Lying is detrimental in any relationship, but it’s especially hurtful in romantic ones. Catching your partner in a lie can feel like a total betrayal! Every healthy relationship has a solid foundation of trust, and when it’s broken, it can be hard to restore it.
Why do people lie, exactly? One of the biggest reasons, of course, is infidelity. Other reasons someone might lie include:
- Feelings of insecurity
- Avoiding accountability
- To be manipulative
- Out of self-defense
- Money issues
- To spare feelings
- Out of spite
- To protect others
So, what is there to do when someone lies to you in a relationship? Do you call them out? Break up with them? Let it go? The short answer: it depends. If you’ve caught your partner telling lies, here are five tips for dealing with it:
Determine if the Lie Is Worth the Trouble
Everyone tells little white lies sometimes, especially if it’s to protect someone else’s feelings. Maybe your partner told you they loved the dinner you made (when they didn’t) or complemented an outfit that they didn’t particularly like.
If they are telling little lies and it’s starting to bother you, the best thing you can do is explain that. When it comes to bigger lies, it’s not as easy to let them go (and for good reason). The bigger the lie, the bigger the damage it can do, and it’s up to you to determine whether their lies are a deal-breaker for the relationship.
Don’t Immediately Think the Worst
If you think your partner is lying to you, or you’ve caught them in random lies here and there, don’t immediately assume the worst! The more paranoid you become, the more likely you’ll start snooping through their phone and other belongings, looking for “proof” that likely doesn’t exist.
If you’re concerned and believe your partner is telling lies, it’s important to address it, rather than keep it bottled up inside.
Calmly Call Them Out
The moment of truth! (Pun intended.) When you are positive your partner is telling lies, call them out — but stay calm about it. It’s easier said than done, we know! But if you come at your partner in a rage, you’re bound to get into a pretty big argument.
Explain to your partner that you believe they lied and how it has made you feel. As tough as it can be, you should try to show a little empathy too! Practice active listening (i.e., not thinking about your response while your partner is talking), keep an open mind, and thoroughly focus on what they have to say.
Ask Why They Lied (And Pay Attention to Body Language)
If you’ve confronted your partner about the lies they told, a big question to include is “why?” Unfortunately, there are times when people lie about lying (a vicious cycle!). According to body language experts, here are some signs someone is lying:
- They make quick head movements as soon as you bring up a certain topic (jerk back, tilt to the side, etc.)
- They start to breathe a little heavier
- They may share too much information, especially little details that you didn’t ask about
- They touch or cover their mouth
- They start shuffling their feet
- They try extra hard to maintain eye contact as a way to control or manipulate
Remember, you know your partner better than most people, so if your gut is telling you something is off, it probably is.
Decide Whether It’s Worth Staying in the Relationship
In most cases, lying is not okay. When someone lies to you in a relationship, it can cause a lot of emotional and physical turmoil. If your partner regularly lies to you, you’ll need to decide whether staying in the relationship is the best thing to do.
When trust is broken, it’s hard to rebuild it, but if you and your partner are committed to staying together, a relationship coach or therapist can help you work through your issues and restore any lost trust.
It’s tough when someone lies to you in a relationship, but if you and your partner want to work it out, communication is key! Check-in frequently with each other to make sure you’re both happy and on the same page. Sharpening your communication skills and addressing lies as they come up is the best way to maintain a healthy, honest relationship.
Photo by cottonbro
About the Author/s
The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.