The key ingredient in any relationship is trust. Without trust, there can be no honesty to love. And the one element that erodes everything that is positive in a relationship is a lie. When someone lies to you in a relationship, you lose trust in him or her. Lying in a relationship results in a domino effect where everything and anything you cherish slowly begins to crumble.
Why do people lie? One of the many reasons is that they are afraid to face the repercussions if they confess to doing something wrong. Both men and women lie to their partners, either due to the fear of displeasing them or to hide their own wrongdoing. Unfortunately, one white lie results in another, and before you know it, lying becomes a habit.
The question that looms large then is: what to do when someone lies to you in a relationship? Ignoring the fact your partner is lying to you can become harder and harder with every untruthful tale they spin for you. Being lied to by someone you love is not only crushing but can also erode trust, leaving your relationship on shaky ground. So, what can you do to address it? Let’s try to understand. But first, you need to learn to read the signs of dishonesty in a relationship correctly.
How To Identify When Someone Is Lying To You In A Relationship?
How many people lie in relationships? If you’ve asked yourself this after being lied to by your partner, perhaps you can find solace in the fact that you’re not the only one at the receiving end of dishonesty in a relationship. A study by the University of Massachusetts found that most people lie in everyday conversations. According to psychologist Robert S. Feldman, about 60% of people lied at least once during a 10-minute conversation and told an average of two to three lies.
Men and women both lie for varied reasons. But being lied to by someone you love truly sucks and hurts. While a lying boyfriend or girlfriend feels they can get away with their excuses, the fact is when someone lies to you in a relationship there are some tell-tale clues that are a dead giveaway. Watch out for these signs of dishonesty in a relationship and be wary:
1. They behave differently
When someone lies to you in a relationship, every change in their behavior stands out. So from being distant and reserved, if they suddenly become too caring and understanding, or vice-versa, know that there is more to their behavior than a mood swing. One moment you might feel they have checked out of the relationship, the next moment they are in the best mood.
Consistency is the hallmark of a good relationship so when you see behavior that is inconsistent with their real nature or personality, the warning bells should ring loud and clear. This is one of the most telling indicators of lying and deception in relationships.
Related Reading: How To Maintain Your Sanity If Your Partner Is A Compulsive Liar
2. When their lines feel rehearsed
If your partner narrates a story that seems scripted and sounds different from the way they normally speak, your antenna should go up. For instance, if they narrate a simple incident several times, in the exact same manner as on the previous occasions, it is a warning sign that something is amiss. Uttering rehearsed lines can also be a sign of cheating.
One simple way of catching them unawares is to ask them the same question again after a few days. If the answer seems perfectly rehearsed, and they respond without a single pause or missing a beat like a memorized speech, it is fishy. Why? Because normally one would change one’s tone or miss out on a few minor details while narrating the same incident.
3. When they are vague on details
Too many details or too few details are both enough to arouse suspicions. The basic psychology of lying in relationships is that a liar, in a bid to sound as truthful and real as possible, tends to over-explain a situation, adding too many details to the story.
On other occasions, they may deliberately sound vague and unresponsive to prevent further questioning. This could be a classic case of lying by omission in relationships. For instance, Tara’s boyfriend, who was cheating on her, would narrate the goings-on of his day in great detail to her. He’d carefully leave out the part that he was doing most of these things with a coworker he was sleeping with.
One casual slip of the tongue was enough for Tara to catch him on his lie, and the skeletons came tumbling out of the closet. If you suspect your partner of lying, you need to be smart with your counter questions to catch them. When someone lies to you in a relationship, there is a little guilt factor at play. For instance, it could be they are lying to deal with cheating guilt, so they would do everything in their book to not raise any doubt.
4. Body language
This is perhaps the most common sign but bears repetition. When someone lies to you in a relationship, their body language changes. They would fidget a bit, play with their hair, make hand gestures, and so on. If they are completely spinning a yarn, they will avoid meeting your eyes. These are absolute signs of a lying spouse.
Notice the change in their voice if you need to question them about their whereabouts and they can’t explain well – it would be a bit incoherent, lower in pitch and lacking in proper details. Unless they have mastered the art of lying perfectly, the voice and body language reveal their true self. Paying attention to detail is the simplest way of catching someone who’s lying in a relationship.
Related Reading: How To Deal With A Lying Husband?
How To Respond When Your SO Lies To You
Humiliation, rejection and anger are just some of the effects of dishonesty in a relationship. You feel taken for a royal ride when someone lies to you in a relationship. It’s even worse when someone lies to you and you know the truth or at least some part of the truth. The feeling of being disrespected increases as does the violation of trust.
During such times, being tempted to react impulsively is natural. You might either want to catch the person red-handed or wait for the right moment to burst out. Actually, both approaches are wrong. Before you decide to confront the lie, take a broader view and learn how to react when someone lies to you.
1. Get more answers
You might be hurt by a lie but realize that a lie is never told in isolation. There is usually a context and reason, however unreasonable it may seem to you. So when you find out that your partner has lied to you, after the initial shock wears off, dig around and find if there is more to the story.
Get the answers to the relevant questions – why did they lie? How long have they been lying?
Who else was involved in their lies? Were they lying about only one thing or are there many? Most importantly, what is the nature of their lies? Are they simple albeit annoying white lies or something far deeper like an affair or cheating you of money or even financial infidelity? The answers will determine how you must respond to lying and deception in relationships.
2. Watch if they have a pattern to their lies
Some men and women are such compulsive liars that they get away with their stories without any fear. When someone lies to you in a relationship, try and figure out if they are lying only to you and only in matters of your relationship or do they behave dishonestly with others as well.
Do they show such habits at work or with their friends? If yes, then probably they are habitual liars. It’s probably a behavioral pattern that needs correction. For instance, if you notice that your partner often lies to their friends, coworkers and parents as well to wriggle out of things they don’t want to do? Say a friend asks your partner to join them for a hike, but they say no on the pretext that they already have plans with you when all they intend to do is sleep in.
If so, lying just might be second nature to your partner. However, if they are hiding things from only you, then the matter will require a different and perhaps a more delicate approach. There are white lies couples tell each other but when lying becomes a part of a relationship it’s alarming.
Related Reading: 15 Questions To Ask A Romance Scammer To Identify Them
3. Do not confront them immediately
What to do when someone lies to you in a relationship? The answer to this question also lies in how not to address this issue. The worst thing you can do when you find that someone has lied to you in a relationship is to go all cylinders firing and confront them immediately. Give it time and present them with a bit of a long rope. Definitely be wary but gradually increase your questions to them.
So if they have been ‘staying late at work’ for an inordinately long time instead of just accepting what they say, ask them questions about work. Often to hide one lie, they have to give another. Let them do so. This way, you will also be able to get more substantial stories from them to talk about later.
4. Let them know that you are not buying their lies
Once you are sure that you are being lied to, do not act innocent. While you may have deferred the real questioning, let them know that you are aware of their intentions. This might embarrass them or put them on the defensive.
However, let them know that you are not going to buy into their stories anymore. You can do this by either asking open-ended questions or picking out small holes in their stories. But by not reacting or calling them out completely, you may give them the confidence to keep lying and taking you for a ride.
If you let small lies slide, you may be left grappling with regrets like ‘my whole marriage was a lie’ or ‘I wasted years on a sham of a relationship’ when the dishonesty snowballs into something bigger and takes a toll on trust.
What To Do When Someone Lies To You In A Relationship
So now you spotted the signs of dishonesty in a relationship, have confirmed that you are being lied to, and have responded cautiously and effectively. The realization of being lied to by someone you love gives way to a host of questions: What to do when someone lies to you in a relationship? How are you going to deal with these lies? For how long are you going to keep quiet?
Lying – be it in the form of exaggerations or hiding facts or twisting the truth to manipulate you – can be hurtful. Depending on the depth of the relationship and the impact of the lies, you have to make a choice – do you stay in such a relationship or give it another chance? Here are some things you can do when someone lies to you in a relationship:
1. Confront them with evidence
When the lies and the cheating reach unacceptable limits, it is time to confront your partner. Before you do so, ensure that you have all the facts in place. Ensure that you are the one leading the conversation. So instead of waiting for an opportune time, create the ‘we need to talk’ moment.
Martha found that her boyfriend, Jake, was constantly in touch with his ex-wife even though he had assured her that his ex was completely out of the picture. “He lied at the beginning of the relationship and I wasn’t going to have it. So when I chanced upon their text exchanges, I immediately confronted him and told Jake in no uncertain terms that he needed to be transparent with me if he wanted the relationship to continue. Calling him out on a lie wasn’t the easiest thing to do but it had to be done,” she says.
This is a delicate conversation and can go either way for you are essentially going to call them out on their lies. So perhaps it would be a good idea to have a witness, perhaps a close friend, who can be present at that moment.
2. Do not lose your integrity
The fact that someone you placed your trust in and invested emotions in has been less than honest with you is terrible. But try not to let the effects of dishonesty in a relationship take a toll on your integrity. Do not let your trust issues determine how you deal with your partner. They may have stooped low, but you need to rise higher. Do not play games back at them or humiliate them.
Instead, be your authentic self. When you confront them, be honest about how their actions have hurt you. Instead of blaming them (which might make them justify their actions), talk about you and your feelings. Ultimately, that’s the only thing that matters. Your poised and composed reaction to your partner’s lies and deceit can have a far more profound impact on them than any amount of yelling and screaming would.
Related Reading: What Are The Most Common Lies Women Believe About Men?
3. Question the objectives of your relationship
Coach Adrian, relationship counselor and contributor to Love Advice TV has a simple suggestion – list down the objectives of your relationship. “Are you trying to change someone that can’t be changed? Or are you trying to fight for a relationship that can’t be salvaged?”
Now, just because a person cheats or lies, does not mean they do not love you. Probably they made mistakes and had to lie. But that’s where your feelings come into play. Are you willing to overlook their transgressions because your relationship is defined by a lot more? Do you feel you would end up spending the rest of your life figuring out how to get over someone lying to you? If it’s the latter, then it might be worthwhile to seriously consider walking out.
4. Trust your guts
A little fib here or there may not warrant breaking off a relationship but small steps lead to bigger sins. We say, trust your instincts on it. If you confront your partner with his or her lies, see if they are truly remorseful and ashamed.
Never trivialize or downplay your hurt because they are valid. So trust your instincts on whether you can ever believe in your relationship again. Don’t keep mulling over questions like, “Is he cheating or am I paranoid?” If you feel you can’t forgive and forget, then do not hesitate to take a drastic step like a trial separation or walking out for a bit until you know what you want to do.
Any relationship is based on honesty but at times, when that gets compromised, several other parallel factors are also impacted. While it is always advisable to think about the consequences before jumping to conclusions, do not allow anyone – even your romantic partner – to disrespect you with lies. Everything you do thereafter is a reflection of how you value yourself.
Lies can destroy a relationship. When someone lies in a relationship, they are basically breaking the promises they made to their partner. It becomes difficult to build trust after that.
The decision is entirely yours as forgiveness depends on the depth of the relationship, the impact of the lies on you and your partner’s life and what the objectives of your relationship are.
Relationships can be ruined by lies because often it never stops at one lie. To hide facts, a person has to invent more excuses and stories. The result is that the very foundation of a relationship gets broken.
If the lies are too big and have devastated your trust you can’t get over them. It would be best to take a break in the relationship and see how you feel about your partner. If the betrayal is too deep, it is best to break it.