By James Amuta
The more you tell a particular lie, the sooner you start believing it’s true. But the truth about lies is that two people cannot tell the same lie effectively forever. Either one of them finds religion, and decides to spill his guts, or the other begins to believe the lie – and that said lie becomes the only truth known to him, thus he’s stuck in that made-up world, while his cohort sees the lie for what it is – a lie. And viola – a conflict of agreement emerges.
Not all lies are fabricated to deceive. But all lies by their nature are misleading. Come to think of it, “lies” have been called by many names – fiction, fantasy, and pranks are some common social euphemisms for the word – sorry, I digress.
There are some relationships you choose to keep low-key for reasons best known to you, but recently I witnessed the resultant chaos that occurs when the lines between the lies you tell others and the lies you tell yourself become blurry.
One of such lies is found in the concept and principles of “Friends with Benefits” – friends who conceal the actual status of their relationship (to close friends and family) while they enjoy the benefits of steaming sex in private. Oftentimes both parties are single, or in distant relationships – and most commonly this sort of agreement occurs between neighbours, colleagues, classmates, friends of the family; between spouses and in-laws; between landlord and tenant; between boss and executive assistant; between artiste and artiste manager; between co-stars on a movie set – the variants and combinations are endless.
The reasoning and rationale behind this sort of arrangement is usually based on the fact that both parties (influenced mostly by social or peer pressure) may feel awkward or embarrassed by any overt publicity surrounding the dalliance – or maybe just because they both do not need the emotional baggage that comes with a traditional relationship. At this point, I think it’s paramount that I point out the difference between having an affair and having a FWB arrangement – affairs are exclusive to married people. FWB arrangements aren’t exclusive to any group.
In FWB relationships, the common understanding between both parties is “we’re not dating – it’s just sex – there are no feelings involved”, but then to the rest of the world, they announce for matters of decency,
“We’re just very close friends, and nothing else”. Did you notice the slight difference in what they tell themselves, and what they tell the world? You did, huh?
But hear the truth about such a gigantic lie:
a) Most people will tell you men and women can’t just be friends – but the truth is they can, but then most people don’t believe they are – so honestly you’re really not fooling anyone but yourselves, people already suspect something was going on even before it started.
b) There’s no such thing as “it’s just sex – no feelings involved” – for a one night stand, hell yeah – but for someone you spend at least 3 days (and sometimes, maybe nights) of the week with –no way – there’s always feelings, especially if you have to keep up the charade of doing the regular stuff that friends usually do.
c) At one point in time, one or two of you will exhibit symptoms of jealousy, betrayal, anger, etc when your “friend with benefits” decides to step out on you with another “friend”, neighbour, or colleague – it becomes territorial – you begin to feel that even if she tells you “oh, we’re just close friends – nothing more” – it resonates exactly what the two of you once declared to the world – so, you can never believe whatever she says about the friend-on-the-side to be true, ah ha, rancour sets in, doubt, territorial feelings at first.
d) Sometimes the bond between friends is stronger that the bond between lovers, inadvertently, you begin to feel closer to your FWB than you’ve ever been with any spouse or date of yours– but there again, you’ve told yourself a lie – because for a split second, you must have believed or wished the FWB were something more committed, but that’s just you telling yourself another lie, if the other party is more interested in appearances and in the sanctity of the original charade you both designed.
e) At a point you both discover you’re both incapable of moving on, or forging emotional relationships, but then again instead of confronting the truth about the lies you’ve designed – you fall into chaos – with oftentimes futile attempts to “break up” with each other.
f) You both get so caught up in your lies, you forget to watch how attached and dependent you’ve become on each other – that when you each try to pull away or sever that bond, someone ends up getting terribly hurt; h) most times when FWB arrangements end, the friends with benefits can never ever be just friends again – so they often mutually agree to be frenemies – or agree never to speak to or see each other again.
So, you see, the truth about this particular lie is that, no matter how well you tell it, never expect anyone to believe you, let alone delude yourself into believing it. Never try to turn a lie into the truth – a lie can never automatically metamorphose into being true – however, a lie may fortunately gain the legitimacy of “acceptance” if the truth about the lie is confronted, evaluated, and embraced before it spins out of control.
That said, know this even before you begin – well, ponder on it if you’re already in it – the truth about this lie is that when it ends, someone, somehow, usually ends up feeling screwed.
[James Amuta is the author of Enigma: Beyond the Poet; a maverick publicist with expertise in television/film content and corporate publicity. He’s also a filmmaker with a few documentaries and TV commercials to his credit. Find more of his notes on www.facebook.com/jamesamuta or follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jamesamuta]