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TODAY   |  March 01, 2013

When men should lie to their ladies

We all know that generally, lying to a loved one can cause some relationship problems, but Dr. Catherine Birndorf and Ian Kerner tell us when it is actually a good thing for men to lie to their ladies.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we all want to believe our husbands or boyfriends would never lie to us.

>> but, however, in certain situations, not telling women the truth may actually be a good thing if you want to keep the peace. dr. katherine berndorf is a contributing expert of "self" magazine and ian is a sex and relationship therapist.

>> yeah, but have you ever seen anything that proves that?

>> nothing.

>> the man says he is.

>> let's get out -- this is a very important subject because there are many times when men will lie to us. for instance, if we ask, you know --

>> how do i look?

>> is there anything wrong with that, doctor?

>> lying is complicated. it's not so black and white . and i think sometimes honesty is not the best policy. so when someone asks, how do i like, what are they really asking? it's like saying do you love me? do i look okay to you? of course you do. not, you look not to great in that dress.

>> do you really want to know?

>> a great question.

>> that's terrible.

>> i think it's a good question.

>> a terrible question.

>> the whole thing about lying is not actually lying but avoiding situations where you have to tell the truth.

>> what do you mean?

>> exactly. i've been doing that for years.

>> do i look fat? you look great. i love you -- oh, hold on. i've got to run.

>> oh.

>> that's so obvious, ian. i would know that there's an issue there.

>> not particularly in that, but the outfit yesterday --

>> no, in that, you do, i love that other blue you had on.

>> do you have to lie? isn't there a way --

>> you have to know your audience. i think you have to know your audience. does the person want to know the absolute truth ?

>> do most people want to be lied to? there's a psychological question for you.

>> i think this is important especially among married couples . let's say frank asked you, what did you dream about last night? what if you had a steamy, hot dream about another man? would you say -- you know how jealous he can get -- why would you tell him? why wouldn't you just let that one go?

>> i had an unbelievable dream last night.

>> but you're not telling the whole truth.

>> it would make the hair stand on your -- whatever hair left we have.

>> i would say that's called truth dumping.

>> oh, dump this, doctor.

>> go ahead.

>> i was going to say, that's something that's private. that's something that he doesn't need to know .

>> exactly.

>> why would you need to volunteer that information?

>> i would never volunteer it.

>> that's something that could also make your relationship, i think, sexier if you can start to show those thoughts and fantasies with each other.

>> have you heard frank?

>> it can cut both ways.

>> i think that might be generational.

>> i think so, too.

>> i think so. yeah, yeah, yeah. men were raised very differently. they're very territorial.

>> what if your husband said to you something about honey, do you think our neighbor is handsome? and he happens to be very, very, very handsome.

>> i would say i do.

>> do you find him sexy?

>> i'd say yeah, he's a sexy guy.

>> why?

>> i wouldn't say i want him because he's handsome and sexy. i'd say he is, he's a handsome and sexy guy.

>> what if frank said --

>> why me?

>> because you're the perfect couple.

>> we are not the perfect couple.

>> what do you think?

>> i think we want to protect each other's feelings. i think that's what you're getting at.

>> i want an authentic relationship.

>> i don't know that authenticity means bold, brash honesty at all times.

>> yeah. what does it mean?

>> i think it means being thoughtful.

>> you can be thought of the without going out of your way to say that hunk next door. if he asks me a question, what is wrong with having an authentic relationship and i tell him the truth?

>> i think in relationships everyone does have the right to a certain degree of privacy. but sometimes we don't know how to navigate those boundaries of privacy. so things that should actually be allowed to kept private suddenly become lies. and so i think it's really about respecting each other's privacy.

>> and i think it almost becomes confessional. like you had this dream and you think, i have to tell. but it's to unburden yourself for having been unfaithful in your dream.

>> why do you make this about me?

>> because it's about you and your dreams. you had one of those dreams.

>> no, i think the reason we're still married after almost 27 years is because we value one another enough to tell each other the truth. when we haven't told each other the truth, it has not ended well. to tell the truth is to respect one another.

>> i think women also have a sixth sense. any time i've ever attempted to lie to my wife even about a little thing, i feel like i get busted and she knows anyway.

>> thanks for the lively conversation.