9 Expert Tips To Know If Your Partner Is Lying About Cheating

how to tell if your partner is lying about cheating

How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? On one hand, you have this gut feeling that something is not right. But another voice inside your head tells you that maybe you are just overthinking and being paranoid.

In such cases, you may end up feeling like Sherlock Holmes, trying to investigate and analyze every move your partner makes. But, spoiler alert! You are not Cumberbatch. You don’t own a trench coat and you don’t play the violin. You don’t have a Watson and so you definitely need some expert tips to help you figure out if your partner is lying about cheating or not.  

To shed more light on the things cheaters lie about, we talked to emotional wellness and mindfulness coach Pooja Priyamvada (certified in Psychological and Mental Health First Aid from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Sydney). She specializes in counseling for extramarital affairs, breakups, separation, grief, and loss, to name a few.

How To Tell If Your Partner Is Lying About Cheating? 9 Expert Tips

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzche once said, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” White lies in relationships not only break trust and faith but are also difficult to catch in the first place. 

As Pooja points out, “Poker faces are often seasoned liars. It is almost impossible to catch these kinds of liars who lie with a straight face.” So then how to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? Here are some expert tips:

1. Evasive body language

According to Pooja, “Evasive body language is a sure-shot sign of compulsive cheating and lying. They will avoid eye contact, fiddle, fumble and try to make some excuses.” People’s lips become pale and their faces become white/red when they lie.

Related Reading: 13 Sure-Shot Signs Someone Is Lying To You Over Text

How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? Do you notice hesitation in your partner’s speech? Or see them blinking rapidly or sweating as they try to come up with a believable story to cover their tracks? Or observe them exaggerating a simple story? Paying close attention to their body language (like their voice suddenly cracking or becoming high pitched) can be one way to tell if your partner is lying. 

2. Gives too many or vague details

How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? Well, liars can be great storytellers. They will paint an elaborate picture for you and envelop you in the little details of their stories. They will describe everything so minutely that it becomes unfathomable to you that they could lie in such great detail. 

On the other hand, some cheaters get really vague about details in an attempt to hide their lies. They may evade questions or change the subject. If your partner gets defensive when you ask them questions like “Where have you been?”, it could be one of the signs he is lying when confronted or she is being evasive to avoid getting caught.

But why would someone go to such a degree to lie? It could be that they are thrill-seekers or want to explore what non-monogamy feels like. Also, in their heads, one of the warning traits of serial cheaters is that they develop defense mechanisms to convince themselves. For example, “It’s not like I’m having an extramarital affair. It’s just sex outside of a relationship.”

Another possible reason could be that they are still carrying the trauma of their abusive past relationships and feel like self-sabotaging the moment the intimacy starts overwhelming them. This could be the result of an avoidant attachment style.

3. Now protects devices

Cherly Hughes writes in her book, Lovers and Beloved, “The truly scary thing about undiscovered lies is that they have a greater capacity to diminish us than exposed ones.” But how do you get to these undiscovered lies?

Related Reading: 12 Signs Of A Lying Spouse

How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? Have they started password-protecting their devices all of a sudden? Is their phone always kept face down? Do they go to a corner to pick up some calls? Do they get defensive and angrily say, “How dare you look at my email?” 

If the answer to the above questions is affirmative, there is a good chance you are caught in the thick of lies cheaters tell. Cheaters are not just protective about their devices but about certain places too. For example, “Don’t bother coming to my work anymore” or “Hey, this is my man/woman cave. Don’t touch anything here and respect my privacy.”

compulsive cheating and lying
Has your partner become possessive about his devices all of a sudden?

4. How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? Gaslighting

The word “gaslighting” takes us back to the lyrics of a famous Sam Smith song, “You say I’m crazy, ‘cause you don’t think I know what you’ve done. But when you call me baby, I know I’m not the only one.”

How to know if you are the ‘only one’ or not? What are the signs he is lying when confronted or she is cooking yet another story to prevent you from getting to the truth? A lying partner will make you feel that there is something wrong with you. Or will accuse you of being paranoid and say things like, “It’s unbelievable! Why are you being so insecure? Why can’t you just trust me?”

How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? They will make it all about ‘you’. You will start questioning your sanity. They will manipulate you to such an extent that you will start doubting yourself. So, gaslighting in relationships is a classic tactic used during compulsive cheating and lying.

5. Missing time

How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? Pooja answers, “There will be a lot of unaccounted for time in their schedule. To avoid having to explain where they were during this time, they would either act distant or shower you with expensive gifts without any reason.”

If you see them working overtime or coming home late almost every night because they were “helping out a buddy in crisis”, it could be one of the classic lies cheaters tell. If this behavior is new or recent, then there is definitely something fishy going on. 

6. How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? Altered behaviors

How to tell if someone is lying about cheating over text? All of a sudden, you notice they’re saying “I love you” more often or sending you cheesy texts. How are most affairs discovered? Sometimes, owing to guilt, a person behaves more affectionately to make up for his/her lies. And this is how he/she ends up getting caught.

What is the way to tell if your partner is lying? Notice changes in behaviors. Is he dressing better or has a new hairstyle like he is going out there to impress someone? Or is she becoming detached when it comes to your family and friends? 

Other signs of a cheating partner could be acting withdrawn, less affectionate and uninterested in future plans. Also, a cheater gets constantly distracted, picks unnecessary fights and is guilty/anxious all the time. He/she might stop discussing finances with you (to avoid having to offer explanations for money spent on their clandestine rendezvous) and may even have new hobbies that exclude you.

Related Reading: How To Regain Trust After Cheating: 12 Ways According To An Expert

7. Change in behaviors of their friends or family

There are a lot of things cheaters lie about. But at the same time, they are also honest with at least someone about their cheating. It could be that they confide in their best friend to cope with the guilt that’s overwhelming them. Or maybe their sibling or cousin covers for them when needed. 

How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? Notice the behaviors of their close friends or family members. Are they treating you differently? Do they get uncomfortable around you? Or do they avoid you or display negative emotions toward you? If the answer is yes, then it could be that they already know the uncomfortable truth.

8. Expresses dissatisfaction with the relationship

To understand cheating, we have to understand how cheaters feel about themselves. So, what is the psychology behind cheating and lying? Pooja answers, “The psychology behind cheating and lying is to have my cake and eat it too. To keep the relationship stable as well as have something going on the side.” Maybe, the good parts of your relationship are so good that your partner is unable to leave but when it comes to the rough patches, they find ways to escape.

Apart from wanting to have the best of both worlds, the feeling of unfulfillment in the relationship could be one of the reasons behind their cheating. How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? Look for the indirect signs. Are they constantly complaining about how exhausting your relationship is? Are they satisfied by the physical intimacy? 

This reminds me of the movie Marriage Story, which captures the various complexities of infidelity. There is a scene in which Nicole confronts Charlie about his infidelity and he says, “You shouldn’t be upset that I fucked her. You should be upset that I had a laugh with her!”

lies cheaters tell

9. How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? Small lies

How to tell if your partner is lying about cheating? The small lies are the initial red flags. The small lies often lead to big lies in relationships. Did he tell you he doesn’t watch porn but you caught him doing so one fine day? Or did she tell you she quit smoking but you could smell it on her shirt while doing the laundry?

If you notice the small instances of dishonesty, remember that they are not so small. Also, what to do when such small lies become big lies, like cheating? Pooja answers, “Confront them with truths. That is the only way to deal with this. Also, make notes. False stories often contradict themselves.”

Related Reading: How To Deal With A Lying Husband?

When confronting a cheater, make sure you choose the right time and place. Also, make sure you have the evidence in place and approach him/ her in a calm and neutral manner. Moreover, be mentally prepared that they are going to deny your allegations. 

Finally, infidelity is traumatizing and it might lead to a serious dent in self-esteem and trust issues for life. Coping with something like that needs healing at a deeper level. Seeking professional help becomes the need of the hour in such cases. Our counselors from Bonobology’s panel, like Pooja Priyamvada, can help you with this. 


1. How can you tell if your partner has cheated?

Avoiding eye contact, fiddling with things, touching your face, covering the mouth could be some of the nonverbal expressions that denote lying.

2. How do cheaters react when confronted?

This can vary from getting absolutely aggressive to being in complete denial. One of the shocking things cheaters say when confronted is “It was just physical, not emotional. It was nothing. It didn’t mean anything to me. The other woman/man enticed me.”

3. Can you trick a cheater to confess?

Not really, tricking in an already messy relationship won’t work. However, you can confront them with facts like pictures, records of conversations, meetings, etc. if you have them.

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