When your partner lies to you and you pick up on it, it can almost start feeling like the breakdown of a relationship is impending. White lies here and there could be excusable and something you might just get over. But when the big lies start creeping into your relationship, you will suddenly feel like you have no idea what to do next. Should you confront them? Catch them red-handed? Or just let it go?
If you feel like you have a lying partner on your hands who just doesn’t ever give you a straight answer anymore or if you think your wife is lying about cheating, you’ve come to the right place today. When your partner lies to you, figuring out the right way to deal with the situation can be a confusing journey.
Luckily, with the help of counseling psychologist and certified life-skills trainer Deepak Kashyap (Masters in Psychology of Education), who specializes in a range of mental health issues, including LGBTQ and closeted counseling, we can help you find the answer to what to do when your partner lies to you. The following query is from one of our readers directly to the psychologist. Let’s look at the below problem and understand the psychologist’s response.
What To Do When Your Partner Lies To You?
Q. I believe my wife has a habit of lying to me constantly over many things. It could be just small, everyday things. It could also be big things. And it is not just with me; I see her fibbing with her friends and with her relatives. I don’t know what to do. I have broached this topic with her but it hurts her ego, and she never admits to it. Ours is an arranged marriage. At first, it was all fun because it was the honeymoon period of our relationship and we were getting to know each other. But that daze is gone now and I now realize that she has lied to me about many things.
Once, when I confronted her about the same, she said that I would have never agreed to marry her if she had been truthful about certain things with me beforehand. Isn’t that an even bigger red flag? Sir, what do I do next? I know, marriage involves compromises, but her constant fibbing is getting to me.
Related Reading: 25 Most Common Relationship Problems
From the expert:
Ans: Compulsive lying is one of the significant symptoms of low self-esteem in a person. For whatever reason/s in the past, an individual’s brain develops lying as a coping and defense mechanism; essentially it means that the person is convinced that lying is the only way they can “survive in this punishing and judgmental world”.
The truth might have come at a heavy price for them in the past and thereby making them blind to the fact that lying too has its dire consequences and that’s why it is important to stop lying in a relationship. Like you said before when you try to bring to her attention the fact that she lies a lot “it hurts her ego” rather than her apologizing or doing something about it. A fragile ego is another symptom of a severely low assessment of one’s self, which could be the root cause of you having to deal with a lying partner.
I understand that it is challenging to deal with a situation when a partner lies to you way too much. It is like being with someone who can’t be trusted for their habit of lying, and one is singularly perturbed when it is one’s life partner. I sincerely suggest that you speak to her about your concerns, that is the most important way forward. Raise them as questions if you think that might help. For example, instead of saying, “Your lying is destroying my peace of mind,” ask something like, “How do you think this compulsive lying would affect our mental health?”
It cannot be denied that the problem needs to be looked at in its historical and personal context (with regards to your wife). Counseling and therapy are required so that your wife can unpack her fear of telling the truth about things, as she knows it. You may have a lying spouse on your hands but it can be navigated further with counseling.
Related Reading: Top 9 Reasons Why Relationships Fail
When Your Partner Lies, What May Be The Reasons Behind It?
We’ve gone over what the expert had to say but the story doesn’t end here. A lying spouse or lying partner can be a big problem in a relationship. So while the expert has given us a few ways to tackle it, Bonobology will take it from here and explain a few reasons as to why a partner may start lying in a relationship in the first place.
Ariana, a teacher based in Missouri said to us, “I lied to my husband about my illness because I was so afraid of his reaction. I knew that it would take a huge financial toll on us which is why I kept taking money from my parents and did not tell him about my surgeries. Now that I look back on it, I should not have been so scared of asking him for help. He has been very disappointed in me ever since the truth came out and the two of us have only drifted apart.”
Clearly, when your partner lies to you, it can take a huge toll on your relationship. But to work it out with the lying spouse, you need to also understand their side and where they came from. What they did probably isn’t right, but they had their reasons. Here are some of them.
1. Insecurities and the fear of being unloved
If your partner lied about the past with you or made up a story to get your approval, they’re not lying to you because they’re hiding something sinister or troublesome. It is possible that your lying partner is only making these things up because they’re worried that they won’t love you for who you are. As Deepak Kashyap mentioned above, low self-esteem is one of the primary causes of lying in a relationship.
To make themselves seem more desirable or interesting, your partner might lie to you about their past relationships or history with other people. Think about it this way: sometimes when your partner lies, it has far more to do with themselves than it has anything to do with you.
2. They are worried about disappointing you
Your spouse already knows that your reaction to the truth is going to be unfavorable, which is why they just prefer to lie through their teeth to you. To save themselves some kind of embarrassment or prevent a situation where you look down upon them, your partner might feel the need to conceal facts, keep things from you or tell a story differently.
3. The fear of losing you
Usually, if your husband or your wife is lying about cheating on you or something else equally big, it could well be because they don’t want to lose you. When your partner lies to you, it is mostly because they are worried that you are going to walk out on them.
Extramarital affairs, lying about how they were spending money, a big family secret or something to do with the kids, lies around these topics can often be deal-breakers in a relationship or a marriage. In that case, your spouse might lie to you to keep the relationship intact, avoid any kind of ugliness and just keep things going.
While there might indeed be plenty more reasons behind when a partner lies to you, these are the top three that are mostly the main causes. If you are indeed dealing with a lying partner, we advise you to approach the situation with love and empathy, regardless of how disrespected it might have made you feel. Stand strong, be as kind as you can be but don’t let them walk all over you.
At first, you might feel enraged, but try to bottle that up and toss that bottle away completely. The more you react aggressively, the more the liar feels endangered and scared to respond in a helpful way. Try to keep your cool, talk to them and figure out the cause of their lying. Is it jealousy or are you dealing with an insecure woman? Once you figure the cause out, walk them through it and work it out with them.
Yes, they can. But this can only happen if a couple works out the kinks and lies in the relationship and walks into a new phase with a clean slate and a commitment to be honest with one another.
Too much lying in a relationship can cause major trust issues between two people. And if those trust issues stay unresolved and the lying doesn’t stop, then eventually the relationship will fall apart.