What To Do When You Realize Your Relationship Is A Lie

Suffering and Healing | | , Copywriter & Sports journalist
Updated On: February 8, 2024
realizing your relationship was a lie

Relationships require a lot of work. You spend countless hours with each other, and you learn about your partner’s little quirks and why their distant uncle in Nashville never wears anything but overalls. All that effort goes down the drain when you realize your relationship was a lie. That’s bound to make your world around you come crashing down.

When a relationship is based on lies, you feel betrayed, cheated, as if you’ve been treated unjustly and made to feel less than human. Just acknowledging the magnitude of the disrespect might seem impossible, and all you want to do is stay in a dark room, thinking about why this happened to you. 

It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral when you realize your relationship was a lie all along. To help you take the first step toward leaving this setback behind, let’s talk about everything you need to do and keep in mind.

How To Know Your Relationship Is Based On Lies

Before we can answer things like why do people lie in relationships and figure out what to do when you end up realizing your relationship was a lie, it’s important to take a look at how to know if yours is actually based on deceit.

If your paranoid mind leads you to believe that the perfectly healthy bond you have is in jeopardy because your partner didn’t tell you about how they like hip-hop music, you may be getting ahead of yourself. To make sure something like that doesn’t happen, it’s important to take a look at the following signs your relationship is based on lies:

1. If your partner doesn’t respect you, it indicates a major problem

As you might have found out the hard way, love isn’t all it takes to make a relationship thrive. A lack of mutual respect in a relationship can rot it from the core, and a blatant display of disrespect just signals that your partner has the capability of lying in a relationship.

If your partner doesn’t respect you, they wouldn’t think much of lying to you either. They won’t hold the relationship as sacred as you might, and won’t really care too much about hurting your feelings. 

2. Lying in a relationship comes naturally to them 

Harmless lies like not telling your partner that you don’t like their cologne is okay, especially at the beginning of a relationship. But if you catch your partner lying about things like who they hang out with, who they’re texting or anything along those lines, it’s a major cause for concern. 

Often, the very act of realizing your relationship was a lie happens when you uncover the truth behind all those lies your partner might have told you. So if you already see them lying to you a lot, it might signal a larger problem. 

Related Reading: What To Do When Someone Lies In A Relationship

3. They’ve lied or withheld information about their past 

You don’t really need to know every single thing your partner did before they started a relationship with you, but if they lie about major events that transpired, it might lead you to have a flawed perception of this person. 

Sure, they may be embarrassed about something or may not like to talk about it, but if yours is a long-term relationship, you must know all major incidents – a divorce, a broken engagement, expulsion from college, a fling with their bestie’s ex, and what have you – that took place in the past.

4. They lie about money or their life 

Why do people lie in relationships? It might be to present themselves as larger than life or make themselves appear more desirable than they are. Whatever be the reason, if you find out your partner is lying about their profession, their spending habits or something equally important, your bond will never be truthful.

5. You’re being cheated on or you’re being used

Your relationship is a lie if you're being cheated on
Your relationship is a lie if you’re being cheated on

If your relationship is solely based on lust and you’re being used for sexual pleasure, or if you’re being used for social standing or money, it signifies that your relationship is based on lies. It’s pretty obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning: if your partner disrespects the agreed-upon tenets of monogamy, you’re not in the most truthful dynamic.

6. You’ve never been introduced to their friends or family 

If it feels like you’re being hidden away, you probably are. In some cases, a person might have just been trying to be cautious before introducing a new partner to their family, but if you’ve been together for upwards of 6–10 months and haven’t met their friends yet, your relationship and lies go hand in hand.

Realizing your relationship was a lie may be a gradual process of uncovering the track record of deceit or may hit you like an avalanche or reality check. Sooner or later, however, what’s done in the dark always finds a way to shine. When it does, you may realize you’ve been a part of a toxic relationship all along.

“He lied to me about everything. He never told me about the past marriages he had, and I only found out when he was given custody of a child from his past marriage. Eventually, I found out he lied about the gender of his assistant as well, who he had been having an affair with,” Emma told us, talking about how her relationship was based on lies.

When something similar happens to you, a debilitating sense of grief can take hold. To help you bounce back, let’s take a look at all you need to do after realizing your relationship was a lie.

Related Reading: What Are The Most Common Lies Women Believe About Men?

Realizing Your Relationship Was A Lie: Next Steps

Perhaps you found out your partner has been cheating on you for the entirety of your time together. Or you’ve just found out they’re not who they say they are, and they’ve lied about every aspect of their background.

Whatever it is, realizing your relationship was a lie is not an easy thing to deal with. Let’s take a look at how you can start your road to recovery: 

1. Put yourself first

First things first, start doing things that will be good for you, even if it seems a little selfish. If you’ve got to cut a few people out for the sake of your mental health, so be it. Try not to isolate yourself, but taking some time to reflect on everything that has happened will be beneficial.

Make all future decisions keeping your needs in mind, and not how they’ll affect others around you. Don’t let wishful thinking take hold, your partner isn’t going to change their ways to accommodate a healthy relationship with you. 

“My husband lied to me for years. He was having an affair with multiple coworkers and constantly made me feel crazy for thinking it. Once I found out, I cut all of them off, divorced him immediately and decided to never contact him again. It’s been 4 years, I’ve never felt happier,” Janet told us. 

Sure, relationships and lies are never mutually exclusive of each other, but if you’ve been betrayed, it’s time you put yourself first.

2. Get as much information as you can

We know, this may seem counterproductive. But knowing the fickle nature of our infatuated minds, it won’t be surprising if you find yourself thinking, “S/he wasn’t so bad, you know…” even after this person has cheated on you.

To prevent wishful thinking from setting in, make sure you get as much information about the extent of the relationship lie as you can. As a result, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about if you want to completely cut off, or if you want to assess things further. Word of advice: you’ve already been lied to once, don’t be too quick to trust this person again. 

unhealthy relationship

3. Implement no-contact

If you can’t see yourself forgiving the relationship lies and have decided to move on, cutting off all contact with this person is an absolute necessity. Follow the no-contact rule religiously, block this person on all social media and block their number, it’s the only real way you can move on. 

“I thought our suburban life was going great, but when his 9-5 turned into a 9-9, I knew something was up. Little did I know, my husband lied to me for years about where he spends his time, and as soon as his affair came to light, I decided to leave and cut him off. It was difficult to have no contact with him, I faltered multiple times too, but I eventually cut him off completely. A betrayal of such proportions is not something I could forgive,” Martha told us. 

Related Reading: 6 Relationship Problems Millennials Bring Up The Most In Therapy

4. Seek professional help 

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, saying things like, “He lied to me about everything, I can never trust anyone again”, try to get help to help you move on. Sometimes, even after years of trying, we can often come up short while trying to move on from the hurt and the pain someone causes us. 

Thus, seeking the help of a licensed professional mental health therapist can do wonders for you. It’ll help you get your confidence back and show you the path toward putting you back on your feet again. If it’s help you’re looking for, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists can help you deal with the realization that your relationship was a lie. 

Realizing that your relationship was a lie might shake your confidence and leave you with long-lasting mental harm. Hopefully, with the help of the steps we listed out for you today, you have a better idea of judging the strength of your relationship and what to do if the foundation is based on lies. Remember, you’re worthy of nothing but the best. Don’t settle for a love you think you deserve. 


1. How do you forgive a lie in a relationship?

If the person who lied is sincerely apologizing, making an effort to make amends and trying to build trust up again, you can try to forgive them. Acknowledge what you’re feeling and communicate it, and try not to bottle up your feelings. Talk to those you trust, and try to work through your emotions. The more you communicate, the more trust you will establish, the more sincerely you’ll be able to forgive them. 

2. How do you deal with a lying partner?

If your partner shows genuine remorse and wants to change, you must try to give them room to do so. However, if your partner refuses to stop lying despite knowing it hurts you, perhaps some more drastic measures are in order. Try to consult a couples’ therapist, or think about what you want to do next.

3. Can a relationship overcome a lie?

Yes, a relationship can overcome a lie and both partners can start building up trust again. It’ll take a lot of honest and effective communication, but it’s not something that’s destined to end your relationship, unless you let it, that is. 

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