The start of a new relationship is supposed to be a fun and exciting time where you and your person are getting to know each other. Building this initial foundation of trust is key to having a fulfilling relationship. However, these early stages are also prime time for exaggeration, small white lies, and possibly big lies as well.
Lying in a relationship can cause a lot of emotional damage. Keep reading to find out how to navigate this difficult situation.
Why Do People Lie In Relationships?
We all know that lying is wrong, but most of us have lied at some point or another. There are a lot of reasons that someone may lie to you in a relationship, and there is definitely a huge spectrum of lies ranging from fudging the truth to devastating lies.
Someone may lie in a relationship because:
- They lack healthy communication skills and are trying to avoid conflict.
- They lie to avoid hurting your feelings or disappointing you.
- If they are insecure about themselves, they may exaggerate the truth to impress you.
- They don’t want you to see their flaws or bad habits.
- They know they did something wrong and don’t want to deal with the consequences.
- You may be dealing with someone who is trying to manipulate you or is a pathological liar.
Effects Of Lying In A Relationship
Obviously big lies are devastating to a romantic relationship – but even small lies, if it becomes a habit, can be detrimental. Some of the effects of lying include:
- Loss of trust.
- Getting away with small lies makes it tempting to tell even bigger lies.
- Feeling hurt, betrayed, and confused.
- Too many lies in a relationship pull the couple apart because they feel like they don’t even know each other.
- Inability to feel emotionally secure and safe in a relationship.
- Lies hurt and can be damaging to our mental health and ability to trust people in general.
Is Lying In A Relationship Normal?
Even in healthy relationships, lying is common. The key here is the types of lies that are being told. If a person tells a white lie on occasion in an earnest attempt to protect your feelings, that doesn’t make them a bad person. However, if they lie to protect themselves, that is a problem.
Long-term repeated lying destroys the trust in a relationship, which can be difficult to get back after it has been lost.
How To Tell If Your Partner Is Lying
It can be hard to tell if someone is lying at the beginning of a relationship. You may not have a lot of background information to pull from. However, there are some ways to tell if someone is lying to you:
- Pay attention to the way they talk. Changes in pitch or raising their voice can indicate that someone is lying.
- Avoidant behavior such as pushing off the conversation or trying to change the subject.
- “Whataboutism” – this can happen if you try to confront them about a lie, and they accuse you of lying as a way to deflect the situation off of themselves.
- Notice changes in body language such as fidgeting, facing or moving away from you, crossing their arms and legs, etc.
- They either have difficulty making eye contact or are making way too much eye contact.
- Giving too many or not enough details about a situation.
- Use your intuition, but not on its own. Your intuition is pretty good at picking up on unconscious signals. If you sense that someone is lying, you might be right, but observe other evidence before making accusations.
What To Do If Your Partner Lies
So, you have caught your partner out in a lie. What do you do about it now?
- Keep in mind the various reasons that people lie to try and understand your partner’s motivations and the context of the lie.
- Remember that it is not your fault that they lied to you, no matter what reason they give. They are responsible for their misbehavior.
- Confront your partner, but calmly. You might be absolutely furious, but a screaming match will get you nowhere. Instead of being accusatory, think of it as you giving them an opportunity to fess up. Let them know you want to be honest with each other.
- Talk through the reasons that they lied to you so that you can understand the whole situation. Make it clear that you will not tolerate being lied to.
- Take some time to think about the relationship.
Regaining trust after a lie can take a long time. It is up to you whether or not you want to try to work through it with your partner. Your partner will need to prove to you that they can be trustworthy again. If they pressure you to just move on quickly, that is a huge red flag.
Knowing When To Walk Away
If you have caught your partner lying at an early stage in the relationship, it is likely best to just move on. If they are comfortable lying to you now, that is not a good sign for the future. No matter how hot you think they are, a relationship is nothing without trust.
In Closing: Lying in Relationships
Lying has so many devastating effects on a relationship, and it is best to practice healthy communication and avoid lying altogether. For more dating and relationship advice, visit our growing online resource of dating safety tips.