Ask Angela reader has lied to an online dating companion and wants to come clean while still salvaging their relationship.

Dear Angela,

At the suggestion of friends, I tried online dating. I met someone who I've started to feel very strongly about and now he wants to meet. Don't get me wrong, I want to meet him, too, but I haven't been exactly honest about all aspects of my life. The main problem is that I sent him a picture that is not a picture of me. It may be futile to hope that we could meet up and start over. I regret lying, I don't know what to do at this point. I don't want to lose this relationship that's important to me, but that seems inevitable. Do you have any advice you could offer?

— Guilty

Dear Guilty,

There's so much I want to say here. To be brief, I'll tell you what you already know, which is that you need to come clean, ASAP. For one thing, you're letting this guy that you care about get involved with a somewhat imaginary person, and you can't have a meaningful relationship that only exists on the Internet. That means if you want to move forward, he's going to meet you and subsequently find out the truth. Waiting is just going to make it worse.

You two may not be able to recover from this, but hoping for good things is never futile. Hope that he'll forgive you, hope he'll see value in your belated honesty, hope you can overcome the negative thoughts that compelled you to lie in the first place — hope, hope, hope.

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I'd also suggest reading this general conference talk from April 1990 entitled 'Finding The Way Back.' Sometimes we do shady things and it feels like we are totally defined by those actions and we can't get out of that pattern of behavior, but that's a lie. If you choose to come clean and make amends, the Atonement can help you and it can help your friend.



P.S. John 8:32

Reader questions: Do you worry about the dishonesty that is often involved in online dating? If you were the guy in this situation, do you think you could forgive her and move forward with the relationship?

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