Deceptive Affection: Is It Really Bad for a Relationship?

Unhappy looking woman wearing black dress looks in  mirror while a man stands in the backgroundHave you ever thrown a casual “I miss you,” or “I wish you were here” to your partner when, in that moment, you did not miss them or wish they were with you? Spouses and partners who have been together for some time may find themselves using this form of interaction, called “deceptive affection,” in their relationships on a regular basis. Rather than hurting the other’s feelings, one partner may find it easier and more tactful to say what they think their partner wants to hear. When getting dressed up for an evening out, is it okay to tell your spouse that they look amazing when you don’t really think so? The answers are mixed.

Deceptive affection is not altogether bad, according to some experts. It can fulfill needs and placate attention-seeking. It can boost self-esteem and quell fights. But when used as a way to avoid true feelings, it can become troublesome to the relationship. Couples that engage in deceptive affection, including public displays of affection, just to keep up the appearance of being truly in love, can actually increase the emotional distance that exists between them. If lying about feelings toward one another becomes commonplace, then lying in other areas of the relationship may become accepted behavior as well.

Psychologist Mansi Hasan believes that couples would prefer deceptive affection over distance and resentment. “However,” adds Hasan, “deceptive affection cannot make a relationship last; after a while it may become difficult to mask your real feelings.” This is where the problems can arise. Hasan suggests that partners try to decrease their use of deceptive affection and foster real, genuine affection by staying in touch with their true feelings and finding ways to rekindle the romantic love that once existed between them.

Other helpful strategies include letting go of anger once a conflict has been resolved and to avoid comparing the relationship to those of friends or family members, or previous relationships. It’s okay to embellish a little. But when embellishing turns into complete fabrication, it might be time to take a closer look at what’s really going on in the relationship.

Can Deceptive Affection Destroy Relationships? (2013). (n.d.): n. pag.

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  • David

    May 20th, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Gotta admit I’ve said this to my wife.Not that I wanna display to someone but only to make her feel better.But yeah it cannot last long that’s for sure.Its better to be honest than to lie constantly.That will certainly bring in problems in the relationship.

  • nancy

    May 21st, 2013 at 4:02 AM

    My husband used to travel a lot with his job.

    And I can’t say that it was always easy; but I think that after a while, especially after the kids got a little older, that I really kind of enjoyed the weeks that he had to travel, probably far more than he did.

    But I don’t think that I ever let him know that. I always told him how much I missed him and wished he was home with us, and I think that this helped keep us strong throughout all those years.

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