Lies are a ‘man’s cheat code’ to a happy marriage that can keep their spouses pleased. Many husbands don’t believe that relationship lies bring harm to their marriage. In fact, they feel it is an ‘easy escape route’ to many of the arguments, disagreements and discontentment. It is their way to make things comfortable and preserve the relationship’s quality and sanity. But do experts agree on it? Many men feel that lies about small things are ‘okay’ as long as they are loyal in marriage. However, ‘lies are lies’ and even the small ‘harmless’ ones can erode many marriages with their negative and toxic influence. Let us explore the dimensions and dig out the details on why husbands utter lies for small things.
Why do husbands lie about small things?
Every husband has his own reasons why harmless ‘white lies’ dominate his interactions with his wife. He may use it to protect the relationship, hide a secret, dodge a conflict or turn the situations in his favour. He may feel that being crudely honest with the spouse might hurt her, and fabricating little lies for no reason at all may help him avoid tricky arguments.
But, as they say, ‘lie begets lie’, and once a husband starts resorting to lies, there is no escape from it. 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 when in need. Chances are she may never trust you and question you even for the truths you say. So, this compulsive lying habit plants a 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 buying the fish from the market. Can you order it from the store?”
- “She is just a friend, you are just overthinking too much.”
These small lies are his ways to assure his wife of his commitment to the marriage. But in the long run, this may be termed as manipulation and toxicity in the couple’s life. These white lies may become more insidious with the entry of an ex-partner. He may start hiding his meetings with the ex to avoid confrontations with the wife. This may sow the seed to infidelity. So, lying in marriage slyly erodes the quality of marital relationships. 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 signs of a lying husband to watch out for
When you live with your husband, you know him inside out. How he reacts to situations, addresses tricky challenges, and even lies will be easily identifiable to you. But still, if you find it difficult to identify the lying pattern, here are some sure-shot signs of a liar to watch out for.
1. Question 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. But if you feel there is a ploy involved, then adopt a stern stance and ask your hubby to answer in a direct “Yes” or “No”. If he still takes time to answer, chances are high that he is hiding things from you.
2. Use ‘word-fillers’ to respond quite often
Lying husbands need 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.
3. Take 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 liar may use the ‘excuse escape’ to avoid tricky situations. If you witness such behaviour, then there are chances that he is trying to hide things or keeping a secret from you.
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.
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 the 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
- His nervous body moves, like fidgeting, antsy foot movements like toe-tapping or shuffling also come under a wife’s lie scanner
- Standing with crossed arms or sitting with legs showcases his instinct for defence through lies
- Hiding hands in his pocket may signify that he is not coming clean in the conversation
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.
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. 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, it is the right time to confront him and address the problems in your marriage.
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 lie
- Is he trying to keep an affair in secret and staying away from trouble in marriage with constant lies
- 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
Understanding the degrees of lies will help you identify the next step in the spousal lie coping mechanism.
Related reading: 12 signs of a lying spouse
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 equally 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 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.
4. Confront if lies are breaching the commitment in the marriage, that is, an extramarital affair
If he is unfaithful in a marriage, then confronting is a powerful way to express your hurt and resentment. 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 the negatives like secrecy and dishonesty.