment to making this a lasting, healthy, honest relationship by showing up not just with flowers and candy, but with an assortment of good books on relationship. Ones that deal with the nitty gritty of working trust, communicating honestly, being authentic, and dealing with difficult challenges. And suggest a plan that you intend to read those books and hope that she is willing to join you on that journey, because if nothing else, this episode has taught you the importance of getting more skillful in dealing with the challenges of intimacy. And that you are fully ready to take on that challenge.