‘My husband is a great father and a very caring husband, he is responsible. But he just doesn’t stop lying. He lies about the small things and the big thing. Sometimes it is because he doesn’t want to hurt me, at other times because his ego wouldn’t let him own up. Even when he knows he is lying, he cannot help himself. He tries to cover up but now I find it difficult to believe anything and have this urge to cross-check and it is affecting our relationship. How do I deal with a lying husband?
“We have had long conversations about it and he has promised that he will stop, but he hasn’t? Why does he feel the need to lie so much? Does he not understand what lying does to a marriage? I am on my last nerve with my husband,” wrote Nancy Gonsalves (name changed) to our expert counsellors.
Nancy’s situation is not unique. Many women go through this. All of us lie, it is a human trait. It can range from little harmless lies to hurtful, manipulative ones.
Usually, we lie to make ourselves seem better or to gain an advantage over the other person that we otherwise wouldn’t have. It could also be about protecting oneself from a negative reaction which we know will follow – lying creates or maintains an image which is not true so in one sense you are duping the other.
Related Reading: How To Maintain Your Sanity If Your Partner Is A Compulsive Liar
Some say, lies are a ‘man’s cheat code’ to a happy marriage and they use it to keep their spouses pleased. Many husbands believe that lies between couples are harmless and that they actually help maintain peace in the otherwise layered relationship.
Many unnecessary arguments and disagreements can be avoided by lying and ultimately the end (a peaceful and happy coexistence) justifies the means. But do experts agree on it?
Many men feel that lies about small things are ‘okay’ as long as they are loyal in the marriage. But, ‘lies are lies’ and little by little they can erode one of the biggest gifts that two people can give each other – the gift of being trustworthy! Lies can destroy faith in your partner.
So how does one deal with a lying husband? To understand that you have to know why husbands lie in the first place.
Why Do Husbands Lie About Small Things?
Husbands lie over small petty things for various reasons. It could be to protect the relationship, hide a dirty secret, dodge a conflict, or turn the situation in his favour.
Men lie so that the women in their life won’t have an emotional meltdown. For instance if he gets home late and says he was drinking at the club his wife might hit the roof, but if he says he was stuck at work that would ensure peace at home.
“You cannot help but become a lying husband if you don’t want to get shouted at the drop of a hat. If I tell my wife I forgot to get the cream cheese on a grocery trip she would sulk, but if I said that all the cream cheese was finished on the rack, it would take care of the situation,” said Joseph Ruskin (name changed).
Men say they would lie less if women would react in a less volatile manner and be more chilled out like the men are.
In all our research one thing that came out strongly though was that husbands lie to avoid conflict or to hide things they are sure will trigger a reaction from their wives.
But, as they say, ‘lie begets lie’, and once a husband starts resorting to lies, there is no escape from it. A lying husband gets into the habit to tell the untruth to save himself from a precarious situation.
This can become a nasty habit or a pattern where he may lie for anything, be it big or small. A wife may find it difficult to ‘trust‘ a husband who utters lies all the time. Here is the moment of truth for such men: you cannot lie and expect your wife to trust you. Chances are she may never trust you and question you even when you are speaking the truth.
So, this compulsive lying habit plants doubt in a wife’s mind and proves to be detrimental, especially in an intimate relationship like marriage, which is based on trust and honesty.
If a husband lies and hides things quite often, count this as a breach of trust in a marriage. However, from a husband’s perspective, ‘harmless lies’ protect and preserve the relationship with their spouse. So, he may tell simple lies like:
- “No, baby! You have not put on weight.”
- “I was not checking out that hot chick!”
- “I didn’t smoke a cigarette.”
- “I didn’t break the vase.”
- “Oh, baby! I just forgot about buying the fish from the market. Can you order it from the store?”
- “She is just a friend, you are just overthinking”.
- “That meal was fabulous”.
Remember ladies there’s a difference between expecting transparency and expecting honesty. At times these small lies are his way to care and love you. But men, lying too often can, in the long run, become toxic for the relationship.
Your wife will feel manipulated and tricked. She may also feel that you do not credit her with enough intelligence and may use this disappointment to cry on the shoulders of another man or an ex.
Also from the man’s point of view lying about one thing could lead to lying about others, he may not acknowledge his daily exchanges with an ex, laying the grounds for infidelity.
So, lying in a marriage slyly erodes the quality of marital happiness and satisfaction. But if a wife is careful and observant, she may identify the ‘lying spouse signs’ before it’s too late.
Related reading: 6 things men can do to win women’s trust
7 Common Signs Of A Lying Husband To Watch Out For
When you live with your husband, you know him inside out. It is not very tough to spot the signs of a lying husband. How he reacts to situations, addresses tricky challenges, and even lies will be easy to identify. lying has a pattern, here are some sure-shot signs of a liar to watch out for.
1. Questions your ‘questions’
A seasoned liar avoids answering a direct question. He uses a variety of tactics to deviate the spouse from the topic and redirects the question towards you. Chances are, you will fall for it as well. A classic example:
You: Are you attracted to her?
Him: How could you think I would be attracted to her!
This gives him time to think and come up with more lies. If you feel you are being played, be stern and ask to answer in a direct “Yes” or “No”. If he still takes time to answer, chances are that he is hiding things from you.
Another way to check if he is lying is to check for gaslighting. This is when a person tries to make you question your judgment and manipulate you into thinking that you are wrong.
In this case he is trying to gaslight you with his lies.
2. Uses ‘word-fillers’ to respond quite often
Lying husbands need a longer time to process a lie and make it sound believable and truthful to their wives. Liars buy time through the use of word fillers like “umm”, “ah huh”, etc. to process thinking while formulating a believable lie in the middle of a conversation.
Also check for the word, you know, and I mean are huge word fillers. But remember they could be habit words too, so you need to see if these word fillers are used in every conversation or in only some. Dealing with a lying husband is not easy. Check if he is being fidgety, sweaty, nervous or tense.
Check if your husband is speaking more formally with you than he normally does? This is a sign that he is under stress and could be related to lying.
Related Reading: Dealing With A Cranky Husband – 13 Tips That Work
3. Takes longer response time, even for easy questions
Even for hot questions that can be easily answered within seconds with a “Yes” or a “No”, a lying husband may use the ‘excuse escape’ to avoid tricky situations. Because lying takes effort, words don’t flow as smoothly when someone is telling a lie.
They have to pause and search for words to fit. If you witness such behaviour, then there are chances that he is trying to hide things or keeping a secret from you. You could ask follow-up questions, they should be even more discerning. His response to those will be vague. That could be a clue.
What to do when your husband lies to you all the time? Just check if he is thinking a lot before answering your simple question. “Were you at golf?” could have been your question. Instead of a simple “Yes” he could be taking off his coat, his shoes, arranging those in the closet then answering you. This means he is biding time and thinking of the “right answer”.
4. His ‘speech patterns’ keep changing
Ironically, when a husband lies, he may use a higher pitch more often to cover up the wrongdoing in a relationship. Or his hesitation in replying can be experienced through slips of the tongue and grammatical errors.
He may even talk fast; just to end the uneasy conversation with the wife. Such discrepancies in the tone of voice and speech patterns reveal the truth that he may be lying to his sweetheart.
Also, check if they are stuttering and they normally don’t. Dealing with lying in a relationship is not easy but you have to keep a watch on this.
Stuttering and using filler words go hand in hand because both are virtually involuntary reactions to trying to speak something that’s not the truth. Remember anxiety and nervousness causes a change in voice pitch, also it can be a distracting tactic!
5. Decode ‘hand-to-face’ gestures
Lies, when uttered, don’t support the natural body language. Even when a compulsive liar frames a convincing reply, his body may exhibit extreme signs of physical stress. A wife can observe and take cues from these body language signs to find out whether her husband is lying or not.
Keep an eye on his eye movements. If the husband avoids making eye contact in a conversation, then this may reveal his reluctance in sharing the truth with you.
Even if he is able to maintain eye-to-eye contact, he may feel uncomfortable. Additionally, if he dramatically blinks his eyes or squints more often, then do watch out for a lie
His facial expressions keep changing during the course of the lie. He may support his fabricated words with a fake smile that does not reach the eyes. Or he may cover the face, rub the eyes or nose more often to evade confrontation. Biting the lip or sweating, slight blushing might indicate a lie being uttered
Standing with crossed arms or sitting with legs crossed means he is being defensive. Hiding hands in his pocket may signify that he is not coming clean in the conversation.
Check if he is trying to end the conversation and flee the room. Where is his body pointed towards, you or in the direction of the door?
6. His lie ‘versions’ keep changing
A lie story is not always the same; it keeps on changing every time someone probes about it. The inconsistencies in recalling accounts, even in minor details, are solid proof that the spouse is lying. You could ask them to tell the story backwards.
If you suspect your husband of lying ask him to recall events backwards rather than forward in time. He will probably goof up in the little details. For example, start at the end of a story and ask them to explain what happened right before that point. And then, before that… and so on.
This could sound a bit like you are trying to interrogate him. A better way to do it is suddenly ask a question related to some incident he told you a few days back. If he was lying he would not know where to pick up from suddenly. If he wasn’t lying he would be able to repeat things word by word without a thought.
7. Guards phone next to life
A cheating husband, in order to keep his extramarital affair a secret, will keep his phone guarded at all costs. He comes home late, hides things or plans secret getaways with the other woman.
To protect his lies and avoid any consequences, he may keep his phone with himself all the time.
If he spots you anywhere near his phone and blurts out in bafflement, or snatches it from you, then there are 100% chances that he is lying or protecting a secret.
If you find that he has suddenly password protected his phone then you have reason to believe he has been lying to you about all his late-night work pressure.
If he stiffens when you come near him when he is messaging and takes his call only in the balcony when you are not around, then you can be sure you are dealing with a lying husband.
The next step is to confront him for the lies and deal with the severity of the situation.
How To Cope And Deal With A Lying Husband?
Lies – be it about small things like smoking a cigarette or keeping big secrets like an extramarital affair – have no place in a committed relationship like marriage.
So, after tallying the sign of your spouse’s toxic lies pattern, perhaps it is time to confront him and address the problems in your marriage. Now is the time to act on a lying husband and try things to make sure he changes that.
Or at least let him know that you know that he is lying and you can spot it. If he is cheating on you and then lying about it we will tell you how you can deal with a lying spouse.
1. Review his lying pattern
The first step of dealing with a lying husband begins while reviewing the types of lies.
Does he lie to paint himself in a promising light? Or wants to avoid any shame or embarrassment like family background, past relationships, career challenges and financial status with the use of a lie?
Is he trying to keep an affair a secret and so lies constantly because he wants to have both women around him?
Or is he lying out of compulsion? In other words, lying is a part of his personality and life and he is a ‘pathological liar’.
Such individuals create an illusion around them through lies. He may reveal false information about everything, including the past, accomplishments, and family
If you review his lying pattern then you will know why he is lying. Is it just white lies that he is in a habit of uttering or it’s more dangerous and he is trying to gaslight you?
Understanding the degrees of lies will help you identify the next step in the spousal lie coping mechanism.
Related reading: 12 Warning Signs Of Gaslighting and 5 Ways To Deal With It
2. Reflect on how you will react if he tells you the truth
The second step is to contemplate your reactions after witnessing the reality of spousal lies. The premise is simple – unwanted situations and arguments may force him to lie. So, imagine the scenarios around the lies of your husband.
If he was honest and open about him spending time with his friends, would you get angry or retaliate? Or if he forgot to buy groceries one day, would you yell at him and blow things out of proportion?
If YES is your answer, then you are also even if in part, responsible for the toxic lying pattern. So, while dealing with the lying husband, understand that he needs a safe and trusted environment that values honesty and encourages him to speak the truth.
3. Communicate and beat the toxicity of lies together as a couple
The next way to deal with the negative lying pattern is to communicate this issue to your spouse. Tell him that you are hurt that he doesn’t trust you and keeps on lying to keep things comfortable in the marriage.
Accept your flaws of impulsive and irrational reactions as well. Have a heart-to-heart chat and work together to beat the toxic influences in your marriage by curbing lies and being more honest with each other.
Dealing with lying in a relationship is not easy. You might already have serious issues in the relationship that is leading to this whole lying syndrome.
First straighten out those issues. You may take the help of relationship counselling to do that. Then the lying would automatically stop.
4. Confront him if it is an extramarital affair
How do I deal with a husband who is lying in a marriage? If he is unfaithful in a marriage, then confronting is a powerful way to express your hurt and resentment. You can check for the signs of cheating, if you identify with them you will have to act on it.
Have open communication with him and tell him how betrayed you feel due to his dishonesty in marriage via an extramarital affair.
Lies can tie you and your spouse in a cobweb of toxicity. So, the moment you find out your husband is lying to you, don’t ignore it. Our Bonobology relationship counsellors also reiterate the fact that a lie has no place in a relationship like a marriage.
Many couples share how this toxic lying pattern can crack or break the very foundations of trust. So, to save your marriages from this torment, catch the ‘lying bug’ in time and crush it. This is one of the trusted ways of dealing with a lying husband and saving many marriages from negatives like secrecy and dishonesty.
Compulsive lying habit plants doubt in a wife’s mind and proves to be detrimental, especially in an intimate relationship like marriage, which is based on trust and honesty. While the husband might think they are using white lies to protect the marriage, the opposite can happen.
Your husband lies to you about everything maybe because it’s a habit, he is compulsive liar. He could also be cheating so he is constantly lying to cover your tracks.
You need to understand why he is lying. Do you get argumentative or yell at him if he makes small mistakes? Chances are he lies to you to avoid such a situation. He could be lying to you because he is cheating or there could be deeper issues in the relationship. You can confront him or look for counselling too.
There is no reason not to stay with your lying husband. But if you feel that his lies are taking a toll on your mental health and you see no sign of him changing, then you can think of walking out.