Beware the duplicity trap

Sometimes in dating (and in life) we choose not to reveal the whole truth. We don’t lie, but we omit parts of the picture. The conundrum is whether telling the whole truth is best, including gnarly details we know will be disturbing to the other, or to reveal only what seems prudent.

Last night I was at a dance club I’d heard about from a friend. He occasionally went there with a woman friend who he described having some very distinctive features.

Although my friend wasn’t there, I spotted a woman who looked as he’d described his dancing buddy. I approached her and asked if she knew our mutual friend. Indeed she did. We chatted and she asked how he and I had met. I responded truthfully, “On” I went on to say that was several years ago and what a dear friend he has become, and we chatted about other things.

This morning I called and told my pal I’d met his friend. He was surprised since she and I live an hour apart. I told him I had noticed her at the club and figured she might be the gal he’d told me about, so introduced myself. I also told him of her question to me and my response.

“Oh, crap!” (Actually, his response was more profane than that.) “She has no idea I’ve ever been on, nor that I was ever seeing other women.”

My heart sank as I realized I’d unknowingly exposed my pal’s activities to this woman, whom he’d always referred to as a friend, not someone he dated. He’s a close confidant and I would never want to do anything that would cause him grief. Even though he was upset, he didn’t blame me nor try to make me feel bad.

This event showed keenly how duplicity can bite you. He had his reasons for not telling her he was seeing others — just as I’ve had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy until a relationship heats up. However, although the unspoken code of online dating is “assume there are others,” they did not meet online. So she’d have no reason to suspect there were other women. Did he have an obligation to tell her he was seeing others? Did she ever ask?

On the upside, my call alerted him so he could be thinking how he would discuss this with her, rather than being blindsided when they next spoke. On the downside, the cat is out of the bag, through not malice, just friendliness. I wouldn’t have offered the info if she hadn’t asked, and I responded truthfully, as I didn’t see any need to lie since he described her as a friend.

trapWhen you multi-date without telling your dates that you are, you may be setting your own trap. Beware of your own wicked web you weave if you decide to be non-disclosing with someone you’re seeing more than a few times. You never know who might unwittingly spring the trap.

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