What are the worst lies in a relationship? White lies hurt more than white hair strands, after all. People deceive each other ‘in the name of love’. But is everything fair in love and war? And how much lying is acceptable in a relationship? What could be the possible effects of dishonesty in a relationship? We are here to answer your questions.
It was a different thing altogether when you used to lie to your mom about going on a night stay. And that friend turned out to be your ‘boyfriend’. Just like the Fault in Our Stars dialogue goes, ‘Some infinities are bigger than other infinities’. Similarly, are some lies bigger than other lies? Or is lying blatantly wrong, regardless of how big or small the lie is? Let’s find out.
11 Worst Lies In A Relationship And What They Mean For Your Relationship – Revealed
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How frequently do people lie in a marriage? A shocking research points out that couples lie to each other three times a week. Of course, this includes lies like cheating but since it’s happening on a weekly basis, it could be something as small as “I will surely come home on time today”. And this brings us to the list of worst lies in a relationship:
1. “I love you”
This is a classic one. Telling someone that you love them, just to get something out of them is a form of manipulation. Deep down, you know you don’t love them back but you say it because you don’t want to lose them. When Zendaya tells Rue, “No, you don’t love me. You just love being loved”, it becomes the most hard-hitting scene from Euphoria.
Just like in the show, a relationship built on lies goes nowhere. Sooner or later, your partner will realize that you don’t mean it when you say that you love them. Instead, you can just say, “Hey, I like you. I see us going somewhere. Let’s date each other and see where it goes. I want to get to know you more.” Save the “I love you” for later (when you are sure of it).
2. “I will quit smoking”
Small lies in a relationship are not-so-small after all. When my friend Paul tells his girlfriend Sarah, “I will quit smoking”, he knows deep inside that he won’t. But Sarah believes it every time. And then a day comes when she smells it on his sleeves and they end up fighting about it. Sarah isn’t able to trust Paul now, not just about smoking but about him keeping his word. This is how secrets and lies destroy relationships.
Related Reading: How To Maintain Your Sanity If Your Partner Is A Compulsive Liar
So, if you have been like Paul, it’s better to rather come clean or make promises when you actually mean them. You can say something like “I have been trying to cut down on my cigarettes. I have come down to one cigarette per day. I am even meditating to calm my withdrawals. But you will have to be patient with me” instead of straight up deceiving your partner.
3. “You’re so good in bed”
Studies indicate that 80% of women fake their orgasms during sex. I lied and ruined my relationship by doing the same. My partner was very offended when he found out later that I was faking my pleasure all this while. He told me “It’s not a small lie in our relationship. It’s an indicator that you don’t trust me enough and just want to make me happy, at the cost of your happiness.”
Now, when I look back, I could have done things differently. I should have just told him what makes me happy in bed and what turns me on. He would never be weirded out in sharing his fetishes. So, there was no reason for me to feel so. So, instead of lying in a relationship, have that uncomfortable conversation. All it requires is a few moments of courage. It will be awkward at first but once honesty becomes a habit, it will be a cakewalk.
4. “You deserve better”
It’s one of the worst lies one can tell in a relationship, just like “It’s not you, it’s me“. “You deserve better” is a form of pseudo-compassion that often translates as, “I have fallen out of love with you. I don’t think you are good enough for me. I don’t know about you but I definitely do deserve better.”
What does this mean for your relationship? It lacks the basic pillar of trust. You are not gutsy enough to be honest about your feelings and so you deceive your partner. Your relationship lacks the required comfort. It is a space where you both have to walk on eggshells and twist words to deceive, instead of just being honest.
5. “I am broke”
Have you ever lied to your partner about ‘being broke’? Lying in a relationship about money is a common occurrence. A relative once told me, “I lied and ruined my relationship with my spouse. We had decided to pool our finances but I kept a credit card aside for my safety. I even had another bank account, about which he didn’t know.”
So, instead of making your partner feel bad about being in a relationship with a liar, just come clean about your finances. Have an honest discussion about debts and earnings. Ask your partner, “How much money should we pool? How much should we keep for ourselves?” Take financial counseling, if required. The sad effect of dishonesty in a relationship is that financial deception can even be the reason for divorce.
6. “I am over my ex”
Synthia keeps telling her girlfriend, “I am so over my ex. That relationship is so last season. I don’t think about her. She was so toxic and unhealthy for me. You have got nothing to worry about.” Meanwhile, Synthia cannot stop stalking her ex on Instagram. She keeps blocking and unblocking her ex. She even video calls with her ex at late hours in the night.
Being in a relationship with a liar like Synthia can be hurtful. What Synthia is doing is in fact a form of micro-cheating. But why do people lie in relationships? A study on lies in relationships points out that getting away with cheating makes people feel good. It is called the ‘cheater’s high’.
Doing something that’s unethical and prohibited makes people put their “want” self over their “should” self. So, their whole focus goes toward immediate reward/ short-term desires, instead of thinking about long-term consequences like diminished self-image or risk to reputation.
7. “I didn’t mean it like that”
Sometimes people say mean things in the name of being ‘funny’ and then say “I didn’t mean it like that” in case you get triggered. This is one of the worst lies in a relationship. Of course they meant it like that. They just sugar coated it as a joke. If your partner pulls you down and makes you feel bad about yourself, it is definitely a deal-breaker. You shouldn’t have to be someone who isn’t compatible with your core values.
For example, body shaming or making fun of someone’s complexion is not funny. If something traumatic has happened to you and your partner makes fun of it, it’s not funny. Instances like this can be damaging to your mental health. If you notice this as a consistent pattern, just be assertive and draw a clear boundary by saying “Listen, I don’t think this is humor. Maybe try your hand at new jokes (The ones that involve not being mean?)”
Related Reading: 9 Examples Of Emotional Boundaries In Relationships
8. “God, I wish the timing was right”
This is one of the worst lies in a relationship. Don’t fall for it. What they actually mean is “I am so tired of being in a long-distance relationship. Let me explore drugs and casual sex in peace.” There is no such thing as timing. When you love someone, you try to make it work, no matter what. You MAKE the timing right.
9. “I don’t know how I forgot to delete my dating apps”
If you have spotted Tinder or Bumble on your partner’s phone, you have caught a white lie in a relationship. When you were busy baking their favorite cheesecake, they were probably busy asking for someone’s nudes online. Don’t take online cheating lightly. The ones who engage in online affairs definitely make it to the list of the types of cheaters.
In fact, a study found that of 183 adults who were in a relationship, more than 10% had formed intimate online relationships, 8% had experienced cybersex and 6% had met their internet partners in person. More than half of the sample believed an online relationship constituted unfaithfulness, with the numbers climbing to 71% for cybersex and 82% for in-person meetings.
10. “I am single”
My friend Pam was seeing this guy for a couple of months. They were pretty serious and she was falling for him. But then one day, it all changed. When he was in the bathroom, she found a picture of his wife and children in his phone.
She called me in tears and said, “He has been lying to me all this while! I can’t believe that I have been dating a married man.” That incident took place months ago but she is still struggling with trust issues when it comes to men. This is the consequence of lying in a relationship.
One of the classic traits of liars is convincing their own minds that they are doing the right thing. For example, “I did it just once” or “Telling my partner would hurt them more and so, I am protecting them by lying to them” are both examples of psychological defenses to cover up lies in relationships.
11. “This is not a hickey, it’s a mosquito bite”
As weird as it sounds, some liars don’t come clean, even when they are caught. So, if your gut tells you there is something fishy when they say “I am working late again tonight” or “Don’t worry, we are just good friends”, listen to it.
Related Reading: How To Tell If Your Partner Is Lying About Cheating?
Also, if you are on the other end and are actually the one cheating on your partner, it’s better to own up to it instead of being caught red-handed. After all, “I lied but we patiently fixed our relationships” sounds so much better than “I lied and ruined my relationship”. According to research, your relationship has a greater chance of surviving if you just come clean about it.
What Lying Does To A Relationship
What to do when someone lies to you in a relationship? For starters, you need tips on how to spot a liar. Here are some indicators of being in a relationship with a liar:
- Inconsistency in behaviors and variations in their story
- Doesn’t take personal accountability
- Quick to turn the tables on you/ take the spotlight off them
- Extremely defensive/ fights back/ pushes back at everything
- Unwilling to take even the slightest of criticism
And how do these secrets and lies destroy relationships? Here are some of the consequences of lying in a relationship:
- Destroys the level of trust and mutual respect
- Guilt and shame for the one who is lying
- Reduction in physical and emotional intimacy
- The one who lies is blamed as the ‘selfish’ one
- The one who is lied to feels like a ‘fool’ for believing those lies
- One lie leads to another and it becomes an endless loop
- The liar is never trusted again, even if they reform
- Partners try to get back at each other through revenge
- Damage to mental/ physical health for both
What are the effects of dishonesty in a relationship? According to research, deception in a relationship leads to shock, anger, regret and disappointment. The worst lies in a relationship also end up increasing the suspicion and a thirst for revenge. Finally, the study points out that this “crisis” can work as a turning point for the relationship, leading to either the ‘destruction of the relationship’ or ‘working on the relationship’.
A relationship built on lies leads to not just mental distress but physical distress too. In fact, research points out that telling fewer lies leads to better health. For example, when participants in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than they did in other weeks, they experienced fewer mental-health complaints (feeling tense/melancholy) and fewer physical complaints (sore throats/headaches), the researchers found.
But, this doesn’t mean you tell your partner every little detail of your life. How much lying is acceptable in a relationship? It’s totally okay to keep some things to yourself. This is totally different from ‘lies of omission’. For example, consciously not mentioning that your ex texted you would be a lie of omission. But keeping the conversation you had with your friend to yourself doesn’t count as a lie.
Also, if you have been keeping secrets with your partner, it is more mature to come clean about them. After all, lies don’t remain hidden for too long. For example, say something on the lines of “Hey, I bumped into my ex the other day and we had a drink together. Nothing happened between us but I really wanted to be upfront about it.” Don’t say something like “You always overreact and that’s why I have to hide things from you”. This would count as a gaslighting phrase.
If you are a compulsive liar, you can always seek professional help. Similarly, what to do when someone lies to you in a relationship? Benefiting from therapy to rebuild trust could be the right way forward. Realizing your relationship was a lie can get really overwhelming. Our counselors from Bonobology’s panel are here for you.
- The worst lies in a relationship can range from expressing love just to get something in return to lying about getting over your past
- Infidelity and deception are not just in the form of cheating but also include betraying your partner financially
- Saying mean things in the name of ‘jokes’ or showing pseudo-compassion also constitute the worst lies in a relationship
- Lying leads to mental and physical distress for both the partners
- Lies of omission are to be avoided (but this doesn’t mean that you owe it to your partner to tell every little detail about your life)
Finally, the worst lies in a relationship harm both the people involved. The liar’s self-esteem gets affected because of the guilt and shame that accompanies lying. And the one who is lied to feels humiliated and betrayed. So, when somebody screamed “Liar Liar, pants on fire”, I think they meant “Liar Liar, hearts on fire”.
It all depends on the context and the type of lie. According to research, men resort to selfish lies, more often than women do. Other studies also point out that men are more likely than females to tell black lies and altruistic white lies.
Yes, lies can ruin a relationship by causing mistrust, suspicion and a thirst for revenge. They also lead to serious damage to mental and physical health of the partners involved.