When I discuss the polygraph with people, I am often asked the same question, which is, “If you loved someone, why would you ask them to take a polygraph test?”
Whilst I can understand their sentiment, I do not think that the answer is as simple as “love = trust and honesty in all things”.
For a start let us look at how society has changed over the years.
Many, many years ago when I was at senior school I can clearly remember to this day the name of the one child in the entire school whose parents had separated and divorced. So rare was this occurrence that it (the divorce) and later the subsequent change of the pupils last name, when his mother remarried, was the hot topic of gossip in the playground, often spoke about in whispers for months after each event.
Government records for divorce in that year recorded just over 40,000 divorces in England and Wales, following a peak in 1993 of over 165,000 the latest figures for 2017 continue a mainly downward trend to just over 101,000. There are socioeconomic reasons offered by some, for the decline, suggesting that couples stay together because of financial commitments which trap them in a loveless compromise of a relationship, so, even the good news of a falling divorce rate does not actually reflect the reality of today’s relationships.
Another aspect is the now widely accepted cohabitation by couples both prior to or instead of a formal marriage relationship. Again, in years not long since passed, it was almost unheard of for a young man and woman to move in together. A sin in many eyes and not something that “good girls” would even consider. How times and attitudes have changed. Add to that mix the same sex relationships that have been formalised through either marriage or civil partnerships and one can see that the relationship demographic in this country has changed almost beyond recognition.
A further divergence from the past is the way couples now meet. In earlier times relationships were formed from a far smaller gene pool of school friends, fellow local employees or introductions from parents, usually all coming from the local community. Rarely was there a union forged from the next town, let alone another county or country.
Today’s computerised world means that almost every individual has access to the internet and a whole industry has grown up to introduce strangers to strangers. Well, think about it, isn’t that what a dating ap does?
No longer are we in the age of relying on friends or local to find a partner, now anyone can search nationally or internationally for a new partner. But who are they really?
Are they really the person they present to you in their smiley photo and glowing biopic. Do they have a history of abusing a partner, emotionally, sexually or financially? And equally important where children are involved, can they be trusted to respect and protect the child or are they one of the 400 men a month who are investigated in the UK in connection with paedophilia.
Todays dating game has many challenges, the most obvious being choosing the right person to join you on life’s journey. It is not necessarily a bad thing that a person has had previous partners and having “learnt lessons” in our previous lives often help us improve our behaviour in the future.
So, to return to the opening question, my response is “if you love someone, you have shared your past with truth, shared your hopes with truth and shared your fears with truth” and if you are confident that your partner has done the same with you, then what is there to fear from providing a sound base for your future and taking a polygraph test, or is there something you have not revealed yet, like the whole truth?