How To Tell If Your Partner Is Lying About Cheating?

Affair and Cheating | | , Researcher & Content Writer
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how to tell if your partner is lying about cheating

On one hand, you have this gut feeling that something is not quite right. On the other, a voice inside your head tells you that maybe you are just overthinking and being paranoid. Well, you don’t necessarily need superpowers to know how to tell if your partner is lying about cheating. You can identify a lying partner by spotting some obvious signs.

You might have millions of questions – How to find out if your partner is talking to someone else? Is there a new reason that they work later than usual these days? Is cheating a pattern? Why don’t cheaters admit to their transgressions? Don’t let these concerns wreak havoc with your sanity. Cheating in relationships is widespread. As per a study conducted by the Institute for Family Studies, around 20% of married men and approximately 13% of married women reported cheating on their spouses.

With infidelity being so common, it is natural for you to end up feeling like Sherlock Holmes, trying to investigate and analyze every move your partner makes. Today, allow us to be your Watson to help you figure out if your partner is lying about cheating. To shed more light on the things cheaters lie about, we spoke 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), who specializes in counseling for extramarital affairs, breakups, separation, grief, and loss, to name a few.

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

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche 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 the kinds of liars who lie with a straight face.”

You have come to the right place today if you feel like there is good reason for you to doubt your partner. Let us put the matter to rest today. How can you find out if your partner is lying about cheating? Here are some expert tips:

1. Their body language is evasive

According to Pooja, “Evasive body language is a sure-shot sign of compulsive cheating and lying. A lying partner 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. In spite of all their pretended ease, their body language will have a different story to tell.

Take this quick quiz to tell if your partner is lying about cheating:

  • Do you notice hesitation in your partner’s speech? Yes/No
  • Do they blink rapidly or sweat while trying to come up with a believable story to cover their tracks? Yes/No
  • Have you observed them exaggerating a simple story or using white lies? Yes/No
  • Do you often find your partner avoiding too much eye contact while talking to you? Yes/No
  • Are they beating around the bush trying to lie about their whereabouts? Yes/No
  • Do you find them restless or fidgety when they talk to you? Yes/No
  • Do they not spend time with you anymore? Yes/No
  • Do they have a history of lying about small things? Yes/No

If you have answered in the affirmative to three or more of the above questions, chances are that you have a lying partner who is cheating on you. Pay close attention to their body language (like their voice suddenly cracking or becoming high-pitched). Or if they have been avoiding too much eye contact in general.

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

2. They give too many or vague details

Your spouse could be lying about cheating by trying to create a smooth narrative. Well, liars can be great storytellers. They will paint an elaborate picture for you and overwhelm you with little details of their stories. They will describe everything so minutely that it becomes unfathomable for you to understand 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 deception. 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.

Related Reading: Avoidant Attachment: Causes And How it Affects Relationships

3. A way to identify a lying partner is to watch the way they protect their 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 in a romantic relationship? How to tell if your partner is cheating and lying about it? Here are a few signs to watch out for:

  • They start password-protecting their devices all of a sudden
  • If they have lied about cheating to you, you’ll notice how their phone is always kept face down
  • They go to a corner to pick up some calls/Do not pick up calls when you are around
  • They get defensive and angrily say, “How dare you look at my email?” 
  • Instead of confessing cheating to their partner, they hide their text messages
  • They carry their devices around like a limb, lest you chance upon something they don’t want you to

If your partner has been displaying most of these tendencies, 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, “You shouldn’t just show up at my workplace” 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 their devices all of a sudden?

4. How to tell if your partner is cheating and lying? They’re gaslighting you

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?” Sadly, gaslighting is something that accompanies cheating and lying in a relationship.

They make you feel guilty about their actions. As a result, you start questioning your sanity, because you are unsure if they are telling the truth. They will manipulate you to such an extent that you will start doubting yourself. Gaslighting in relationships is a classic tactic used to cover up compulsive cheating and lying.

5. There are odd time gaps in their routine

Pooja advises, “Here’s my sneaky tip on how to tell if your partner is lying about cheating. When people lie in relationships, there will be a lot of time unaccounted for 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.”

To ascertain if your hunch about your partner lying to you has any merit to it, ask yourself:

  • Does your spouse suddenly have a busier schedule with no time to spend with you?
  • Do you often hear complaints of an increased workload or stress from other tasks?
  • Have their office meetings been getting stretched late into the night?
  • Are there any sudden, unexplained disappearing acts?
  • Do they always have errands to run?
  • Has your sex life gotten worse lately?

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 phrases cheaters use to lie to their partners. If this behavior is new or recent, then there is definitely something fishy going on. 

Related Reading: 12 Signs Of A Lying Spouse

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

You may notice that they’ve started saying, “I love you” more often or sending you cheesy texts. Suddenly showering you with gifts or romantic texts is one way for a lying spouse to deflect your suspicion. But is he lying about cheating? Does she have something to hide? How can you find out? How are most affairs discovered?

One way to tell if your partner is being dishonest is to notice changes in their behavior. Is he dressing better as if to impress someone? Or is she becoming detached when it comes to your family and friends? When you suspect your partner is cheating, look out for these signs:

  • Unexplained behavioral changes
  • Diversions in a confrontation
  • Excessive sugary/romantic gestures
  • Lying about little things
  • Avoidable arguments
  • No concern for your well-being

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

7. There’s also been a change in behavior of their friends or family

There are a lot of things cheaters lie about. But chances are that someone in their life is privy to all that they’ve been trying to hide from you. Perhaps they confide in their best friend to cope with the cheater’s guilt that’s overwhelming them. Or maybe their sibling or cousin covers for them when needed. 

How can you catch a partner who lies about cheating? Notice the behavior of their close friends or family members.

  • Are they treating you differently?
  • Do they get uncomfortable around you?
  • Do they avoid you or display negative emotions toward you?
  • Are they increasingly becoming indifferent to you?
  • Do you find them disengaging or distancing themselves from you?

If the answer is yes, then it could be because they feel uncomfortable by the truth.

Is My Partner Cheating On Me?

8. Your partner has started expressing 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.

Can a person be in love with their partner and still cheat on them?

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. To find out if your partner is lying about cheating, look for a few indirect signs. Before you grumble, “My wife lied about talking to another man. It’s unbelievable. How could she do this to me?” introspect whether you’ve turned a deaf ear to her complaints about certain relationship issues.

Stories on cheating

9. See it in the small lies

You know your spouse is lying about cheating when your conversations are peppered with seemingly innocuous lies. The small lies are the initial red flags in a relationship that you should not ignore. Sooner than you realize, the seemingly trivial lies often turn into big lies. 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 small instances of dishonesty, remember that they are not so small. Also, what to do when such small discrepancies become big lies, like cheating? Pooja says, “Confront them with the truth. That is the only way to deal with this. Also, make notes. False stories often contradict themselves when your partner is lying and cheating on you.”

Related Reading: Confessing Cheating To Your Partner: 11 Expert Tips

What To Do If Your Partner Is Lying About Cheating?

Now that you’ve gone through the difficult realization, it is time to think about what you should do next at this point in your relationship. Right now, you might feel like you are at a crossroads. One part of you wants to leave, and the other wants them to feel sorry and make amends with you. Lying about an affair can take a great mental toll on the both of you. But even though you are tormented by it all, here is what you can do:

  • Confront them: When confronting a cheater, make sure you choose the right time and place. Also, make sure you have the evidence in place and approach them in a calm and neutral manner. Moreover, be mentally prepared that they are going to deny your allegations. In marriages, sometimes husbands or wives who cheat and lie find it easier to come clean rather than in relationships
  • Acknowledge your own mistakes: A conversation like this will throw up a lot of relationship arguments about other things. If they blame you because they lied about cheating, don’t allow them to pin their mistake on you. But if things have been going wrong in your relationship, do take responsibility for your faults too
  • Tell them you feel disrespected: When a man cheats and lies to his partner, or a woman has an extramarital affair, more than anything else, the other person in the relationship feels disrespected. Make sure that your partner realizes how undervalued or used you feel. Let them know that they should not disrespect you again in such a manner
  • Stick to a decision: Take some time to decide where you want to go from there. Do you want to work on things, or do you want to walk away from them? Do not let them influence you, and let this be a completely personal decision of what you want to do with your life
  • Try couple’s counseling: If you have decided that this person is your life partner and you are willing to forgive them, counseling will help you two get on track and get rid of any residual tension or feelings. Try to take the help of a therapist and work on your relationship

While it is very difficult to undergo an episode of infidelity in your relationship, it does not mean that you and your partner will not make it to the other side. If you believe they are finally telling the truth, then all might be well soon. Take some time and let them repair the trust, if you are committed to being with them. If not, then there is no harm in being single for a while.

Key Pointers

  • To spot the signs of a liar and cheater, you’ll need to notice the smallest of behavioral changes in your partner
  • The way your spouse is speaking to you, their body language, their tone, their eyes, and not making too much eye contact with you can all be dead giveaways of their lies
  • You can even figure out how to tell if someone is lying about cheating over texts
  • Playing blame games, picking up fights, making up endless stories, giving you less time, and expressing dissatisfaction with the relationship are some of the signs to watch out for
  • Instead of ignoring or trivializing the issue, talk it out with your partner

Finally, infidelity is traumatizing and it might leave a serious dent on your self-esteem and riddle you with trust issues for life. Coping with something like that needs healing on a deeper level. Seeking professional help becomes the need of the hour in such cases. Our counselors from Bonobology’s panel, like Pooja Priyamvada, will hold your hand through this journey. 

This article was updated in July 2023.


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. Moreover, if they use fewer personal pronouns like “I” or “we,” this is also a subconscious sign that they may be hiding something from you.

2. How do cheaters react when confronted?

This can vary from getting absolutely aggressive to being in complete denial. Some of the shocking things cheaters say when confronted are: It was just physical, not emotional. It was nothing. It didn’t mean anything to me. They 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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