Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oh What a Tangled Web…

I think if you asked 100 people how important honesty is to them in their relationships—especially romantic relationships—99 would probably say, “very important.”

I think that’s why we’re shocked when a scandal like the one involving Tiger Woods comes to light. Not only do we feel duped about his true character, we feel horrible at the way he deceived his wife.

Wives can deceive too. In my family we have an old scandal involving my paternal grandparents, now both dead. Some time in the early 1940s my grandmother married and bore a son. But the marriage didn’t last, and she divorced. Not only was divorce uncommon in the 1940s, it was unacceptable, so when she met my grandfather, she didn’t tell him about the previous marriage, the divorce, or ever her son. She passed him off as her sister’s child. It wasn’t until after they married that my grandfather learned the truth. Sadly but not surprisingly, that marriage didn’t last long either, but it did produce my father and another uncle. My grandmother went on to marry twice more.

I wonder how many marriages can withstand deceptions like these. I wonder if love really can conquer all or if a relationship founded on a lie is doomed to defeat. People always ask where I get my ideas, and it’s through asking questions like these story ideas come. In my June release, THE MAKING OF A DUCHESS, the hero, Julien, and heroine, Sarah, meet and fall in love under false pretenses. Is Julien who he says he is or is he really a spy for the French? Sarah isn’t who she says she is, but when she finally reveals the truth, can he trust her?

I don’t think most of us have to worry our mate is a spy or hiding a secret life, but we make decisions every day whether to hide this or fib about that. What do you think? Is honesty the best policy or do a few white lies equal a happier union?


  1. When one spouse lies about what they're up to in regards to infidelity, it's a dead deal. Some will stay with their spouses because of the kids, because of their financial needs, but the trust and love is gone. There is always that nagging in the back of their mind--will he/she do it again? Every time they don't come home when they should, the spouse will wonder: is he/she straying again? How many would feel comfortable going to bed with their spouse, knowing they were with someone else in a lover's embrace just hours earlier?

  2. I guess it all depends on how serious the white lie is. If you break the trust between two people, I'm not sure you ever really get it back. Sometimes I guess we feel we have to lie because at the time it seems to be the only solution. However, that usually comes back to bite you in the behind.

  3. Secrets and lies--it makes a vexing question, and an interesting post.

    I don't think a relationship can prosper without a foundation of trust, but the trust doesn't always have to take the form of truth-telling or fidelity. It can be trust around whatever the person values most. Qualities like loyalty, security, protectiveness, shared ambition could be more important.

    However, although the story might begin with lies, I doubt if romance readers would find an ending without truth-telling and fidelity satisfying.

  4. I agree, Mary Margret. A romance has to end with the hero/heroine being completely honest with one another. And, as a reader, it's so much fun to wait for all the lies to be revealed.

  5. I agree with Mary Margret, too-trust is incredibly important, and I don't think trust is the same thing as the truth. But I personally value honesty, and know that there have been a bunch of situations, both platonic and romantic,that haven't turned out the best when I've figured out the truth, and that trust I had was violated... But I'm sure there are other situations where I don't know the truth (or chose not to know it), and I'm better not knowing.

    And I agree that in romance novels, there does need to be a level of transparency in relationships so everyone is on the same page--heroine, hero and reader!

    Great post Shana, and welcome to the blog :)

  6. "Society" tries real hard to convince the world that sexual intimacy is no big deal, even within married couples, and that fidelity is "unnatural" even. Yet time again a situation like the one with Tiger Woods proves otherwise. No woman or man can be blase about such behavior. That is a deal breaker, in my opinion. I am sure there are couples who have managed to forgive and move on after infidelity, but I bet it is really rough and never the same.

    As for other deceptions, well that depends. Certainly within a romance the players can get away with more than in real life! LOL! But honestly really is the best policy, I believe.

  7. I think trust and respect are more important than love. Love can be defined in so many ways and can be fleeting. Trust and respect are the foundations of any loving relationship. If you have love without trust and respect, it's not going to last long. Honesty is so important to both trust and respect because you're not going to trust someone who isn't honest with you, and lying to someone is not showing them respect.

  8. Welcome to our newest CasaBabe, Shana!

    Thanks for the thought provoking post. I think a few little white lies are okay -- When I ask if this outfit makes me look fat I'm not necessarily looking for the complete, uncensored truth!-- but dishonesty at the core of a relationship is a WHOLE NOTHER STORY!


  9. Trust and honesty in my opinion are a must in any releationship and I think you have to earn that trust. I am sure there are white lies told in every releantionship as long as it is nothing major.
    I do love reading books were the hero and heroine learn to trust each other, the adventure and conflict along the way to the HEA makes for great reading.
    Looking forward to your book Shana

    Have Fun

  10. First of all, I like being called a CasaBabe. No one has called me "babe", a looong time.

    And thanks for all the comments and the warm welcome!

  11. Great post, Shana!
    Honesty, honesty, honesty.

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