- I married a compulsive liar
- 10 Lies that Lead to Divorce
- Lie #1: Marriage is a contract.
- Lie #2: I married you, not your family.
- Lie #3: I can change my spouse.
- Lies #4: We are too different.
- Lie #5: I’ve lost that loving feeling and it’s gone, gone, gone!
- Lie #6: A more traditional marriage will save us.
- Lie #7: I can’t change–this is who I am: take it or leave it.
- Lie #8: There’s been an affair. We need to divorce.
- Lie #9: It doesn’t matter what I do: God will forgive me.
- Lie #10: It’s too broken.
- 1. Lies Erode Trust
- 2. Lying Shows A Lack Of Respect
- 3. Waiting For The Liar To Slip Up Again
- 4. Lying Demonstrates Selfishness
- 5. Feeling A Fool For Believing A Lie
- 6. The Liar Is Conning Themselves Too
- 7. Lies Make A Relationship Unbalanced
- 8. Lies Beget Lies
- Why Is My Wife Lying To Me?
- Why Is My Wife Lying To Me?
- Living With a Liar Can Make You Crazy
- When Your Spouse Is a Chronic Liar
- What is Pathological Lying?
- What Makes A Chronic Liar?
- Is There Hope for Chronic Liars?
- What Do You Do When You Discover Your Husband Has Been Lying for Years? How One Woman Handled the Deceit
- How Secrets and Lies Destroy Relationships
- The Cost of Secrets and Lies
- What to Reveal
- When and How to Reveal
- Victims of Betrayal
- My Husband Lies and Hides Things From Me: What To Do When Your Husband Lies To You All Time
- If Your Partner Is Lying To You, You’ll Notice These 5 Things
I married a compulsive liar
I am not sure what solution I am looking for, but I feel like my husband is purposely trying to make me go “crazy.” See, since the first day of our marriage three years ago, everything has gone down hill for us. He dramatically changed and did things to me, hurtful things, which almost ended in divorce. Because we had a son at the time, we decided to work things out, and it seemed lately that we were finally able to see a possible future together especially since we had child number two, to try to save our marriage (not a good idea, but still grateful for the child).
Anyway, just a couple of days ago, my husband told me that his therapist suggested for him to tell me the truth about something in his life because he is a compulsive liar. As he confessed he informs me that everything that he ever told me about his life while we were dating, engaged, married for 3yrs, was all a lie. All the wild life, girlfriends, etc that he claims to have had and his life experiences are fake. He invented everything about his past.
Now he wants me to believe him.
I have tried, I really have, but it just seems like something keeps nagging me, like no matter what something seems off. Lately, I get the feeling that he is keeping another huge secret from me, I just don’t know if the feeling is true or it is just my reacting from what I just found out.
As of now I am hurt and feel deceived, because I now know that I am completely married to a stranger, I also feel angry, and it is not fair that I made a life with a man that does not exist. I don’t know what to do. If I choose to believe him, then I will always wonder.
Otherwise, I feel like making a fool of myself and investigate, but how does one investigate someone else’s past. I am confused and don’t know what to do. I feel that after all he has done to me I should just run as fast and far as I can with our children, but a part of me does truly love this man.
How will I be able to live past this? Is it possible to be able to trust him ever again? And should I trust my feelings that he may be having an affair or is keeping a deeper truth from me, or is it just my emotions/anger/pain getting the best of me?
I feel like there is no one else who can understand what I am going through. I guess I feel all alone. If you have ever known someone in this situation, what would you suggest? Should I try to investigate even if I humiliate myself in the process? What should I do?
I still wish to save our marriage, but how can I move past this?
If it helps in answering, he claims that he does not want to let me go, he wants to save our marriage, but he keeps lying to me regardless.
To begin with it may help to know that you are not alone.
Unfortunately, many people end up in the exact same position: Married to a compulsive liar—never knowing what to believe. And in some cases, it can take years before people realize who they are really married to.
But, as you know all too well, eventually, living with a compulsive liar becomes unbearable. Even in the best of circumstances, discovering deception by a loved one can be unsettlingly. Discovering that someone close to you has consistently betrayed your trust, however, leaves people feeling uncertain and full of doubt (see consequences of discovering deception).
Finding out that a husband or wife has lied often raises very fundamental questions and concerns:
- Who am I with?
- How come I didn’t see this?
- What’s wrong with me?
- What else don’t I know?
- Why did this happen?
If you are involved with a compulsive liar, these types of questions can preoccupy ALL of your time. Eventually, people who get involved with a compulsive liar often start to question their own identity: Who am I?
Should you investigate your husband’s past? Probably not. You already know what you need to know: Your husband is a compulsive liar (see compulsive lying).
Your husband only feels safe and secure when he is lying to you. Or think of it this way: all of those feelings you have when your husband lies to you are similar to the feelings he has when he’s telling you the truth. Will investigating his past help you resolve this underlying problem?
Your husband, if he can be believed, is doing the right thing. Compulsive lying needs to be dealt with through counseling and therapy.
Will you be able to trust your husband again? That all depends on how this therapy progresses and how much energy you are willing to invest in making things work. But, there are no guarantees that things will turn out for the best. Dealing with compulsive lying, like any other addictive behavior, is a constant struggle.
Our best advice is to seek professional help (see emotional support).
People involved with a compulsive liar need just as much help and support as compulsive liars do. With this in mind, we have started specific message board for people who are dealing with a compulsive liar—a place to turn to for advice and support (see dealing with a compulsive liar forum).
Hopefully, knowing that you are not alone will help you get through this difficult time.
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10 Lies that Lead to Divorce
In my book Divorce Proofing Your Marriage, I expose 10 common lies people embrace that eventually leads to divorce. This book confronts our thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that influence how we behave and the choices we make. So if you want to strengthen your marriage or stop the slippery slide to divorce, first check your thoughts and ask, “Are my thoughts reflective of the secular culture or the Bible?” You may be surprised how far your thinking has strayed from the Bible’s restorative theme.
Here’s a brief overview of the 10 lies that can lead to divorce. Do your own self-check.
Lie #1: Marriage is a contract.
Yes, marriage is a legal contract, but in God’s eyes it is much more. The truth is marriage is a covenant, an unbreakable promise. It is life commitment. It means “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.” It means loving someone when you don’t feel like it, staying faithful, and working through difficulty and bad times.
Lie #2: I married you, not your family.
The truth is you don’t marry just your spouse; you get her family as a package deal! Don’t kid yourself and think the outlawed in-laws don’t matter. Your spouse grew up in a family that taught her how to be who she is today. Yes, there are other influences and people can change, but family is a primary force in the development of any individual.
Lie #3: I can change my spouse.
Wrong! The fact that she’s continually late or her apartment is a mess is not likely to change because of your undying love. Pay attention to the red flags you see during the dating relationship, especially the more serious ones, such as drinking too much, violent temper, promise breaking, etc. Chances are these things won’t improve but worsen after the honeymoon is over. The truth: all you have control over is your reaction to your spouse. That’s the only part you can change.
Lies #4: We are too different.
Differences are not a major problem as long as the differences are not about life values and morals. Incompatibility doesn’t kill a relationship. The real issue is how you handle your differences. You need compatible styles that work for both people. Some differences are unsolvable and couples need to learn to accept those. And the Bible gives clear guidelines on how to deal with conflict in a Christ-like way.
Lie #5: I’ve lost that loving feeling and it’s gone, gone, gone!
Intense passion doesn’t last forever but love can stay for a lifetime. You may not always feel love but you must determine to love your partner as yourself. The loving feeling dwindles when couples lock into negative patterns that lead them away from each other. Criticism moves to contempt and highly defensive behavior that eventually leads to emotional distance. The truth is you can restore that loving feeling with a number of changes. One is to make five positive statements to your spouse for every negative one. Other changes focus on building friendship and support. I don’t doubt when men tell me they no longer feel love for their wives. I just want them to understand that loving feelings can be rekindled.
Lie #6: A more traditional marriage will save us.
Out of frustration, many men feel that if their relationship could be more like the Brady Bunch couple, life would be happier. They are confused about gender roles and responsibilities. Submission is a misunderstood and often abused concept. God’s intention for marriage is gender equality. On two occasions, God revealed His will on earth concerning gender–in the Garden and in the life of Christ. Look to those examples of how men and women should interact. You will find that no matter how you negotiate the relationship, you need mutual submission, respect, honor, empowerment and empathy.
Lie #7: I can’t change–this is who I am: take it or leave it.
An unwillingness to change is rooted in rebellion. It’s doing things your way versus God’s. To say you can’t change obviates the entire Christian experience of salvation and change of heart. Yes, we are always striving for perfection but the operative phrase is that we should be striving. This requires a willingness to look at your behavior and work towards being more like Christ. If both spouses in marriage would do this regularly, divorce would be less prevalent. Change doesn’t happen when you don’t embrace it. You can change but it requires desire, obedience and Holy Spirit driven power.
Lie #8: There’s been an affair. We need to divorce.
Affairs are serious and damaging but they are not beyond repair if both spouses agree to try. There must be a commitment to cut off the affair, a time of repentance, forgiveness and a rebuilding of the relationship. The covenant has been broken but can be restored if a couple chooses to do so. It’s not easy but possible.
Lie #9: It doesn’t matter what I do: God will forgive me.
God will forgive you if you repent but it does matter what you do. Your behavior has natural, as well as spiritual consequences so don’t cheapen God’s grace.
Lie #10: It’s too broken.
If you’ve given up, the future looks hopeless, you’ve grown apart, can’t manage conflict, made a mistake or whatever the problem, believe that God can work when you can’t. He can change hearts, do miracles and work in the most difficult circumstances. He is the God of the possible. Draw close to Him, intercede for your marriage, do battle with your true enemy (Satan) and expect God to work on your behalf.
If you and your partner stay intimately connected to God, your marriage will reflect that intimacy. Divorce doesn’t have to happen. Recognize the cultural lies that influence you and counteract them with biblical truth. No marriage is beyond the probability of divorce but you can be proactive in preventing it. It’s time to improve on the divorce statistics and divorce proof your marriage.
Get expert help with the lying in your relationship. to chat online to someone right now.
The word ‘lie’ is one which instantly generates a vision and feeling of gross negativity; it embodies the sort of morality that most people would wish to steer well clear from.
Despite this, there are many individuals who are prepared to spin works of fiction to their friends, family, and partners – all with seemingly little difficulty.
But what is the truth about lying? What harm does it really cause? Here we examine just 8 of the many ways in which lying is poisonous to relationships of all kinds.
1. Lies Erode Trust
Perhaps the most obvious impact that lying has on a relationship is the erosion of trust one person has in the other. Lies and trust cannot easily coexist; eventually the former will destroy the latter.
Whether like a storm that causes a landslide, or rain that slowly eats away at rock, lies can utterly change the landscape of a relationship and make it uninhabitable for one or both parties.
Trust is so essential for a strong and successful relationship that when it is lost, the chances of total collapse are very high.
2. Lying Shows A Lack Of Respect
Being told the truth, no matter what it may be, confers the feeling of respect upon the recipient. It proves to them that the other person places significant value upon the relationship and is not prepared to jeopardize it by deceiving them.
While some truths will clearly put a relationship at risk, lies tend to be even more damaging. Telling someone the truth, even if you know it will hurt them, shows that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions; lying shows nothing of the sorts.
As soon as this lack of respect becomes apparent, it begins to put great strain on all aspects of the relationship and, if left unchecked, it will be the undoing of it altogether.
3. Waiting For The Liar To Slip Up Again
Once you uncover a lie for the first time, it is hard not to live in expectation of future untruths from that person. You begin to question what they are saying, passing their words through your internal alarm systems in order to detect any hint of dishonesty.
The problem is that having to be on perpetual high alert for bullshit puts a real strain on the interactions between the two of you. Sooner or later, the mental energy required will make you want to avoid that person altogether.
On top of all this, thinking that another lie is not just likely, but inevitable is going to make you more suspicious. This is especially true in romantic relationships where one partner starts to question where the other is, who they are with, and what they are doing. This is nothing but toxic for the trust and respect we’ve already spoken about.
4. Lying Demonstrates Selfishness
When someone lies, they are essentially putting their own self interest before those of others. Their unwillingness to make a sacrifice for the greater, long term good of a relationship is another indicator that they do not place a high value on it.
Lies can also be an indication of more widespread selfishness and disregard for the other party, which can make them feel unloved and unwanted.
Related posts (article continues below):
- How To Rebuild And Regain Trust After Lying To Your Partner
- Why Lying By Omission Is Just As Hurtful And Damaging To Relationships
- 10 Things Every Woman Wants To Feel In A Relationship
- 6 Major Signs Your Partner Sees You As An Option, Not A Priority
- 4 Ways A Lack Of Empathy Will Destroy Your Relationships
- Why The Silent Treatment Equates to Emotional Abuse & How To Respond
5. Feeling A Fool For Believing A Lie
That moment you realize you’ve been lied to is a highly unpleasant one. When your eyes are opened to the truth, you can’t help but feel foolish for ever falling for the lies.
Being made to feel this way by another person eats away at all the positive feelings you may have towards them. The hurt may open up a divide between you, or it may simply cause old cracks to resurface and widen.
Either way, your view of this person will be forever changed by the pain they have inflicted upon you.
6. The Liar Is Conning Themselves Too
An often overlooked consequence of lying is that the perpetrator is also being untruthful to themselves. In attempting to conceal the truth from other people, they are refusing to reveal their genuine wants and desires to the world.
In essence, they are denying their true identity and seeking to be someone that they are not. Any relationship is bound to feel the strain of this disingenuous approach to life.
7. Lies Make A Relationship Unbalanced
For a relationship to stand the test of time and endure the trials of everyday life, both parties must give equal commitment and energy to it. This balance creates the feeling of partnership that binds two people together and allows them to bring the best out in each other.
Lying disrupts this natural equilibrium and causes the scales to tip to one side. For the person who was lied to, it can feel as though they have put their heart and soul on the line, only for the liar to hold back theirs.
When you recognize this reluctance on their part to fully commit, it is natural to doubt their desire to make the relationship work. This is true of all kinds of relationships, but especially romantic ones.
8. Lies Beget Lies
It is not uncommon for one lie to lead to another and another in some vain attempt to keep the wool pulled over someone’s eyes. It might even be the case that an individual is a habitual liar who sees no real wrong in telling porkies to the people in their life.
Unfortunately, where one lie might cause repairable damage in an otherwise strong relationship, multiple lies will serve to fan the flames of the fire that will eventually engulf any sense of cohesiveness that once existed.
Where lying becomes commonplace, no relationship can survive intact.
Still not sure how to approach your partner’s lies? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply .
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Why Is My Wife Lying To Me?
Don’t have your headphones or a private place to listen right now? Script coming soon:
Why Is My Wife Lying To Me?
A Conversation With Dr. Joe Beam
Your wife lied to you.
Not a miscommunication.
Not a misunderstanding.
Dishonesty. Deception. Whatever you call it, it comes down to the same thing. “She could have told me the truth…she should have told me the truth…but she didn’t. She tried to deceive me.”
Naturally, you want to know why. I imagine you’ve asked her why she lied, but whatever answer she gave didn’t give you confidence that it was the real answer. That’s probably why you’re watching this. You want to know if someone can help you get a better understanding, open your eyes to what you want to see but haven’t been able to yet.
Hi, I’m Dr. Joe Beam. If you’ll spend a few minutes with me in this video, I believe I can give you insight. Obviously, I don’t know your wife and can’t speak directly about her, but I have read the research about lying and I’ve worked with thousands of people over the last 25 years.
By the way, we have many videos on YouTube that will give you answers to relationship questions. Subscribe below so that you have access to them all.
Now let’s get to your situation. There are three common motivations that lead people to lie. Stay with me through all three because the last one may well be quite an eyeopener for YOU. When you understand that one, it may well change the course of your marriage from this point on.
The first reason that people lie is the one that most people think is the reason that anyone ever lies. It’s not. And it may not have anything to do with why your wife lies to you, but because so many people who are lied to think that this is the only reason, let’s get it out of the way so we can get to the other two more fascinating reasons.
What is this first motivation or reason?
I call it the “liar liar.”
Let me explain. Some people have been lying all their lives. It started when they were young – maybe it got them attention, maybe they found they could manipulate people by lying, or maybe they learned to do it by observing Dad or Mom. Whatever the reason, it became their pattern.
“Liar liars” will lie when the truth would be better. They typically feel little to no guilt when they lie, no pang of conscience. To them, lying is just as acceptable as telling the truth. Sometimes they have trouble even knowing what truth is. They create their own realities by making things up or by distorting facts. They’ve become so good at deception that sometimes it even works on them. They can tell a lie so convincingly that they themselves believe it to be true…at least in a way.
“Liar liars” are relatively rare. Therefore, my guess is that your wife isn’t one. However, if your wife has been lying since you’ve known her…if she’s so smooth that for a while you bought into anything she said…but now you think that she’d make an excellent con artist…then she may be this kind of liar.
If so, don’t expect a change to occur without help. If she IS this kind of liar, you’ve caught her before. She first tried to lie her way out of the lie, then, if that didn’t work, she became so very sorry and promised you that she’d never lie to you again. But, she did lie to you again. Often for no reason that you can figure. Think of the “liar liar” as having a sort of sickness, if you will. Getting “well” from this – getting over it – nearly always requires professional help. With the right help, they CAN change this pattern and be the kind of person you can trust. If you’re convinced that your wife is a “liar liar” I suggest you ask her to get help. Assist her in finding it. If it’s the right help, your lives will change in wonderful ways.
If your wife refuses to get the help she needs, you may love her enough that you stay with her the rest of your life…but you’ll always be wary…always check behind her…rarely if ever take what she says at face value.
As I’ve already said, my guess is that your wife is NOT that kind of liar. If you think she is, or if you’re not sure, stay with me as I explain the other two kinds of liars. I think you may find one of them to be the reason that she lies.
The second kind of liar is what I call the “protective liar.” That means that when she feels that the truth will hurt you, she won’t tell you the truth. Either she hides it altogether or she slants what she says in hopes that will somehow reduce the negative effect it will have on you.
I have a friend who for years was this kind of liar. He’s a medical professional. His wife had a debilitating disease that would progress over years. He loved her. He hated to see her in pain. Not just the physical pain but the mental and emotional pain as well. When she would ask him about what the future held…what comes next…how bad will it be…he never once gave her an honest answer. He felt the pain she endured was already too much; he didn’t see how she could cope with knowing what would come next…what terrors lay ahead.
The problem with “protective lying” is that the person you think you’re protecting may lose confidence in you. After a while, they know that you’re hiding the truth…after all, the information you give proves false time after time. They decide that you have no idea what you’re talking about…OR they become convinced that you won’t tell them the truth and they resent that.
Of course, “protective lying” isn’t always about physical problems. There are so many things that someone who loves you might feel that she should protect you from. Money problems. People saying nasty things about you. The list is endless, but the results are similar.
Some people might want the other to protectively lie: “lie to me to keep me from knowing what’s really happening.”
However, most people resent it…at least after a while. “What gives you the right to decide what I should and shouldn’t know? What makes you think that you’re stronger than I am or that you’re wiser, smarter, or whatever it is that makes you think you can deceive me when I ask you to tell me the truth?”
When my friend – the medical guy – finally realized the downside to protective lying, he started telling his wife the truth.
Was that scary for her?
Yes, but her fear was far more than offset by the peace she found in KNOWING what was coming rather than the terrifying GUESSES she’d been making.
He thought he was protecting her by his lies. Instead, he really was protecting his own emotions.
If your wife is lying because she’s trying to protect you from something…AND if you WANT to know the truth and NOT have her screen things for you…then tell her that. Calmly, with love, say something like “I know that what you’re trying to do is keep me from hurting. But it’s not working that way. It’s making me not trust you and that’s hurting me more. Whatever it is that you feel you’re protecting me from can’t be as bad as my losing my faith in you. Don’t protect me. Tell me the truth. We’ll face whatever it is together.”
There’s one other thing to mention here…it may that the thing she’s protecting you from is her. She may be into something…or someone…and feel she’s protecting you by keeping you from knowing. If so, there’s a way to deal with that. It’s better if I explain that with the third kind of liar.
The “get out of trouble liar.”
This happens when she knows that what’s she’s doing – or has done – conflicts with what you think of her or expect of her.
I could give thousands of examples here of how people lie to get out of trouble. The underlying principle is this: They know that there is an expected standard of conduct – things that are right and things that are wrong – but they have violated that standard. If your wife is this kind of liar, rather than taking the blame and facing you, she hides it, fabricates lies if caught, and covers that lie with more lies if the first one falls apart.
If your wife is lying to you because she’s covering up something, it well may be that what she’s hiding is not something major. For example, it might be she spent a little too much. Got a ticket. Washed the wrong thing rather than taking it to the cleaners and now it’s ruined. If so – if it’s not major – try not to react in a way that makes things worse. I realize that you may be upset, but there’s something important that you need to consider.
Could it be that you – whether you mean to or not – operate more in the realm of a parent than that of a husband? Ask yourself why your wife, a grown woman who can make her own decisions, make her own way in the world, is so afraid of you knowing that she made an error? Afraid enough that she chooses to lie rather than to tell you what she did. Yes, I know that some people are like that because of their own lack of self-esteem because of things that happened when they were kids.
Is that the case with your wife? OR, if you were to examine what’s going on, would you discover it isn’t something from earlier in her life…it has more to do with her fearing rejection from you?
Does she dread the way you react to anything she does that doesn’t meet your expectations? Maybe you give condescending lectures…maybe you yell…give her the cold shoulder…sneer at her ignorance or inability to do things right…embarrass her in front of her children, or in front of others by telling everyone what she does wrong…using her errors to make jokes at her expense…I could give more illustrations but I think you get the idea.
In short, if she’s lying to you in an effort to avoid your reactions…and the thing that she did or is doing isn’t that big in and of itself…could that be telling you the effect that you have on her?
If so, she may be lying to you NOW to avoid your reactions, but at some point, she very likely is going to have enough of the way you act toward her. No one wants to be treated as an inferior…as a person that is disrespected. If that’s your situation…if your wife perceives you as controlling and that she had better toe the line if she wants to have peace, love, and joy…then there is a very strong likelihood of her someday deciding to leave you so that she can have a sense of her own self-worth.
No, I’m not justifying her lying. I’m asking you to analyze whether she’s lying to get out of trouble because of her own inner struggles of self-worth and esteem, OR if she’s trying to avoid you doing more harm to her sense of self.
If that is the case in your marriage, please, if you love her, find out how to change the way you interact. I suggest you call us about how we can help.
Before I close, let me shift to one other area. It’s still in the category of the “get out of trouble” liar, but not for minor things. This has to do with when she’s doing or is into something major.
For example, we see that kind of liar when a wife is having an affair. She’ll lie to her husband as long as she can. She’ll lie to anyone in order not to be caught…OR to justify her actions if she is caught.
When we work with couples, nearly always we hear the spouse who was cheated on say “The affair was horrible. But it’s the fact that she lied so well and so long that rips me apart.”
Of course, the major thing may not be an affair. It could be gambling, addiction, pursuing another lifestyle. It’s another one of those lists that could go on for a while. Whatever it is…if she’s lying because of something major…something that is tearing or can tear your marriage apart…then the way you deal with it will set the course for your future.
If you want to divorce her, handle it any way you wish.
If you love her and want to save the marriage, then it’s very important that you do NOT do things to make it worse. Things such as: exploding in anger…paying her back for what’s she’s done…setting boundaries that put her in a veritable emotional prison…threatening the guy she’s involved with…you get the idea…those kinds of things aren’t going to help and very, very likely will make it worse.
If you want to save your marriage, what do you do instead?
I can tell you the things to do that will work if anything will. I’ll tell you how to get that information in just a moment.
Which kind of liar is your wife?
If she’s a “liar liar” I strongly suggest you get her to a qualified therapist to help her change that behavior.
If she’s a “protective liar,” your best course of action is to have an open, caring conversation where you tell her how you feel about her protective lying, but be sure you do it WITHOUT attacking her or making her feel bad in the process.
If she’s a “get out of trouble liar” then you have two things to consider. First, does she do that because of how you treat her…because of the ways you react when she doesn’t meet your standards? If so, please call us so that we can help. Second, IF it’s because she’s into something that is big…major marriage trouble big…I strongly urge you to call us. We can help.
I’m sorry that I’m out of time and can’t give you more information in this video. However, we have a lot of FREE resources on our website www.MarriageHelper.com. Also, check out our videos here on YouTube to find what you need. The easiest way to do that is to subscribe below.
If you want to speak with us, give us a call at 866-903-0990. We’ll help you find the best resource for your situation.
It’s important to respond in the right way if you discover your wife is lying. Now, we aren’t justifying the fact that she’s lying to you, but it’s important that you respond in a respectful, calm manner that can help build your relationship. However, if the lie or the issue in your marriage seems too big to handle, or feels like a crisis, we’d love to help. Do you want to save your restore your marriage? Save your marriage by visiting http://your.marriagehelper.com/savemymarriage
If you stumbled across this particular post, I would imagine there will be a wide range of opinions about what I have to say regarding the topic of whether your wife spins far too many lies and what is behind it all.
I admit, the headline is an attention grabber. From the get go, if you really think about it, the notion that women lie far too often to their husbands is quite flawed.
The truth is that husbands lie to their wives just as often across a wide spectrum of occasions and situations.
And as to the quantity of lies that might be passing back and forth between husband and wife, it is really a function of how one technically defines a lie.
After all, we all lie, true?
Am I lying now?
I sure don’t think so.
Because the truth is we all lie.
We all lie in different ways. Big lies. Little lies. White lies.
Sometimes we are not even aware that what we are saying is not truthful.
And sometimes we know that what we are saying is deceitful, but we do it anyway because we wish to protect someone’s feelings.
Would that be a good lie if your wife is trying to protect you from getting your feelings hurt?
Indeed, shouldn’t she get some brownie points for looking out for your feelings?
Is there ever such a thing as a good lie?
I actually think so, though I am sure purists may disagree. They would argue that that misstating the truth can later open the floodgates for deceitful behavior. That might be true too, but we can all go down that road of second guessing the intended outcome.
Sometimes we are all guilty of stretching or obscuring the truth in order to protect those we love. Though sometimes we say we are doing such a thing for the wrong reasons.
Yep, being deceitful is a tricky proposition. So don’t be too eager to crucify your wife for not coming clean about something. Better to trace the lie back to its source. I will talk about that more a bit later.
Now sometimes the source of the lie will not warm your heart. Such is the case if the lie stems from an affair. I discussed this recently in this post….
By the way, most of the time, when your wife is coloring the truth, you won’t even know it.
Is it because women lie so much?
No, of course not. Women are no more bigger liars than men. I just think they are somewhat more skillful in hiding it. But that is a long story and I won’t be going there today. Just consider the possibility that women, including your wife, may have evolved to be a bit more clever is disguising the truth.
All humans find it within them to tell a lie far more than you probably realize or even would care to admit.
Studies have been done that show it starts pretty darn early in our lives. I am talking like 5 or 6 years of age. Do you ever wonder where these little kids learned to lie? You are right if you guessed they learned it from their parents and others close to them. But scientists also think there is an innate motivation for the little ones to lie on occasion. It relates to self interest and also avoiding consequences. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Kinda like why we adults lie!
Now some people might say that when your wife lies, she must be hiding something. But rarely does such a blanket statement capture the truth of the situation. Women (and men for that matter) may find it necessary to bend the truth for a variety of reasons.
And often, it is not due to her wanting to hide something from you. What she maybe doing is trying to save you from something, namely yourself.
I have had cases in which a husband’s wife has chosen not to tell him the truth about a matter because she knows it might upset her husband’s fragile ego.
I have had other cases where the wife was merely being protective of her husband and went along with something she knew was not true.
Sometimes your wife may tell a lie simply because she is exhausted and just doesn’t have it in her to argue or debate a point.
Sometimes what you take as a lie from your wife is really just a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the known facts. In such cases, your spouse may not be trying to intentionally mislead you. Rather she may just have a different memory or understanding about an event or something that the two of your previously agreed to.
So just a little word of advice.
Don’t be too quick to cast that first stone if the lie doesn’t amount to something that is really important or meaningful.
We all do it.
Sometimes for good and bad reasons.
Research reveals we lie about twice a day and that men actually lie more frequently than women. But personally, I think the frequency of lies being told is far greater, particularly if you include the fact that we often are liars to ourselves.
I decided to pose this question about lying to a bunch of guys.
Among some of the men I spoke to about this topic, the questions and comments I got ranged from the fear their otherwise reliable and trustworthy wife was hiding something to those who were insistent that they had married a compulsive liar.
For example, the men complained that…
My spouse lies about all the little things. How can I trust her on the big things?
Something must be going on. Usually she is trustworthy. All of a sudden I am catching her in all kinds of shady and questionable assertions about her whereabouts.
What is the best way to confront my wife? I think she is outright lying to me?
I know she just goes along with stuff to avoid conflict. But something is up. What can I do to get her to simply tell me what is going on?
I am disgusted with her deceit. How do I deal with my wife that is constantly hiding things from me. I know I get crazy about this sometimes and she shuts down.
I have lost complete trust in my wife. Why should I believe anything she tells me?
Should we even bother to try to make this work? I am not sure I even want to be with someone who is such a liar.
As you can see from some of these statements, suspicions that one’s wife is not trustworthy and is lying can create a lot of ugly fallout. We are often quick to anger when we think someone we previously trusted so much, has stooped to telling us untruths at ever corner.
To make matters worse, when we are angry, we seldom see the full picture. We can turn off our empathy and default right into playing victim.
Look, no one likes being lied to. And if the untruths are really piling up, then most definitely something terribly wrong and the whole foundation of the marriage needs work.
But we should be reminded that lies are often told for many different reasons and if you are off playing the recrimination game or allowing your hurt feelings to never get put to bed, then you are focusing on the wrong things.
It is natural for our fertile imaginations to run wild when we suspect our spouse is lying to us. But before you condemn your wife for her transgression, try getting to the root of why she may be lying. That is where you want to direct the spotlight.
So let’s circle back to the question of the post.
Why do wives lie to their husbands?
Is there something you should do? I have partially answer that. But before we proceed further, let’s agree that we could easily remove the word “wives” and replace it with “husbands” too.
None of us are immune to the temptation to bend the truth.
We all have told a fib or two, or three, etc. So again, don’t be so harsh in your judgement. Now I realize some lies hurt more than others. And I am not saying you shouldn’t feel bad. Nor am I saying that since we all lie, it should be swept under the carpet.
I am not saying those things at all.
I just think the most pragmatic thing to do is to try to trace the lie to its origin. Then you will learn something more about what motivated the untruth and that is something worthwhile to know. That is something you can act on so it doesn’t trigger future deceptions.
And as to the issue of married men and women lying frequently to each other, let me suggest you keep reading. You might just gain a new insight on how to save your relationship. Because clearly, a marriage filled with lies is one that is on the verge of crumbling down.
So What Does It Mean When Your Wife Lies A lot
First, let me come to the defense of women and wives.
There are a lot of men who can be difficult to live with due to any number of reasons. This may cause their spouse to hold back from opening up. They may be frozen with fear that a truthful utterance will cause their husband to become unglued or more upset.
In such a case, the wife is simply trying to protect herself and the relationship from any unnecessary emotional chaos. She may be trying to protect the kids. Such a wife may be trying to protect her husband’s fragile ego.
I have seen plenty of relationships go sour when the husband becomes irate when he thinks the wife is hiding some deep dark secret. Maybe he is a control freak or is obsessed and simply can’t accept the truth or is convinced there is a lie at the heart of all things. Perhaps the wife got a phone call from an old boyfriend and was afraid to say anything about it to her husband. Maybe she goes out to have a coffee with some male friends just to catch up. Nothing happens. But then as things often go, the truth of their encounter surfaces and everything gets blown out of proportion.
OK, so let’s say you have been married a few years and you have come to believe that your wife has difficulty telling you the truth. The first thing I would ask you to do is question whether your standard for truth and lies is realistic. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of being far too judgmental about matters of truth-telling.
For example, let’s say you are the kind of guy who is often jealous. Or let’ say you are a little obsessive about everything that goes on and whether it squares with your version of the facts. Or consider the possibility that the relationship you are in is one where the personal power balance is slanted way in your favor.
Under these circumstances, the marital environment may be such that one partner is uncomfortable with telling the other the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So what comes off as lies and deceit from your perspective, is really a reflection of your wife’s discomfort with the communication levels in the marriage.
But what if things are not that way in your marriage. Let’s assume there are no jealousy or obsession traps unfolding. Let’s say that the husband is not a control freak such that the wife is afraid to say or do anything to upset the apple cart, prompting her to sometimes tell little white lies or even big whoppers.
What does one do when you discover that your wife seems to have a penchant for telling you things that are untrue?
Let’s say this is her default behavior and it is engrained in her behavior.
Well, the first thing you need to figure out is what is driving her to act this way and how long has it been going. Is it a psychological survivor mechanism that she adopted early in her life? Or does she have some narcissistic tendencies and lies are like lollipops.
Has she always been fast and loose with the facts since you have known her? Or is this something new that has recently unfolded in your life together?
Does her lies compound, such that one lie leads to another, then another?
This could be a sign of a compulsion to be deceitful and is probably the worst kind of liar. Or it could be fear that drives her behavior. Your wife may be guilty of telling you some really big bad lies for fear that the truth will break up the marriage.
This kind of situation may unfold if your wife has done a terrible wrong, such as having an affair or making a very important decision without your knowledge and participation.
Or you the husband could be the source of her fear.
Don’t Be So Quick To Judge Your Wife
So as you can see, there are a number of reasons why your wife may find it necessary to keep the truth from you.
Often, the common denominator is fear.
That is right. From a psychological perspective, most lies are the offspring of fear.
Such is the case for your lies as well.
We fear getting in trouble for something.
We fear being wrong.
We are afraid of being hurt.
We fear being discovered.
We are afraid of disappointing or being disappointed.
We fear losing the one we love.
So don’t rush to judgement. It may be that your wife is battling through her fears, however small or large they may be.
So if your wife tell you a fib, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she is a bad person or is corrupt of character.
Nor does it necessarily mean that she can’t be trusted.
Now I am not saying that it is impossible for your wife to be devious in all respects, out to primarily satisfy her own agenda. If that is what is driving the lies, then you have a bigger problem than the collection of lies that have been told. Being married to such a person is usually going to end badly.
Bur jumping to conclusions before you understand the underlying events or behavior that led up to her decision to deceive you would be a mistake.
Instead of casting blame, seek first to understand.
This may also be a time to for you to look in the mirror. Is there something you have done or are doing that would cause your wife to be reluctant to tell you the truth about some matter?
How would you even know unless you explore. Until you get to the root of where the lie has emerged, you will get no where and there will be little progress in rebuilding trust.
It is easy for us to be angered and feel hurt. That is a primal emotion that is always lingering near the surface. And when you discover that you are lied to by your wife, the obvious reaction is to blame and to feel like a victim.
But I would argue that while it is certainly hard to swim upstream against the tide of such emotion, you would be better off to not take the lie so personally.
If you can set aside your own ego and sense of importance and embrace a selfless demeanor in trying to understand the origins of your wife’s mistruth, you will draw closer to the truth that eventually needs to come out for trust to be restored.
Far too often I have seen relationships endure unecessary hardship because neither party showed tolerance.
Once you make that giant leap to remind yourself and accept that your wife’s lie is probably not worse than lies you have told yourself, then you have taken a big step to help make things right.
How likely is your marriage to succeed?
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Living With a Liar Can Make You Crazy
“Gaslighting” is a term that originated with the 1938 stage play, Gaslight, by British writer Patrick Hamilton. However, most people are familiar with the story through the 1944 film of the same name, starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. In the film, Boyer convinces his wife (Bergman) that she’s imagining things, most notably the occasional dimming of the house’s gas lights, as part of his plot to steal her deceased Aunt’s money and jewels. (The lights dim whenever he’s in the attic, searching for the treasure.) Over time, Bergman comes to believe her husband’s lies and, in turn, to question her sanity.
In today’s world, the plot of Gaslight seems pretty outlandish. Nevertheless, the concept of psychological abuse perpetrated by presenting false information and insisting those lies are true, thereby causing the victim to doubt his or her judgment, perception, memory, and even sanity, is relatively well-accepted in contemporary society—probably because gaslighting* routinely occurs in conjunction with serial sexual infidelity and various forms of addiction. Consider the words of Alexandria:
Darren was, and sometimes still is, the most charming guy on the planet. We met at a party at a mutual friend’s Manhattan penthouse. I was 25, Darren was 30. We’ve been dating for six years now, living together for five, and he keeps promising me we’ll get married and start a family, but that never quite happens. The last three or four years, even though we’re sharing an apartment, I almost never see him. He works in finance, and I know the hours are long, but sometimes I feel lonely and I try to call him but he doesn’t answer his phone, even when he’s gone all night or sometimes for an entire weekend. He doesn’t even respond to my texts, just to let me know he’s not dead.
When he finally does show up, he tells me that his job is really demanding and I should cut him some slack. He’ll tell me that he was working late on a really big deal and he fell asleep at his desk, or that he got called away to the country on short notice to meet with some hotshot client and didn’t have time to let me know about it before he left, and then there wasn’t cell service at the estate. And then he reminds me that he’s doing all of this for us, and that I really need to trust him because he loves me and would never do anything to hurt me, and if I really want to get married and have kids with him, then I have to stop acting crazy. And heaven forbid I accuse him of doing cocaine with his friends all night or sleeping with another woman. Then he calls me insecure and paranoid and all sorts of other things. The worst part is that after a year or two of this I decided he must be right, that I really am crazy.
Two weeks ago he was gone for four days, and when he got back, he insisted that he’d told me over breakfast he was going out of town on business. He said I was really groggy when he told me, so maybe it just slipped my mind. And I believed him! Then yesterday I went shopping a little bit after noon and I walked past a café that Darren and I both like. There he was, sitting at a table for two with another woman, kissing passionately. Last night after he fell asleep I went through his iPhone and found out he’s having affairs with at least three women! Now, instead of being mad, I feel nuttier than ever. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can’t think straight, and I have absolutely no idea what to do next.
Alexandria presents a classic case of modern-day gaslighting. Essentially, Darren wanted to continue with his illicit sexual behavior so he crafted a web of lies to justify, deny, and cover up his activity. And when Alexandria had the audacity to question those lies, he flipped the script, insisting his falsehoods were true and Alexandria was delusional or just making things up for some absurd reason. In this way, Alexandria was made to feel as if she was the problem, as if her emotional and psychological instability was the real issue.
That Could Never Happen To Me, Right?
To me, a therapist who’s worked with hundreds of lying spouses and addicts (and also their loved ones), the most disturbing thing about gaslighting is that even emotionally healthy people are vulnerable. In part, this is because we naturally tend to defend, excuse, and overlook concerns about the behavior of people to whom we are deeply attached. In larger part, it’s because gaslighting starts slowly and builds gradually over time. In the beginning, the lies are plausible, like, “I’m sorry I got home at midnight. I’m working on a very exciting project and I lost track of time.” An excuse like that sounds at least semi-reasonable to most people, and for a person who both loves and trusts the liar, it’s easily accepted. Over time, however, as the cheating or the addiction (or whatever else it is that the liar is trying to cover up) escalates, the fabrications also escalate. “I swear, I told you over breakfast that I was going away for four days. You must have forgotten.” Most people would toss a lie like that one out with the garbage, but because the gaslighted partner has become inured to these deceits over time, even the most outlandish mendacities can be accepted. So instead of questioning the liar, victims question themselves. In this respect gaslighting is like placing a frog in a pot of warm water that is then set to boil. Because the temperature increases only gradually, the innocent frog never even realizes it’s being cooked.
The Damage Done
Interestingly (and sadly), gaslighting behaviors are often more upsetting to the victim than whatever it is the perpetrator is attempting to conceal. This is true even with sexual infidelity, where betrayed spouses almost universally report that it’s not the extramarital sex that hurts the most; instead, it’s the destruction of relationship trust caused by the constant lying, deflecting, secret-keeping, and misplaced blame. And this pain is exacerbated if/when the innocent partner is made to feel as if he or she is misperceiving reality and therefore crazy, weak, damaged, etc. In other words, it’s not the cheating that wreaks the most emotional havoc, it’s the gaslighting—the ongoing denial of reality.
In this and numerous other respects gaslighting is consistent with other forms of betrayal trauma (typically defined as intentional acts of mistreatment, neglect, and abuse perpetrated by individuals in close relationship to the victim). Most of the time betrayal trauma is chronic in nature, occurring repeatedly and usually increasing in intensity over a long period of time, and gaslighting is no exception. Furthermore, betrayal trauma occurs in the context of a relationship that has other, much more positive elements, meaning the victim wants and sometimes even needs to overlook the mistreatment. In the example presented above, for instance, Alexandria’s intimate attachment to Darren left her vulnerable to gaslighting, because, in her mind, she wanted/needed his love (i.e., marriage and kids) more than she wanted/needed the truth.
Over time, gaslighting (and other forms of chronic betrayal trauma) can result in what is known as a “stress pileup,” leading to anxiety disorders, depression, shame, toxic self-image, and more. In one study examining the effects of serial infidelity occurring in the course of sexual addiction—behavior that is characteristically accompanied by gaslighting—researchers found that nearly all of the betrayed spouses studied experienced acute stress symptoms associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, which is a very serious anxiety-related illness, sometimes with life-threatening consequences. Such is the abuse that cheaters, addicts, and other liars perpetrate on their spouses, families, and friends—all so they can continue their illicit behavior unabated.
What To Do When You’ve Been Lied To
If you’re in a similar situation to Alexandria—coldly and repeatedly lied to over a lengthy period by a loved one, to the point where you’ve begun to question your own motives and sanity—you are not alone. Knowing that you’re not the only one who’s ever experienced this probably won’t lessen your pain, but it may help to ease the deep sense of shame you are likely feeling. The simple truth is that succumbing to gaslighting does not mean that you are crazy, or weak-willed, or paranoid, or so desperate for love and affection that you’ll overlook a partner’s abusive behavior no matter how bad that abuse becomes. It merely means you are human, you risked vulnerability in the hope of healthy intimate connection, and you got burned. Unfortunately, getting burned in this way can cause quite a lot of damage, and you’ll probably need outside help and support to overcome it.
After reading the previous sentence, it’s possible you’re thinking, “It wasn’t me who misbehaved, so why am I the one that’s supposed to get help?” For people who’ve experienced gaslighting and other forms of chronic betrayal trauma, this is a perfectly understandable reaction. Nevertheless, you need to recognize the injury that’s been done, to process your feelings about that harm, and to learn (or re-learn) life and relationship skills that can help you avoid a repeat performance with your next intimate partner. And the entirety of this recovery process requires interaction with empathetic others, preferably people who understand the nature of gaslighting and how to best deal with its debilitating effects.
This sort of healing is usually best undertaken with a skilled therapist—sometimes you’ll need both individual treatment and trauma-focused group sessions—coupled with external support in self-help groups like Al-Anon and CoDA. The good news is that if you are committed to living honestly and rebuilding your personal integrity and sense of self, you can emerge from a gaslighting experience wiser, stronger, and willing to once again risk vulnerability in the name of love and intimate connection.
*The concept of gaslighting as a modern diagnosis has evolved from the clinical work of Omar Minwalla, Jerry Goodman, and Sylvia Jackson.
Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Elements Behavioral Health.
When Your Spouse Is a Chronic Liar
We have a tough topic today — and unfortunately, it’s also one that is all too common. What do you do when your spouse is a chronic liar? Well, we are going to try to come to this topic with accountability and compassion because trust is so vital to creating a happy marriage.
What is Pathological Lying?
There are a few terms that get used interchangeably here: compulsive lying, chronic lying, and pathological lying. Like some other psychological terms it can get thrown around too loosely. Somebody lies to you a couple times and it upsets you and you call them a pathological liar: that may not be an accurate assessment.
But when you have frequent, compulsive telling of lies and false stories this is a pathological lying disorder. Typically the lies told have three features:
- Continuous: the lies are told regardless of context or who is being spoken to, without any apparent benefit or motive and no thought of potential consequences
- Impulsive: the lies are not necessarily intended to manipulate people or gain anything. The person simply sees an opportunity to lie and does so.
- Compulsive: lies are often told automatically without any conscious decision.
Those are a pretty serious set of criteria. That’s why I say we use the label too freely: there’s a much lower level of lying that is still problematic but strictly speaking, pathological lying should have all these components.
Along with this you’ll often see that the compulsive liar, when challenged about his or her lies, may attempt to downplay what was said or may try to get out of it by telling more lies. They often get caught up in a web of increasingly unrealistic lies.
It’s also helpful to know that someone who is a pathological liar may be mentally well adjusted in every other way, or they may have other difficulties such s personality disorders (especially narcissistic personality disorder), ADHD or memory problems.
What Makes A Chronic Liar?
Let’s talk about some possible causes. Not for the purpose of justifying the behaviour or asking you to be OK with it, but just to create a little compassion and hopefully even some possible treatment strategies.
Brain Functioning and Lying
Serious forms of chronic lying may be due to differences at the brain level. Neuroimaging of patients who show compulsive lying reveals impairments to the prefrontal cortex. These impairments could be caused by head injury, degenerative diseases, infection, epilepsy, or be present from birth. This impairment affects two important mental processes:
The first process, executive functioning, is about the ability to control and monitor your own thoughts, as well as control impulses and organize yourself
Problems with executive functioning may look like difficulty with controlling the impulse to lie. If your executive functioning is intact, when the cop pulls you over you may be tempted to lie to him or her but your executive function kicks in and you realize, no my kids are in the car, I need to be truthful and do some good role modelling here. If your executive function is impaired you might not ever get out in front of that initial impulse.
Sometimes people get upset with me when I point out the possible physiological basis for these kinds of issues — am I trying to excuse or to minimize something that is morally wrong? No, I am not. But if the person cannot stop and sincerely wants to stop and all you are doing to try to motivate them to stop is using moralistic interventions (impressing them with how wrong it is, how God hates lies, and Satan is the father of lies)… that’s all true but it is not going to actually help them stop if there’s a head injury. They need a different approach to try to achieve the same outcome. Although the symptoms are a moral issue, the cause may not be a purely moral problem: it could potentially be physiological as well (e.g., due to a brain injury).
Theory of Mind
The second process, known as theory of mind, is the ability to see that other people are conscious beings like you, along with the ability to view things from another person’s perspective. Normally this develops in childhood and from then on you are aware that other people are living things with different thoughts and perspectives to your own.
Impaired theory of mind can cause people to tell elaborate or unrealistic lies since they are unable to see that other people will instantly be able to prove what they are saying is false. These lies are often continued over a period of years. For example, a study in 2005 mentions a man who swore under oath in court that he had taken part in covert operations for the CIA in Africa and had been awarded the Purple Heart Medal during the Vietnam War, none of which was true and was easily proven false. The man simply had no ability to control his impulse to lie, even under such serious circumstances, and no ability to see that from an outside perspective the lie was ridiculous.
So you have these two mental processes: executive functioning and theory of mind. Impairments to the executive functioning cause a person to have difficulty controlling their impulses to lie while damage to your theory of mind causes an inability to see the effects of lying on other people. Difficulty distinguishing reality from fabrication may also result, and many pathological liars also suffer from some form of delusions, where they actually come to believe their lies to be true (Dike, 2010).
It Could Be a Lying Habit
Another possible contributor to chronic lying is habits. Like many behaviors, lying can become a habit. Many children lie or invent elaborate fantasies as part of their games, or to avoid getting into trouble.
If they are constantly rewarded for this (with attention, with entertainment or with escaping punishment) then it may form a habit which persists into adulthood. A study into chronic lying in 2010 argues that a lying habit can be formed from the “reward” of simply telling a lie and getting away with it.
For example a study in 2007 describes a case of a 20 year old man who as a child “used to enjoy making fools of children in his locality and his neighbors about various matters; like telling his neighbor that officials from the electricity board are coming to check their meters for complaints of stealing electricity.” As he became older the lies become more elaborate and started to include acts of fraud. So in this case lying for attention and for the fun of it was a mental habit that the man never grew out of. And once it’s established in your brain’s pathways it can be tough to break out of it.
Detecting and Dealing with Lies
Once again we’ve created a bonus guide for our much-appreciated supporters. This one is not so much of a happy one but it is still very useful as it goes into detail on how to detect lies. We didn’t create this to start a witch hunt, but because we know that some of you are so disorientated by the lies in your marriage that you just need some help having a reference to turn to and help anchor yourself in some truth. If you’d like this additional content, you can get this by becoming a patron of The Marriage Podcast for Smart People.
Trauma and Guilt Can Foster Lying
Some pathological liars use their lies as a means to escape from stressful or unpleasant life circumstances or to avoid dealing with past trauma. They often then experience high levels of guilt about using lies to escape from reality, and so on some unconscious level start to believe their lies to be true, so as to stop feeling guilty.
To understand this you have to really focus on the trauma piece. Think perhaps about a child who is experiencing trauma: severe, overwhelming, inescapable distress. A violent father. A chaotic home environment full of unmanageability and unpredictability. Or even a reasonable home but a series of traumatic hospital visits.
One coping mechanism is dissociation: removing yourself from your body and becoming a spectator of your pain rather than a participant in it. That is taking a step back from reality. See how lying could fit into that as a dissociative coping mechanism?
Or, perhaps the child felt very unsafe for some reason. He or she had to learn to self-preserve by becoming a good liar. Now the child is programming lying into his or her fight-flight-freeze response and so it becomes an impulsive, automatic response from their central nervous system. Then lying becomes nearly as instant and thoughtless a reaction as an increased heart rate. Trauma can help create this for sure.
Anxiety and Lying
This is sad. Compulsive lying disorder can also come from anxiety and low self-esteem. If a person thinks they are worthless or unimportant and fears being judged, they may get into the habit of lying to avoid having to be vulnerable and actually open up about themselves. So the lying comes to serve a protective function.
Is There Hope for Chronic Liars?
Yes, I believe there is. If they want help. However, there is a paucity of research on the topic. But let’s look at what we did find and also what I’ve seen in my clinical experience.
Here’s one study which is a qualitative study so it has just one participant. However, in that study, they found that treatment with both an antidepressant and therapy was effective in reducing compulsive lying behavior. This was apparent after 6 months of treatment.
Also, if you see some of the items above: anxiety, low self-esteem, trauma, etc. and you take those core issues to a therapist who can address them then through healing those issues you may find you no longer need lying as part of your protective stance in life.
The people I see who struggle with this actually feel really bad about their lies and they want to give their spouse the experience of them being a safe, trustworthy person. So if you are willing to do this deeper work I would certainly hold a lot of hope.
One aspect of the treatment in the study I just referenced was a kind of conditioning where patients were repeatedly told of the negative consequences of being caught lying (e.g., humiliation, losing their friends or being fired etc). Over time the compulsive liar learns to associate lying with this fear of negative consequences, and so learns to better control their impulses.
There’s a connection that is made in the brain between the consequence and the impulse. This is something that I would certainly use brain spotting for in my practice: to help the person connect the impulse with the consequence. That connection is simply missing if your spouse is a chronic liar: that is how it is so easy for them to lie.
This explains a little more about where we were going with our download this week. If the compulsive liar is lying for the excitement of getting away with it, then learning to spot lies and call them on it will take away the motivation to lie.
Build Self Esteem
If the compulsive liar is using their lies to protect from having to be vulnerable, showing them that you love them unconditionally and responding well when they honestly talk about themselves may build up their self-esteem and teach them that it is safe to be honest.
This is one way you can provide an environment that fosters honesty. However, we do not want to put the responsibility of fixing this problem on the spouse who is not struggling. It really is the task of the lying spouse to own his or her junk and be willing to do the work that is necessary to become a safe person for his or her spouse.
Michele Poletti, Paolo Borelli, and Ubaldo Bonuccelli, “The Neuropsychological Correlates of Pathological Lying: Evidence from Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia,” Journal of Neurology 258, no. 11 (2011): 2009–13.
Poletti, Borelli, and Bonuccelli.
Poletti, Borelli, and Bonuccelli.
Dike et al.
Rakesh Pal Sharma, Ajeet Sidana, and Gurvinder Pal Singh, “Pseudologia Fantastica,” Young, 2007.
Dike et al., “Pathological Lying.”
Sharma, Sidana, and Singh, “Pseudologia Fantastica.”
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What Do You Do When You Discover Your Husband Has Been Lying for Years? How One Woman Handled the Deceit
Imagine that you’ve met your soul mate, tied the knot, and your marriage is loving and supportive. Then suddenly, you discover your partner has been telling you minor lies, since the beginning of your relationship. What do you do?
Reddit user Delia* found herself in this situation with her husband, Marcus*—and when she , it generated 958 comments in about a day. Most people urged her to leave him, as soon as possible. “Honestly there’s no trust here…” one user wrote. “Run. Run fast and run far.” Another said, “My guess is that you haven’t seen the worst of this guy yet. What you do know is that he’s an unrepentant liar who is rather manipulative. At the very least, you should consider a trial separation.”
But is lying necessarily grounds for divorce? Is it a form of emotional abuse, as some commenters suggested? Or is it possible for a relationship to recover from ths kind of breach in trust?
In an interview with Health, Delia explained that she had met Marcus at a party several years ago. The two clicked right away; but fresh out of a long-term relationship, Delia needed time and space to heal. So the pair became friends first, and saw each other frequently through their shared social circle.
Over the next few months, it became increasingly clear that Delia and Marcus had something special. Delia worried a bit about Marcus’ reputation as a charmer, and all the attention he attracted from other women. But her concern dissolved in time, because Marcus was always so attentive to her. “Some of our mutual friends would joke about how he was blind to the world now,” she says. “He only focused on me and on building a friendship, and then relationship, with me.”
Things continued to go well: The couple stayed together when Marcus temporarily moved out of the country. Then they moved in together, and finally got married. Delia says her life with Marcus was “very happy.”
Except for one thing: She kept noticing seemingly small lies, many of which Marcus had told her during the time they had dated long distance. “There were discrepancies in things he’d said,” she says. “Little things that made me pause and think, Wait a minute.”
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For instance, Marcus used to tell Delia he was going to the gym; later on, he let slip that he’d actually been home watching movies, or playing video games. He’d also tell her he was driving his brother around when in reality, he’d never owned a car. He claimed that he and his brother were roommates. But as Delia eventually learned, “he and his brother had been living with his mother the entire time.”
These discrepancies gnawed at Delia, and eventually she confronted her husband. Marcus dismissed them as “little white lies,” Delia says. “He said something like, ‘Men often pretend to be more than they are to get a woman to fall in love, so that she’ll forgive them when their true selves come out.” Delia didn’t like her husband’s answer, and said so. But she decided to move on.
That is, until the couple needed to apply for visas. Marcus said he’d take care of it, and as the weeks passed, he acted as if he was waiting for a response. Delia anxiously wondered what was happening. When she finally vented to her husband, Marcus fessed up: He’d forgotten to apply before the deadline, and didn’t want to disappoint her by telling her the truth. Delia was livid. “I felt like throwing up, I really did,” she says. “It was the first time I honestly, truly thought about leaving him.”
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Just “little white lies”—or emotional abuse?
According to Karla Ivankovich, PhD, a psychology instructor and clinical counselor at OnePatient Global Health, misrepresentation and fibbing in relationships happens more often than you’d think. Studies have shown that people lie frequently to those they care about most. And it’s always a problem: “Trust is the basis for all human relationships,” says Ivankovich. “Little lies can lead to major issues.”
At its worst, lying can be a sophisticated form of emotional abuse known as gaslighting—which involves lying to distort a person’s sense of reality, as a way to control her. It can leave a person constantly second-guessing her instincts and feelings. So how can you tell if a partner’s distortions are run-of-the-mill lies, or actually abusive?
The distinction is in the motive, says Ivankovich. “It’s gaslighting when there is malicious intent. It’s likely not if it’s intended to be protective—of the person who’s lying, or to protect the partner’s feelings.”
But no matter the motive behind a lie, deceit is damaging to any relationship. The only way trust may be regained is if the offender understands the error of his ways, the vital need to be honest—and that you’d rather have the ugly truth than a pretty lie.
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Recovering from dishonesty
Ivankovich says any relationship can be marred by lies. That may be, in part, because society puts a lot of pressure on men to provide, and “get it right” in relationships. In fact, several Reddit users urged Delia via private message to work with her husband, as they too struggled in revealing their full selves to their spouses.
Lying can also become a problem when partners adopt unspoken expectations of near-perfection, based on their significant other’s needs or desires, Ivankovich says. And sometimes the instinct to lie can be rooted in a person’s childhood.
Delia thinks this is the case with Marcus. His family had always written him off as the “black sheep,” and never let go of his “screw-up” image from childhood—even once he started a great job. She thinks her husband was in the habit of inflating his image, to build himself up.
Counseling can help with these deeper issues—fears about not being enough for your partner, for example, an inability to have an open dialogue about mistakes, or the desire to present a perfect image for your partner.
As a first step, though, if your partner has lied, it’s important to have that tough conversation. “The deception is never acceptable. But , it seems the need to please broke her trust, so they need to work on re-building that trust through safe, open and honest communication. Trust is the basis of a relationship; communication is the currency.” (Ivankovich has never counseled Delia or Marcus.)
Delia had that sit-down with Marcus, and explained why she was so troubled by his lies. “He digested this, and said that he understood,” she says. “He said the things he told me in the beginning of the relationship, about the car and living situation … he wanted to be the kind of guy he knew I deserved, so he thought, erroneously, that he needed to show me that man in order to keep my interest.”
Delia says Marcus is “trying to be better,” and she’s giving him the chance to change. “He’s since come to understand that embellishing the truth is even more damaging than just saying it outright.”
*Names have been changed and details veiled to protect the couple’s privacy.
How Secrets and Lies Destroy Relationships
Source: Dean Drobot/
Trust is fragile. Secrets and lies jeopardize trust and can damage us and our relationships — sometimes irreparably.
We all tell “white lies.” We say, “I’m fine,” when we’re not, compliment unwanted gifts, or even fib that “The check is in the mail.” But in an intimate relationship, emotional honesty includes allowing our partner to know who we are. Honesty is more than simply not lying. Deception includes making ambiguous or vague statements, telling half-truths, manipulating information through emphasis, exaggeration, or minimization, and withholding feelings or information that is important to someone who has a right to know, because it affects the relationship and deprives that person of freedom of choice and informed action. Although we may consider ourselves honest, few of us reveal all our negative thoughts and feelings about the people we are close to. It requires courage to be vulnerable and authentic.
The Cost of Secrets and Lies
Most people who lie worry about the risks of being honest, but give little thought to the risks of dishonesty. Some of the ways in which lies and secrets cause harm are:
1. They block real intimacy with a partner. Intimacy is based on trust and authenticity — the ability to be vulnerable or “naked,” not only physically, but also emotionally.
2. They lead to cover-up lies and omissions that can be hard to remember. These mount up, and if the truth comes out, it may be more hurtful than the original secret. The longer the truth is hidden, the greater becomes the hurdle of revelation, for it would bring into question every instance of cover-up and all times the innocent partner relied upon and trusted the betrayer.
3. The secret holder feels guilty, or at least uncomfortable, during intimate moments with the deceived person. Closeness and certain topics tend to be avoided. Avoidance may not even be conscious and can include things like being preoccupied with work, friends, hobbies, or addictive behavior, and doing activities that leave little opportunity for private conversations. The deceiver might even provoke an argument to create distance.
4. Honesty is valued as a moral norm, although the context and specifics may differ among cultures. When we violate religious or cultural norms by hiding the truth, we experience anxiety generated by guilt. Despite our best efforts at hiding, our physiological reaction is the basis for electronic lie detectors.
5. This violation of our values not only leads to guilt; it also affects our self-concept. Over a long period, deception can eat away at our self-esteem. Ordinary guilt that could be reversed with honesty now becomes shame and undermines our fundamental sense of dignity and worthiness as a person. The gap between the self we show others and how we feel inside widens.
6. Our ways of managing guilt and shame create more problems. We hide not only the secret, but more of who we are. We might build resentments to justify our actions, withdraw, or become critical, irritable, or aggressive. We rationalize our lie or secret to avoid the inner conflict and the danger we imagine awaits us if we come clean. Some people become obsessed with their lie, to the point that they have difficulty concentrating on anything else. Other people are able to compartmentalize their feelings or rationalize their actions to better manage dishonesty. Compartmentalization and denying, rationalizing (“What my partner doesn’t know won’t hurt him/her”), or minimizing (“I only did it once”) are psychological defenses that help us deal with inner conflict and an undesirable reality. They can be so effective that the liar is convinced that lying supports the relationship. He or she may not want to face the hurt or choices that the truth could precipitate.
7. Not surprisingly, beyond mental distress, research reveals that lying leads to health complaints.
8. The victim of deception may begin to react to the avoidant behavior by feeling confused, anxious, angry, suspicious, abandoned, or needy. They may begin to doubt themselves, and their self-esteem may suffer. Often, victims of betrayal need counseling to recover from the loss of trust and to raise their self-esteem.
What to Reveal
Opinions vary on how much “truth” others need to know. In some cultures, there’s a tacit understanding that infidelity is almost expected — as long as the adulterer is discreet. Mores change over time: Homosexuality and transsexuality, once taboos, are now more openly accepted and discussed. Similarly, having unmarried parents or being adopted were once kept secret or only revealed when the child was older. Such jarring revelations could be traumatic, yet also explained confusing anomalies in a child’s mind. Today, many families opt for open adoptions instead.
We have a right to information about our heritage, particularly for medical reasons. Secrets about things such as addiction, criminality, and mental illness can lead to real risks, along with chronic shame and family dysfunction. Children already “know” something’s wrong, but denial undermines their self-trust and reality testing.
In a sexual relationship, we have a right to know our partner’s intentions and fidelity for emotional as well as medical reasons. Often, faithful partners rationalize or deny this need and their vulnerability to their emotional detriment. By not asking questions or expressing their needs, they enable and collude in deception for the same reason that the betrayer is dishonest or secretive — to not rock the boat and jeopardize the relationship. When there’s been betrayal, even if the couple stays together, seeds of distrust linger and sometimes poison the relationship.
On the other hand, we also have a right to privacy. Even in the most intimate relationship, disclosure of conversations with our therapist, close friends, and relatives should be discretionary.
When and How to Reveal
What, when, why, and how we disclose are all essential factors. The timing, impact, and our motives should be carefully considered. Full disclosure may be necessary to rebuild a broken marriage. Studies also show that people who have good self-esteem and a high opinion of their partner are more likely to forgive him or her. However, what are the compelling reasons to reveal an affair that’s long over or a current one that we have no intention of ending? In the first case, is it to deepen mutual intimacy? In the latter, is it to avoid it or provoke a divorce that we’re afraid to initiate? Disclosing our dissatisfaction in the relationship might be the necessary conversation that, if communicated earlier, would have prevented the affair.
For everyone involved, the pain of the secrecy compounds the pain over the initial event, and the longer the deception continues, the more damaging it is to self-esteem. Ideally, before revealing the truth to the person we’ve lied to, it’s helpful to have accepted our mistakes; otherwise, our shame and guilt can be obstacles to genuine empathy for the person we’ve harmed. First, talk to someone nonjudgmental whom you trust, or seek counseling. If we’ve forgiven ourselves, we’re in a better position to answer questions and face the anger and hurt feelings that we’ve caused.
Each case of betrayal is unique. The potential damage and complications that surround lying, as well as disclosure, are things to consider when telling lies and keeping secrets. Contemplation in advance about the consequences of our actions to ourselves, our loved ones, and our relationships requires a degree of self-awareness, but can prevent unnecessary suffering.
Victims of Betrayal
When the truth comes out, often it’s enlightening. It can help the other person make sense of previously unexplained or confusing behavior. At the same time, it can be devastating and traumatic to discover that the one we loved and trust has betrayed us. It can shatter the image we have of our partner, as well as our confidence in ourselves and even reality itself. Unfortunately, victims of betrayal frequently blame themselves. If the relationship wasn’t working, both partners have a responsibility to speak up and address problems. Although it may be fruitful to examine our behavior in order to learn from it, we’re never responsible for someone else’s actions or omissions.
There’s a natural desire to seek explanations and to know more facts. Aggrieved partners begin to review details of prior events and conversations, seeking overlooked clues and evidence of lies. They may painfully conclude that they and their partner have been living in two very different realities, which they once believed were shared. If the relationship ends, both partners may suffer from shame and blame, compounding grief.
Even if the relationship survives, there’s loss when trust is broken. As with all losses, our first reaction is denial, if not of the facts, then of the severity of the impact. It may take time to accept the truth. Each of us will attribute a different meaning to the facts in order to heal and make peace with ourselves, our loved ones, and a disordered reality we once thought was safe and predictable.
©Darlene Lancer 2016
My Husband Lies and Hides Things From Me: What To Do When Your Husband Lies To You All Time
My Husband Lies and Hides Things From Me: What To Do When Your Husband Lies To You All Time
As a woman, you have to realize that men in general do not know how to be intimate. I am not talking about intimacy in the physical sense. Though sometimes this can be mistaken for real intimacy. By intimacy, I mean they are often at a loss when it comes to talking about their feelings regarding a relationship issue. Usually they do not even know what their feelings are, much less how to express them. This can lead to problems in communications.
Men relate to men by doing things together and talking about various activates, for example jobs, cars, and sports. Sometimes they talk about how to fix things. However, when their dates, girlfriends, or fiances talk about something that is wrong, they often feel that they are being asked to somehow “make it right”. The woman is asking her partner to engage in a discussion about a specific issue and to “talk it out” and perhaps just to lend a listening ear.
It is very easy for the man to misinterpret this, get frustrated when his efforts to “fix it” are rejected, and then assume she really doesn’t want his help anyway. You have to remember that woman are more used to the method of talking out problems to solve them. You have been used to talking about your feelings with your friends for a long time now. In general, men do not talk about their feelings.
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So what is the solution to this? As a woman, it is important to realize that it may take a man awhile to learn to share his feelings. Right now his real feelings may be running below his level of consciousness, just out of reach. It is important that as the relationship develops that you both establish a level of trust.
At first when he begins to share his feelings, he may feel awkward and may need time to find the words to express himself. He will also need your support and encouragement and know that you want to hear what he has to say. Be prepared though to hear some honest feelings, especially if you are used to hearing some responses from him that have sounded automatic in the past.
You might find that now when you have an argument and you can talk it through while he is expressing his feelings, then you can find a much better solution together. This may require a compromise, but you can then move up to another level of trust and intimacy in your relationship knowing that you can successfully handle a disagreement based on an honest discussion of both of your thoughts and feelings. This is a vary real and valuable accomplishment towards building a foundation for your relationships.
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According to statistics, nearly sixty percent of marriages around us fail. Many couples are thinking about solutions to prevent becoming part of that statistic. Although it is not possible to fix some marriages, the majority of them can be. However, it takes determination and perseverance on the part of both the spouse and the wife in order to help preserve the marriage, regardless of what the underlying problems are or who is to blame.
The examples below are some efficient suggestions to help save marriage. However, in order for these to work, both spouses have to be committed to following these guidelines and work together to resolve their difficulties.
This is absolutely essential in making the relationship effective and lasting. Both of you ought to clearly state your feelings, your opinions, your wants and needs to be with each other and for each other. Simply by discovering exactly what each of you feel is actually wrong in your matrimony is already a step towards getting a solution for your problem.
2. Keep calm
When you find yourself having to deal with issues in your marital life you can easily get annoyed. Attempting to approach the issues with a level head and calm voice is vital to getting your problems solved. Getting hurtful or even disrespectful at your partner will not help resolve the problem.
It will take two for a marriage to work, therefore each of your respective opinions have to be highly regarded. Just remember that when you give in, even if it is only by a bit, you may get a lot in return as well as end up being happier.
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4. Set objectives
Goals give you direction in life. Thus, it is important to set targets within your marriage that reflect each of your views in addition to determining what both of you should do in order to get there.
5. Have patience
It requires time and energy to work on the problems in a marriage. Ensure that you are patient with your partner as well as with yourself as you work in the direction of correcting issues in your relationship. Hastening to solve things can have a detrimental impact.
6. Forgive and forget
Depending on your situation, asking you to forgive and forget can be challenging, especially if your partner was with another individual. If you want to save your relationship regardless of their cheating deeds, you will need to attempt to forgive them so as to enable you to come together to conserve your marriage. Forgetting what they’ve already done is probably not easy either. In order to proceed, it is essential that you’re not thinking about the previous events. Focus on the here and now and what you could both carry out today to make your marriage work.
7. Get counseling
In the event you cannot work out your differences, counseling can help. A good counselor can assist you with advice, assistance, reassurance and provide you with unbiased opinions that can present you with perception regarding how to right the difficulties within your marriage. They can assist you in obtaining the right remedies as well as procedures that you can carry out according to what is effective for you as a couple on the issues that are confronted.
It is very important that you both agree to counseling and intend to take an active part in your sessions in order for counseling to become an effective instrument for help in your marriage. When selecting a counselor, ensure that they are really licensed professionals and you feel comfortable working with them. Otherwise it will only be a waste of your precious time and your marriage will still not improve.
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There are several traits people have in common that have directly affected their ability to successfully save their marriage. Many of which you may or may not know. But they play an important role in determining whether or not you’ll be able to save yours. Here are 3 things people who have saved their marriage from divorce have in common.
#1. They didn’t let their emotions get the best of them. People who have saved their marriages from the brink of divorce had the ability early on or during their marriage crisis to recognize how their emotions dictated their day to day activity while going through their marriage trouble. They were able to resist the overwhelming emotions of panic, anxiety, frustration, anger, resentment, depression and hopelessness to put their selves in the best position possible to do what was needed to save their marriage.
#2. They knew how to give their spouse some space. One of the worst things that can happen at a time like this is being at your spouses throat every moment you can to discuss the marriage. They were able to recognize early on the negative affect this had on their efforts to save their marriage. They recognized that this only made things worse by pushing their spouse further away and breaking down any communication between them further. They had the ability to allow their spouse some personal time and space to come to terms with their decision, often opening up new talks about saving the marriage just by letting their spouse think about it fully.
To discover the secret that kept my marriage together when it was on the brink of divorce
#3. They planned out their approach or followed a successful plan. They had the ability to recognize early on that nothing they did seemed to work as they intended. In fact, they knew that for some reason everything they tried to do either backfired or made things worse. They knew that they had to look outside of their normal bag of tricks so to speak if they were going to save this marriage and make it work for the better. That’s when they were able to piece together a plan that worked for them or found a plan already laid out in step by step fashion that they could follow.
Taking on the attributes of those who have successfully saved their marriage early on will give you the advantage you need in a time like this. Take your time to fully understand the power of these 3 traits and adopt them into your own marriage saving efforts to give your marriage the chance it deserves.
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Getting a divorce for some couples seems like the only options when there are problems piling up over the years. It’s not true that your only choice is divorce when you are having problems with your partner. The fact is that there are many different things you can do, some of which you probably haven’t even considered.
One very important factor in a good healthy marriage is proper and frequent communication. While ever person and relationship is different, the ones that work well and are healthy have certain things in common, including good communication. Communicating involves more than just talking and listening. There are many different things you have to remember when communicating in such a way that will enable you to solve problems together.
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One of these things to keep in mind that is blaming each other for problems you are having your relationship is not what communication is all about. It’s about sitting down together to work in identifying certain aspects of your marriage that need work. This could mean spending more time together, become better listeners, or spicing up your relationship by doing new and exciting things together as a couple.
Whatever you need to work on, make sure that you both are doing your fair share. You won’t be able to save your marriage and keep it together unless you are both willing to work together as a team to come up with solutions that will keep you in each others arms for years to come. If you are still in love and don’t want it to end because of a few problems, then make the effort and experience how it will pay off every single day you remain together in a relationship that is healthy and one that you look forward to being in each day you wake up. It’s well worth the effort that you have to put in it.
Saying or doing the wrong thing can actually cause your spouse to feel even more distant from you. You can make your spouse fall back in love with you, all over again.
You don’t have to worry about whether your spouse is on the brink of asking you for a divorce. You can control the situation and use specific techniques to naturally make them fall hopelessly in love with you.
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If Your Partner Is Lying To You, You’ll Notice These 5 Things
While there are some signs that might indicate that your SO hasn’t been telling the truth, Dr. Sherman says that “the only way to be sure that your partner is lying is to catch them in the act or to have irrefutable proof, like a receipt showing that they were somewhere that they said they weren’t or had a communication with that they said they never met.”
Proof isn’t really a sign, but beyond a confession, it’s the only way to know if your partner has been lying to you. Safran adds that “social media makes it much easier to check up on someone.” So, if you’ve got literal receipts or some other kind of evidence, you can probably stop speculating about whether your partner is lying to you and confront them about it directly.
Your significant other could be behaving oddly for any number of reasons, so before you jump to conclusions, try to have a conversation with them about your concerns. “You can ask them to tell you anything they have not been honest about and then share your feelings and thoughts regarding this,” Dr. Sherman suggests.
Safran says that upon confronting your significant other, “if you still feel that they are not telling the truth,” you might want to consider distancing yourself from the relationship. However, Dr. Sherman adds that if they come clean or you have proof of their dishonesty, you can try a couple things to work on mending the relationship. She recommends “counseling, or telling them you need to rebuild the trust” by putting some boundaries in place.
Ultimately, how you move forward is completely up to you. If working things out and rebuilding your trust and communication is in the cards, it might be worth a shot. And if you think you’d be better off moving on from the relationship, that’s totally OK, too. Trust your gut, prioritize communication, and know that you’re worthy of a rock-solid, sincere relationship.
This post was originally published on Dec. 28, 2018. It was updated on Sept. 9, 2019 by Elite Daily Staff.